Stockport Times West - - YOUR VIEWS - Pat Ruane Red­dish Coun­cil­lor Syd Lloyd Con­ser­va­tive Group Leader Stock­port Coun­cil Michael Tay­lor Ad­dress sup­plied Name and ad­dress sup­plied

WHY is Michael Caw­ley up­set by ex­am­ples of demo­cratic opin­ion?

He asks ‘where did the fig­ures come from’ – Thou­sands back Vale not for Sale pro­test­ers (Ex­press head­line)?

The ar­ti­cle ex­plains where the fig­ures have come from. The pe­ti­tion (8,500) was started in Brin­ning­ton by res­i­dents dis­mayed that the coun­cil should even con­sider de­priv­ing them of open space, which is of­fi­cially in un­der-sup­ply in that area. It rapidly spread through­out the bor­ough.

The smaller, 5,793 came from the 38 De­grees on­line pe­ti­tion.

If Mr Caw­ley thinks that the coun­cil is fol­low­ing its own pol­icy on hous­ing, he is sadly mis­taken.

The coun­cil has to pro­duce a doc­u­ment, Stock­port Strate­gic Hous­ing Land Avail­abil­ity As­sess­ment, which is then ex­am­ined by a gov­ern­ment in­spec­tor whose re­port on this doc­u­ment on Fe­bru­ary 2 2011 states: “How­ever, the SHLAA in­cludes enough land to meet the CS’s (Core Strat­egy) re­quire­ment with­out the need to re­lease green­field sites. Given that as­sess­ment, ex­cep­tional cir­cum­stances (PPG2 14) do not arise and a change to the green belt bound­ary is not nec­es­sary.”

There is also the ques­tion of open space pol­icy. Read that. It is eas­ily found on­line. There are three sets of cir­cum­stances where open space may be used. This de­vel­op­ment does not fit into any of them.

The ‘hoo-hah’, Mr Caw­ley, has been caused by the coun­cil try­ing to get round the green belt and open space gov­ern­ment pol­icy. If you want to know where the com­pas­sion is in Stock­port, join vol­un­tary parks groups who are now pre­serv­ing our her­itage of open space and com­mit­ment to other species by work­ing, with­out pay, in jobs that the coun­cil will not fi­nance.

Opin­ions do not nec­es­sar­ily have to be based on facts but, where the law is con­cerned, they do. week hit the mark with lo­cal res­i­dents.

She claimed ‘the Lib Dems back an EU ref­er­en­dum’. Ear­lier this year, Lib Dems voted to kill off the EU Ref­er­en­dum Bill. So, rather than support it, they blocked it.

Be­ing new to the area and with just six months to go un­til the gen­eral elec­tion, she might be bet­ter off get­ting some first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of our lo­cal area in­stead of de­bat­ing the finer points of leg­isla­tive and po­lit­i­cal tac­tics in the press.

It is clear that this Lib Dem seems more con­cerned with par­lia­men­tary ma­noeu­vres in London where she hails from, than she is with Hazel Grove.

I for one want an MP who is lo­cal and who stands up for lo­cal peo­ple, lo­cal is­sues and lo­cal causes like sup­port­ing Step­ping Hill Hos­pi­tal, in­creas­ing train ca­pac­ity and sup­port­ing lo­cal jobs and busi­nesses in Hazel Grove.

I am happy to re­peat for the Lib Dem cur­rently ten­anted in Hazel Grove the clear mes­sage from Nick Clegg is: “Yes to be­ing in Europe. No to exit.”

He ruled out a ref­er­en­dum un­less there was a fur­ther trans­fer of pow­ers.

So there you have it. The only party that can and will de­liver a ref­er­en­dum on Europe is the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

That’s why I and my Con­ser­va­tive col­league Wil­liam Wragg signed up to the Peo­ple’s Pledge on an in-out ref­er­en­dum back in 2012.

Lib Dems have a dif­fer­ent pol­icy for ev­ery doorstep, but if the new can­di­date wants to win peo­ple round then mis­rep­re­sent­ing other par­ties’ poli­cies and try­ing to spin the Lib Dem pol­icy on Europe is not the way to go about it.

The may­oral elec­tion sched­uled for 2017 should widen the demo­cratic process, en­gage peo­ple in a more dy­namic and mean­ing­ful elec­tions, and pro­vide a more trans­par­ent and ac­count­able lead­er­ship.

The pic­ture of the deal sign­ing of the de­vo­lu­tion agree­ment was a pa­rade of old grey white guys in ties.

It should be the chance to spark the type of po­lit­i­cal re­nais­sance that was wit­nessed in Scot­land this year and make pol­i­tics ex­cit­ing to the majority rather than just the ‘anoraks’ and ac­tivists.

I like the idea of pri­mary elec­tions where the sup­port­ers in the pub­lic se­lect can­di­dates of all the main­stream par­ties, par­tic­u­larly for th­ese ‘new’ po­si­tions that are set to be cre­ated in all city re­gions across Eng­land sooner or later.

I have an in­ter­est in this. I am ap­ply­ing to be Labour’s can­di­date for Hazel Grove, but I’ve come to this view be­cause if par­ties are to be rel­e­vant they all have to be open.

Things can’t go on as they were. also com­pounds the prob­lems th­ese res­i­dents al­ready suf­fer with par­ent and stu­dent park­ing.

Fur­ther­more, it is clear in the plan­ning decision that the coach park is only for drop­ping off and col­lect­ing – not for park­ing up all day as the scare­mon­gers are sug­gest­ing.

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