BIG PIC­TURE

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

PLAN DE­LAY IS A DIS­GRACE

CHESHIRE East said last year that the Lo­cal Plan would be de­layed by six months be­cause the in­spec­tor was un­happy with vir­tu­ally ev­ery as­pect of it

We are now be­ing told that the de­lay will be at least TWO YEARS in to­tal. It won’t now be adopted un­til the end of 2016, if then.

Cheshire East keep say­ing the Lo­cal Plan is just around the cor­ner but when we reach that cor­ner, there is another cor­ner ahead.

Cheshire East Coun­cil have to­tally let down the good peo­ple of Cheshire East. There is no Lo­cal Plan and won’t be for at least another year.

It has taken seven years and cost over £4 mil­lion but there is still not an adopted Lo­cal Plan. In­cred­i­ble.

There is no five-year sup­ply of hous­ing land, de­spite be­ing told since 2014 that it was in place. To­tally in­com­pre­hen­si­ble.

The rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive Group on Cheshire East has proven to be to­tally in­ca­pable of sort­ing out the plan­ning cri­sis that is en­tirely of their own cre­ation. The con­se­quence is that ap­peal af­ter ap­peal is lost and our pre­cious green gaps/belt is con­creted over.

It is time that the Gov­ern­ment stepped in to sort out this plan­ning ‘free for all’ that the coun­cil has al­lowed. If they don’t, more and more of our coun­try­side will be oblit­er­ated. Brian Sil­vester UKIP coun­cil­lor THIS month’s col­umn is be­ing as­sem­bled dur­ing our con­fer­ence in Bournemouth, where, dur­ing her open­ing ad­dress, Party Pres­i­dent. Baroness Brin­ton paid trib­ute to lo­cal party mem­ber the late Dr Barry Furr OBE, a pas­sion­ate Lib­eral Demo­crat and ex­pert cam­paigns or­gan­iser, who, in his pro­fes­sional life as Chief Sci­en­tist at As­traZeneca, gained in­ter­na­tional renown for his con­tri­bu­tion to the quest for can­cer cures.

As I write, I am one of many del­e­gates hop­ing to speak to an Emer­gency Mo­tion con­demn­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s as­sault on the BBC.

Through­out the BBC’s life­time, gov­ern­ments of all par­ties have main­tained a re­spect­ful dis­tance from the BBC’s gov­er­nance and, when re­views have been nec­es­sary, have been scrupu­lous in main­tain­ing a non­par­ti­san ap­proach.

Now, a po­lit­i­cal party that over 63 per cent of vot­ers did not sup­port, claims a man­date for break­ing with this long-stand­ing tra­di­tion; an in­sid­i­ous de­vel­op­ment which all Con­ser­va­tives should be thor­oughly ashamed of.

Sadly Cheshire East is not im­mune from Tory un­der­min­ing of the demo­cratic process. Not con­tent with the to­tally dis­pro­por­tion­ate ma­jor­ity they en­joy through our pre­pos­ter­ous elec­toral sys­tem, lo­cal Con­ser­va­tives have taken a leaf from Pres­i­dent Putin’s book on the sti­fling of op­po­si­tion views.

I can tes­tify from my time on the old bor­ough coun­cil some years ago that the right of coun­cil­lors to ta­ble a ‘no­tice of mo­tion’ is one of the best ways for op­po­si­tion mem­bers to air a new idea, or a deeply-felt con­cern of con­stituents and to hold the coun­cil to ac­count.

Fol­low­ing the de­bate, Con­ser­va­tives would typ­i­cally go through the rit­ual of loy­ally vot­ing the mo­tion down, even on those oc­ca­sions when some would ap­proach you dur­ing the cof­fee break to ad­mit pri­vately that they agreed with you.

De­spite fall­ing foul of these po­lit­i­cal games, op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors able to ex­press a good point ef­fec­tively would of­ten find a ver­sion of their bet­ter ideas and ar­gu­ments qui­etly taken up later.

Now the Con­ser­va­tives have de­cided that fu­ture coun­cil ‘no­tices of mo­tion’ will not be de­bated in public, but con­sid­ered be­hind closed doors in the all-Con­ser­va­tive Cab­i­net. This is not only ar­ro­gant and petty, it is pro­foundly un­demo­cratic and an in­sult to you as vot­ers.

●● To­day’s Big Pic­ture, taken at Higher Sut­ton on a Sun­day morn­ing, was sent in by Chris Heapy. Sub­mit your im­ages by email to mac­cles­field­ex­press@ men­media.co.uk or upload them to our Flickr site www.flickr.com/groups/mac­cpics. We’ll print the best ones

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