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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Autumn Statement 2017 – We have WON our fight against Haddon

After a long summer of waiting I am absolutely delighted to let you know that the Haddon Appeal to the Planning Inspector, and ultimately the Secretary of State has been dismissed and we have WON our case against Haddon.

This is a monumental decision for us and vindicates the hard work that has gone in from so many people over the last 4 and a half years…yes it really has been that long!!!

The Community Group Committee has been immense throughout this process and has stood firm and united against Haddon and the threat they have posed to our Community. Andy Bailey, Ian Dews, Paul Burt, Jenny Moran and Tom Applegarth have been here since the beginning, along with Andy Lamb who helped form the Group and latterly David Deacon who joined the Committee. Every one of them has committed hours and hours of selfless effort, and whilst we haven’t always agreed and there have been numerous debates we kept together and our efforts have been rewarded.

There are so many other people to mention across the time, Evie, Amanda, Dean, Mark, Hannah, Niall, Natalie, Jeff, Adrian and everyone who submitted objections, posted leaflets, attended fund raisers and supported us. It would not have been possible without you all, and everyone else reading this note.

Our Parish Council, especially John Cornell, have supported the Committee in every step as has our Ward Councillor Janet Clowes, as well as members of the Planning Team at Cheshire East.

So what next?

Haddon does have the right to appeal, within the next 6 weeks, on a point of law only, and that would be very expensive for them and would only get them back to square one of having to repeat the planning process.

For the Committee and members we have to organise an AGM, decide what to do about ourselves constitutionally and think about the funds we have in our account.

First though lets congratulate ourselves, thank ourselves and plan a celebration party….we ALL deserve it.

Planning Inspectorate Decision

Some remarks from committee members:

Trevor Sandry said:
“I am absolutely thrilled that all the hard work, by so many people has finally paid off and that we have won this massive battle against Haddon and their plan’s to destroy our Community and everything we bought into. Many residents and fellow members deserve special thanks, as well as the long serving committee and their long suffering partners…. We need to properly mark this event with a celebratory party, Claret Jug are you listening, where we can properly thank everyone and to congratulate ourselves. Haddon does have a right to appeal, although only on a point of law, and have 6 weeks to do so, however this is a hammer blow to them.”

Andy Bailey added:
“I cannot express enough how pleased I am that the application to refuse Haddon Property Developments Ltd application to build up to 900 houses on a golf course he purchased and then manufactured its closure. The Inspector and the Secretary of State have listened to sound arguments from Cheshire East Council, the Parish Council, Wychwood Village Community Group and of course the massive swell of objection from local residents. This is obviously a fantastic win for common sense and where the planning system has not failed to protect the very people it is designed for. But feel a lot of this would have been lost without the unwavering support from the Borough Council (Janet Clowes), Parish Council (in particular John Cornnel), Officers of the Borough Council. But most of all the unwavering pressure and support to defeating this application from the Wychwood Village Committee (Trevor Sandry, Ian Dews, Jenny Moran, Paul Burt, David Deacon and past members such as Andy Lamb) But all this hard work would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the residents from the Village. Park and surrounding areas – you have ALL been amazing and might have a drink now!!”

Paul Burt mentioned:
“This is fantastic news and I’m elated all our hard work came to something and was done by proper team work from all concerned including residents, the council and of course my committee friends – well done again a great result.”

Jenny Moran commented:
“I am chuffed that all the hard work over the last 5 years by a great team of people, including those in addition to our core committee (with a special mention of Evie) has resulted in the protection of our beautiful environment and safeguarded a unique and valuable habitat for many years to come. This has been an amazing journey with so many ups and downs, but in the end all that hard work paid off. So happy right now!”

Ian Dews said:”
“Through hard work and unwavering dedication, we as a collective community of residents, locals and ex-gorsty golf club members have beaten this speculative attempt to destroy the amazing environment in which we live. It goes to show that with strength and support in numbers, the right decisions can be made, and this WAS the right decision for Wychwood and the wider area. Thank you so much everyone that objected, helped out, raised money, contributed funds, and those that simply followed our lead, it has paid off. Time to breathe a sigh of relief, but remain mindful of what happens next.”

