Wychwood Community Group

Working as a community to stop the development of 900 homes and re-open the Gorstyhill golf course


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Usual morning road chaos!

Like most mornings, the roads of Wychwood Village come alive to the sudden onslaught of commuters all using the single spine road to leave the estate; and like most mornings, combining this with the school buses, mum’s and dad’s dropping their kids off, cars parked and the construction traffic waiting for access to the compound, makes for some very frustrating scenes.

Usual morning road chaos!

So is it practical to have an additional 1800+ vehicles from 900 more homes, as well as incoming primary school, shops, commercial traffic, all sharing the same road in/out? NO CHANCE!!!

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Crewe Chronicle – Furious villagers join forces to fight controversial housing proposals

The Crewe Chronicle have released another news story on our fight against the developers:

Furious villagers join forces to fight controversial housing proposals in Crewe

The story gives a reasonably good account of what is currently happening, though we’d like to make everyone aware that we are now almost 1,000 households strong; with over 600 petition signatures.

The news article also appeared in the Wednesday printed edition (17 April 2013)


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Have you seen any Newt traps?

Prior to our last meeting, we were informed by a few residents that traps have been seen put down in the sink-ponds to monitor the numbers of great crested newts.

If you know specifically where they are/were, can you please get in touch so we can confirm with Natural England that the survey is meeting the correct standards.

However, if you don’t know, please do not try to locate them yourselves, as you could disturb existing colonies and we don’t want that!


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Chairman’s Statement – 14th April 2013

Chairman’s Statement

Like you, I cannot believe It has only been four weeks since we were all notified that Haddon Property Developments Ltd were proceeding with a public consultation for a proposed outline planning of 900 houses on the Gorstyhill Golf course.

Since then a lot of hard work behind the scenes has taken place, with many man hours being given up freely and voluntarily by a number of likeminded individuals to ensure we have a strong community voice to fight this monstrosity of a proposal.

It has been said by a small number of residents that the intervention of the Leader of the Council Michael Jones at last Sundays meeting put us in a spin and changed our groups direction. This is clearly not the case, it did however make us rethink a number of key objectives after the Leader of the Council stated in front of 350 residents “This is not going to happen. If you don’t want it, the Council will back you 100%.” and “the Strategic Planning board would not support this application” it was a very clear and bold statement from the leader of the council, which I don’t think anyone expected.

The fact the Leader of the Council would make such a bold statement meant he either knew something we didn’t or was just manipulating the crowd. In either case, at that time we felt an opportunity presented itself by Michael Jones continuing to demand the floor following his bold public statement of support of our campaign, and one we had to embrace. But to be clear on this matter, it has not changed our dogmatic and firm stance in fighting this proposed development, it just gave us some additional food for thought.

In fact, over the last few days a large amount of emails, telephone calls and a number of sub-group meetings have take place, which resulted in a committee meeting last Friday evening. This has not just reinforced our commitment to fight this speculative developer from forcing something on us “we do not want”, but helped to gain specialist advice from experts in their respective fields, including legal avenues. Which involves compiling the large amount of legal documentation we have obtained over the past weeks, that will be looked over to see our legal position. We will advise more on this once we have some solid information from our sub-group.

We have to be absolutely sure there is a strong case before proceeding down this road, as the costs are incredibly high. Having a lawyer/barrister review the information would cost a staggering £5-7k, then £25k if we proceeded to litigation, and you can easily double that if we lost the case, so we need to be absolutely sure before; and on reflection, isn’t something we can do in a very short period of time.

We did send out an appeal for funds, which is something we are currently in the process of setting up in order to allow residents who wish to contribute financially the opportunity to do so. We will advise further in due course on the process and proper steps to take.

In terms of the planned mass mail out of letters to the council and planning authority, we heeded Michael Jones’s advice that it would be better served at the planning stage. This will now allow us to have the legal advice, establish additional planning objections based on the plans submitted and allow us to brief properly all the residents the tools and steps they should take. To be clear on this point – “we are still sending out approximately 6,500 letters on mass, but will be done at the right time to give the maximum impact and we do need your support for this”.

What we will be doing is sending a very strong committee letter (on behalf of the community) to Haddon Property Developments Ltd, as well as Edward Timpson, our local MP. The letters we’re attached to the email update. If you wish to personally send letters to these parties, you are more than welcome.

The letter to Haddon will also be cc’d to relevant members of the parish and Cheshire council, plus a request to the Cheshire planning department to keep us aware of any subsequent planning applications or requests to change land usage/status or amendments to the S106 agreement. We feel at this stage sending letters on-mass, particular to those councillors already on-side would be a poor decision and use of all our time, but be assured, this WILL happen at the appropriate time when a planning application is made. The letter to our MP is key, and as a committee, our letter will show our force, with a list of names from our database to show we are 800+ strong already. We plan to have high profile meetings with the councillors very soon and will update you on those.

The Haddon letter is being delivered by hand to Chesterfield signed by all the committee on behalf of the community as a whole, which can be followed up by residents if they wish with their own personal letters of objection.

There have been a number of news reports on the development this week (thanks to Alison for doing such an amazing job), so if you haven’t seen/heard them, please visit our website at http://www.wychwoodvillage.co.uk where you will find links, as well as other updates. We are trying to update the website, twitter feed and Facebook daily, so please make use of them, and if you have any questions, let us know.

Going forward

Sub-groups have been set up for various other areas such as planning/development and environmental. We have found through meetings so far that having key skill-set individuals is invaluable, and our meetings are significantly more productive as a result. These meetings will be stepped up so if there are any individuals out that we haven’t already contacted with key skills they believe may help either of these areas, please get in touch, your input could really help make the difference. We are also looking to build a ‘social/fund-raising’ sub-group, so if you are keen to help arrange community events to raise money for our cause, then please also get in touch. Finally, if any of you take minutes in your job, we really need a minute taker for our community meetings.

You may have noticed a number of posters fixed to fences etc all around the development on your travels (thanks Gemma); these are to request that the community stay off the golf course and stick to the country park. We appreciate it is great to explore a new area, but please just remember that as the golf course returns to nature, we hope wildlife will be further encouraged to the area, and the biggest risk to this is dogs, who not only leave scent tracks alien to many species of animals, they also like to explore in the hedgerows and dig up nests/dens; the wildlife around here is diverse, and you never know, might be a key and valid objection we use against this development proposal.

I hope you can see there is a lot of effort and voluntary hours being spent pulling together our fight against Haddon Property Developments Ltd, and will look to significantly improve the communication with the community over the coming weeks to ensure your fully informed.

Thank you for your continued support & commitment.

Andy Bailey
Chairman

Didn’t receive this update via email? Make sure you contact us to be added to our mailing list.


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Access now blocked!

Access to the car park of the Gorstyhill golf club has now been blocked, as promised by Mr Hunt/Haddon’s to Cheshire Police.

Access now blocked!

Whilst there are still small access points, they would be too small for most cars, and certainly should stop any attempts to get caravans in there.

Fortunately the fears of using the unsightly metal construction fences has been disproved and boulders certainly don’t look as bad, but is still the nail in the coffin for the club…at this stage!