Wychwood Community Group

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

Update – 12th May 2013

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It has been a busy few weeks for the committee, so firstly let us apologise that the weekly update has slipped, but as you can no doubt imagine, we’ve had to prepare for the local plan public consultation.

We’ve decided to change the format of our update going forward, which will be sent out at the end of each week (or bi-weekly), with more pressing matters in between when needed. The email updates will now include a round-up of each major area of discussion, contributed by our sub-group leaders, as well as a more general update too. Just be aware that at times, there will be information we cannot discuss to avoid it being used by Haddon in any proposed plans; it isn’t a case of keeping you all in the dark. We hope you will find it informative, but as always, we do like to stress that if you have any questions, just let us know and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Objections to date: 108
Email database: 1100 +
Petition signatures: 1025

You should hopefully have received a couple of emails from us requesting that you submit your objections to the local plan; it is paramount that you do this before Thursday 30th May for it to be considered and help towards our overall objection to the proposed development of 1000+ dwellings on the Gorstyhill golf course. If you have already done this, apologies in advance for the numerous reminders over the coming weeks, but it is of absolute importance that each and everyone submit their objections to bolster our numbers. If for any reason you haven’t received our email guiding you through this process, let us know.

In other brief news, the parish and ward council continue to support our case, and we are doing likewise with their battle against the 3 speculative developers in the Weston area (Village A, Land South of Weston and of course us). We will be asking you to object against their proposals within the local plan in due course. The police continue to have an active role in monitoring the situation on the golf course, and reporting back instances to the parish and the land owner; they are also engaging with us as a committee as we suggest solutions to help protect the land from unwanted visitors.

We continue to politely ask that you do not trespass on the golf course, especially with dogs as they leave scent marks that will discourage wildlife from the area which is so vitally important to us. We have new signs going up everywhere but clearly some people choose to ignore them. All we are able to do is report such instances to the police and let them deal with it.

Social sub-group (written by Paul Burt):

The inaugural ‘Haddon Bash’ evening was a success and a very enjoyable evening with many making new friends and a community spirit being fostered and developed hopefully. We hope to make them a lot more regular, so please attend the next and support both your community and the local pub. The Family Fun Day (bank holiday Monday 27th May) preparation is going well, we now have a Bouncy Castle organised too. Please ask family and friends to attend, the more that come the better the day. We will advise on timings nearer the day but there will be a lads against dad’s football game or if numbers allow maybe a tournament. There will be golf tuition, fire engine attending, various sports activities organised by residents with Sport England. Cake making competitions and much more. Still looking for children’s entertainment, so if anyone has friends or family who are entertainers of any sort please ask them to help and contact Amanda Towns (pandaincheshire@gmail.com). Anything you feel will add to the success of our Family Fun Day, please come forward and let Amanda know.

Environmental sub-group (written by Andrew Lamb):

The Environment and Legacy sub group has been busy trying to win support in the form of written objections or advice from a number of different organisations including Natural England, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Sport England, the Woodland Trust, Cheshire East Council Environment Team amongst many others. The feedback received to date has been very much in support of our fight against this proposed development. We have gained some really useful advice, perhaps the most significant thing that we can now confirm is that Wychwood Village and Gorstyhill golf club is rated between 2-3 agricultural grade. This is quite important when it comes down to considering future land use, we are looking into what implication this may have.

In addition to this, we held our first Wychwood wildlife walk and nature assessment in May. A number of local volunteers and environment experts made up the team who was also joined by an ecological expert from Keele University. We are discovering more and more about the ecological value of the Country Park and the Golf Course along with the importance of this area to the wider countryside. We are also aware of a number of very interesting species of animals and birds whose natural habitats will be under threat should this development go ahead. One thing that we must ask again is that we please discourage dogs from walking around the Golf Course as there is a real danger that these dogs will displace native species which will vacate the site!

We are really keen to involve the wider community and our supporters and would like to encourage people to email any useful wildlife sightings or concerns about the environment to us. We will be hosting an event during the family fun day which should help you to further appreciate the ecological value of this unique site whilst meeting the team.

We have been asked if members of our community would sign a petition on the Cheshire East website to create a greenbelt area protecting land between Wychwood and Stapeley (including Chorlton, Hough, Wybunbury & Wistaston). We believe this to be a worthwhile cause so if you get a couple of seconds, please can you sign; it doesn’t require registration, just a straight forward form confirming a few details. Click the ‘Sign ePetition’ option on this page http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=25&RPID=3703309&HPID=3703309. If we can get 1500 registrations, we can demand an open debate at full Council which would be a phenomenal opportunity. Help support our neighbouring villages in the way they have been supporting us.

The Environment and Legacy sub group will be meeting at 20:30hrs on Thursday 16th May (tbc) at the White Lion in Weston, should anyone wish to join us, please come along.

Legal sub-group (written by Paul Burt):

We are still waiting for a meeting between our resident lawyers and the Cheshire East legal representative but the meeting has been requested. A few new documents have been unearthed that have proved very helpful and a big thank you to residents for their help. Janet Clowes (Ward Councillor) and Sonia Harris-Short (sub-group member) are doing some sterling work on our behalf as well as many others contributing. A few issues concerning the golf course have been discovered and are being investigated; some could be crucial, but we are keeping our powder dry with these, so mum’s the word. The unexpected return to maintenance of the golf course is an excellent occurrence, we are not sure why this has happened, but long may it continue. This action should not, however, lull us into a safe and cosy place, Mr Hunt exists in a dark and cold place, not us!

PR/Media sub-group (written by Alison Tipping):

We have had a great deal of media coverage as you are probably aware. Our local newspaper and radio reporters have been very supportive of us and of the other groups who are fighting proposals in the area and have asked us to keep them up to date as things progress. Our local MP, Edward Timpson, was also sent a copy of the full media pack which the journalists received. He has replied saying that he found the pack very informative and that we have his full support.

The major golf publications in the UK and the R&A have also been sent the media pack, more to make them aware of what is happening in case Gorstyhill is not a “one-off” than in any expectation of coverage from them.

No further specific media action is planned for the time being as we are in a bit of a “lull” period from that point of view but, as and when something arises which may be of interest to the journalists, they will be given the relevant information. At this point the intention is to keep a local focus on what we do send out but this will be revised if circumstances dictate that this may be beneficial.

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