Andy Lamb added:
“That’s great news, well done to all of you! I look forward to popping over to help you celebrate, what a great achievement!”

As soon as I hear any further information I will let you know via email and through our social media outlets.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman

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Summer Statement 2017

As we head into the second half of 2017 and over 4 years on from the closure of Gortsyhill golf course, we are finally getting close to a decision on the proposed ‘up to 900 homes’, that Haddon wish to build on the site.

In my last mail I suggested that a decision would be reached in June, however that was delayed by the General Election and the Inspectors report is scheduled to be delivered to the Secretary of State on 7th July, a formal decision is then expected within a few weeks. During this delay there has been some very good news in that the Cheshire East Local Plan has now received further approval from the Inspector, and that we continue to be excluded from it.

We have also had another unwelcome visit from a family of travellers onto the Country Park who stayed for just over a week and caused lots of consternation and dismay as well as leaving a mess in the area, which has now thankfully been cleared, and many thanks to the residents who helped with that clear up. The area where they entered the site has now been secured and thankfully the whole site is now relatively safe from further intrusion, although we still need to be very vigilant, as clearly we are not the only ones who think this is a great place to live.

The Community rallied together and despite some very heated debates worked as a unit to help protect the site. Legally the hands of the Police, Cheshire East Council and the Parish Council were somewhat restricted, which was very frustrating all round, and does raise some serious questions.

On the topic of travellers I would also like to draw you attention to another planning application 17/2879N which has been lodged for “stationing caravans for residential purposes for one gypsy family pitch….” in Weston village; I would ask that you all look to object to this through the Cheshire East website.

An outcome of the General Election was that our local MP has now changed and Edward Timpson, who was a great help and supporter of our cause, and we would like to thank him for that publically, has now been replaced by Laura Smith MP. We have yet to formally meet with Laura re our situation, but hope to do so shortly in the expectation that Laura will be as helpful to us going forward.

We still believe that our case is a very solid one and that we will prevail in this battle, what the future holds though only time will tell.

As soon as we hear any further information we will let you know via email and through our social media outlets.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Easter 2017 Statement

First of all may I wish you all a very Happy Easter, and hope that despite the overcast weather you are still able to get out and about and enjoy the wonderful countryside around us.

The Public Inquiry into the Haddon proposed development for up to 900 houses and application to vary the Section 106 that all Wychwood residents are bought into, has now formally closed and we are now in the hands of the Inspector, and ultimately the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP.

The last few weeks have seen us working hard to ensure that our points of view are firmly at the forefront of the Inspectors mind and that we are treated as an equal party in all of the negotiations. Haddon presented a new Section 106B document and have been trying to get the previous signatories Cheshire East Council and Countryside Properties to sign this new one, but thankfully both have refused and Haddon has now presented a unilateral Section 106 that only they have signed. The refusal to sign is another major blow to Haddon and only goes to strengthen our case.

All documents, from all parties will be made available in due course on the Inquiry site.

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Our Local MP Edward Timpson is very aware of our case and has been working on our behalf and will continue to do so.

I expect a decision from Westminster by the end of May / early June and as soon as I hear something I will of course pass it on to you.

We are also due to be holding our AGM this month, but given the impending decision I propose to postpone this until after the Inquiry ruling has been made. Once we have this information we will be in a far better position to decide on the future course of the Group.

I hope that you are all agreeable to this proposal and I look forward to seeing you at the AGM in June time, where hopefully we can plan a celebration.

As soon as I hear any further news I will let you all know.

Once again thank you for all your ongoing support and I again wish you all a Happy Easter.

Trevor Sandry, Chairman


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Post Public Inquiry Statement

The Public Inquiry into the Haddon proposed development for up to 900 houses and application to vary the Section 106 that all Wychwood residents bought into, has now finished its initial phase and we are now in the hands of the Inspector, and ultimately the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP.

The Inquiry was presided over by Ms Claire Sherratt DIP URP MRTPI, with representatives from Cheshire East led by Mr Christopher Katkowski QC and the Wychwood Community Group was represented by Mr Andy Bailey and myself. The appellants, Haddon were led by Mr Hugh Richards, Counsel.

