Willaston Green Gap Action Team Update – February 2011

Following the Green Gap Public meeting in October and the petition to Cheshire East Council, the Green Gap Action Team has produced this update to tell you all what we have been doing since our formation in November.

 

Green Gap Action Team

 

The Willaston Gap Action Team was formed following the Public Meeting when the approx 140 people present unanimously confirmed the stated action in the Parish Plan that the Green Gap around Willaston should be retained.

 

The Action Team meets monthly and its members are:

Mark Beavan                      Shirley Brazier (Parish Councillor)
Michael Bruce   Roy Cartlidge (Cheshire East Councillor - Crewe West)
Tom Creer   Anna Cutts
Julie Lewis   Wayne Lewis (Parish Councillor)
Chris Mahon   Peter Want

If you would like to join us – please contact us – see details below.

 

Petition

 

Cheshire East Council published the draft Core Strategy document for consultation in early November, with the consultation period ending on 17th December 2010. This document replaces the policy document created by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council due to expire in 2011, which defined the Green Gap.

 

As the draft Core Strategy document did not include any reference to the Green Gap, the Action Team organised a petition requesting that the Green Gap should be included in the Core Strategy document. The petition was delivered to and later collected from every one of the 1500 households in Willaston in atrocious weather conditions by the Willaston COG (Community Opportunities Group).  Hundreds of signed petitions were also kindly collected by the Willaston Chip Shop.

 

We had a fantastic response, 1221 signed petitions were handed in to Councillor Gordon Baxendale, Mayor of Cheshire East Council, on 15th December 2010.

We supported the petition submission with a letter questioning the process used by Cheshire East Council. We have had 2 responses –

 

  1. A short reply from Councillor David Brown dated 29/12/2010 stating that he is arranging a review meeting with Adrian Fisher, Head of Planning Services and will formally respond to our petition letter queries as soon as possible.

 

  1. A longer reply from Stuart Penny, Planning Policy Manager dated 29/12/2010 stating that petition will be reported to Cheshire East Council Members and considered with other consultation responses. He stated that further community consultation will take place in the future with the estimated date of the adoption of the Core Strategy of November 2013. In the meantime the existing Green Gap Policy remains in place.

 

The letter sent with the petition and two responses from Cheshire East Council can be seen on the Willaston COG Notice Board outside Willaston Stores on Wistaston Road.

 

Continued …

 

Support for the Green Gap Campaign

 

The Action Team has requested and received confirmation of active support from Willaston’s three Cheshire East Councillors: Ray Westwood, Brian Silvester and Margaret Simon.

 

Willaston Parish Council is fully supportive of the Action Team and has written a letter to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP requesting that the Green Gap be designated as Green Belt, which enjoys nationally recognised protection.

 

Our MP, Edward Timpson has sent a letter in our support to the Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council. We are meeting him shortly to discuss how the Localism Bill could affect our campaign.

 

Communication

 

We believe it is very important that we keep all Willaston residents informed of what we are doing:

 

-     We have submitted various press releases to the Chronicle which were printed in November and December 2010 and will continue to do so as the Green Gap Campaign continues. In future we will also include other publications such as the Sentinel and the Crewe Guardian.

 

-          Green Gap Action Team members have featured in two early morning slots on the BBC Radio Stoke Breakfast Show.

 

-          We will continue to provide Campaign updates for inclusion in the Willaston Reach magazine

 

-          COG hopes that the Willaston website will be up and running early this year. Once it is active, we shall post Green Gap Campaign updates on there, as well as using the COG Notice Board.

 

Next Steps

 

We are just at the start of the Campaign but will continue to raise awareness of the issues as well as lobbying Cheshire East Council until the Green Gap is protected for the long term.

 

To contact us

 

Send an email to savethegreengap@hotmail.co.uk or drop a note into the COG post box inside the Willaston Chip Shop.