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Council defends planning concerns
CHESHIRE East Council has defended the decision to hold planning enquiries that concern Crewe and Nantwich more than 20 miles away in Macclesfield.
Concerns were raised about the choice of venue by Crewe East clr, Chris Thorley, after a planning application regarding development of Maw Green.
Clr Thorley said he had ‘grave concerns’ about the issue and was writing to deputy chief executive of Cheshire East Council, John Nicholson, for re-assurance that the same issue would not be repeated.
“I am asking for there to be set dates for the strategic planning board to meet in Crewe, and for all developers with applications in Crewe and the surrounding areas to be informed that their applications will be heard at a Crewe meeting.
“Residents in the south of Cheshire East have the right to voice and hear their concerns expressed at a local strategic planning board meeting. I am in no doubt whatsoever that any application for any significant development in the north of Cheshire East would not be heard at a board meeting in Crewe.
“I am mindful of the fact that residents of Cheshire East all pay their council tax and we, councillors and officers, should endeavour at all times to represent them in a fair and democratic manner.”
Responding, clr Rachel Bailey, cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: “We do everything we can to ensure the democratic process is carried out in an open and transparent way and that the buildings we use for meetings have the best facilities for councillors, officers and residents.
“Where an agenda is overwhelmingly looking at applications in one part of the borough, we will do our best to hold the meeting as close as possible to this area. This has been done in the past when we have used venues in Crewe and Sandbach.”
Clr Bailey added that six of the seven items on the agenda in question dealt with issues in the north of the county.
She said: “The only solution would be to hold an extraordinary meeting for the Maw Green Road application on its own. This would not be a responsible use of tax payers’ money at a time when we are attempting to keep costs to a minimum.”