The Inquiry was held under Court style rules and evidence was presented by all parties and then that evidence was cross examined by the opposing parties. I believe Andy and I held our own well against the Haddon team and worked well with Cheshire East to present a united front opposing the development. There were also a number of witnesses and independent speakers, including our Ward Councillor Mrs Janet Clowes and Vice Chairman of the Weston and Basford Parish Council Mr John Cornell. Whilst Mr Edward Timpson was unable to attend, a mix of paternity leave, and a three line whip surrounding the Brexit vote, he did provide a very supportive statement (Edward Timpson Statement).

The Inquiry focussed predominantly on local plan policy and political positioning, which was the primary discussion as expected, and conversation on the S106 was of less prominence although Andy Bailey continually pressed the point about our Section 106 rights, and how we believe we have absolute protection against any increase in the housing numbers. The Haddon “evidence” against this was very light and avoided best they could.

The sessions finished on Friday with a lengthy debate on the revised S106, as presented by Haddon, which we strongly object to but does have to be “agreed” in principle by all parties, although it was drawn up by Haddon and Cheshire East, our insistence on being part of it has delayed the closure of the Inquiry for approximately 6 weeks, to allow our views to be incorporated. Whilst this is right and appropriate it is no way a complicit to us agreeing any form of variation to the S106.

The day concluded with Closing Statements from all parties, and both Andy (S106) and I (Trevor Sandry Statement) were able to again compliment Cheshire East and counter all of Haddon’s argument. They obviously took a different view, but I am confident we won the argument.

The next steps are for the Community Group to submit a legal submission around our case to protect our existing S106 and to input into the, hopefully never to be used, varied S106B. There has been a meeting over the weekend to get this going, and we are getting further independent legal advice. From here the Inspector will take around 6 weeks to submit her recommendations to the Secretary of State, for his final decision. We expect that there may well not be a final judgement until late Spring / early Summer.

I am very confident in the case presented by ourselves and Cheshire East, however this is now out of our hands. Fingers crossed until the Summer!!

This decision can only then be appealed if there has been an error in law by the Secretary of State.

Andy and I, with support from the rest of the Committee have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks and months, and this week has been tough with many late nights and early mornings, but very satisfying and eye opening. I only hope that the final decision warrants the efforts we have all put in. I am confident it will.

Finally can I just say a big thank you to the other speakers in support of our case, numerous residents that attended the Inquiry over the 4 days, and to those that thanked Andy and I personally, through Facebook and via emails, it very does make it all worthwhile.

As soon as I hear any further news I will let you all know.

All documents, from all parties will be made available in due course on the Inquiry site.

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Wychwood Community Group – Public Inquiry

We are now closing in on a major milestone in our fight against Haddon and their plans to build all over the old Gorstyhill Golf Course with 900 dwellings and numerous other areas of retail and amenity, the last I have seen suggested is a car dealership!!!

NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND UP AS A COMMUNITY AND SHOW HOW STRONG AND UNITED WE ARE.

The Inquiry is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 31st January 2017, starting at 10:00 at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. We are not now expecting this to go beyond the planned 4 days – PLEASE TRY TO ATTEND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

This Inquiry will allow us to drive another nail into Haddon’s plan for re-developing the Gorstyhill Golf Course, especially on the back of the Local Plan statements and communication from Central Government detailed in my previous statements.

We believe that our case is a very strong one, on both the Development and the Section 106, and we will be using every available tool in our armoury to win this battle.

In terms of the Inquiry, the Appeal Inspector will explain how they intend to organise the Inquiry and the system by which members of the public will be organised to speak. This is usually completed early on Day 1. Depending on these arrangements, it may well mean attending on numerous days.

Whilst we absolutely want your views to be heard we have been asked by the Inspector to try and limit speakers and to channel all comments through the Community Group. Andy Bailey and I will be in situ throughout the Inquiry and will be fully engaged throughout the proceedings.

In summary, I would ask that you forward any comments and statements through this mail address. If you still require to speak in person at the Inquiry please let me know so that I can guide you through the process.

The Committee and I certainly hope to see many of you at the Inquiry which is a public meeting. Your support and ‘physical presence’ during the Inquiry is itself a powerful statement of the weight of public feeling and will be much appreciated.

The case files can be seen here, https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Thank you for your continued support.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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New Year Chairman’s Statement – January 2017

Firstly a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you all had a refreshing Christmas and New Year and are, like me, looking forward to the Public Inquiry at the end of January. The Inquiry is scheduled to start on 31st January 2017, in the Carlsberg Lounge at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. We are not now expecting this to go beyond the planned 4 days.

This Inquiry will allow us to drive another nail into Haddon’s plan for re-developing the Gorsty Hill Golf Course, especially on the back of the Local Plan statements and communication from Central Government detailed in my last statement.

The Weston and Basford Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan is also progressing well and I would request that all those of you that live in the Parish should review this and add comments to support it. This document has significant weight in the Inquiry so please ensure it has your support.

http://www.weston-basford.co.uk/parish-council/neighbourhood-plan/neighbourhood-plan-regulation-14-consultation

Over the past few weeks and since the last statement on the Local Plan we have been working hard on preparing our case for the Inquiry, with some help from a well respected and knowledgeable Legal company. They have been providing some invaluable help and support which they will continue to do so. Your support in helping to fund this work is truly appreciated and just shows the depth of support we have in the local community and beyond.

There have also been discussions ongoing with other stakeholders in the Inquiry and the continued help and support of our Ward Councillor Janet Clowes and Parish Councillor John Cornell are again appreciated and there will be further meetings in January as we look to build our joint case.

In terms of the Inquiry, the Appeal Inspector will explain how they intend to organise the Inquiry and the system by which members of the public will be organised to speak. This is usually completed early on Day 1. Depending on these arrangements, it may well mean attending on numerous days. Whilst we absolutely want your views to be heard we have been asked by the Inspector to try and limit speakers and to channel all comments through the Community Group. Andy Bailey and I will be in situ throughout the Inquiry and will be fully engaged throughout the proceedings. I would ask that any comments and questions are sent through to myself well before the Inquiry so that we can ensure that we are not repeating information, whilst at the same time ensuring that every point is made and substantiated thoroughly.

In summary, I would ask that you forward any comments and statements through this email address. If you still require to speak in person at the Inquiry please let me know so that I can guide you through the process.

Andy and I certainly hope to see many of you at the Inquiry which is a public meeting. Your support and ‘physical presence’ during the Inquiry is itself a powerful statement of the weight of public feeling and will be much appreciated.

The case files can be seen here, https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

I will send another update towards the end of the month, as we head towards the 31st.

Thanks for your continued support.

Trevor Sandry – Chairman


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Winter Chairman’s Statement – December 2016

As 2016 draws to a close we are hopefully getting closer to the end of the nightmare that is the Haddon Planning application for 900 houses.

This year has seen the situation develop in our favour as Cheshire East Council has refused the permission for the houses and also to vary the Section 106 agreement that protects all of the Wychwood residents against further development.

As expected Haddon has taken this to appeal and that appeal will be held at a Public Enquiry which is currently scheduled to start on 31st January 2017, at the Carlsberg Lounge at the Crewe Alexandra Football Club. It is currently set for 4 days, but may well be extended to 7.

Your support at this event would be much appreciated and as soon as I know whether and how individuals may be able to voice their own views at the enquiry I will let you know.

https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ViewCase.aspx?caseid=3150968

Andy Bailey has managed to secure a seat at the table for him and I to discuss matters directly with the Haddon and Cheshire East Legal teams and many thanks again go out to Andy, for all of his hard work in preparing numerous documents and for keeping the pressure on Cheshire East Council to ensure that the residents best interests are the primary concern at this stage.

Andy and I are still investigating Legal representation and whilst our funds are reasonable we cannot afford at this stage to pay for Legal help for all 7 days of the enquiry, despite a number of you making donations during the summer. I anticipate we will need at least another £5,000 to cover expected costs. There are further pledges coming in all the time, and a generous resident recently said they would be happy to pay £1,000 to the fund. A few more of those would be much appreciated.

A meeting has been arranged with both Cheshire East and the Weston and Basford Parish Council, to review strategy and to ensure that we are presenting a unified and complimentary picture with which to defeat Haddon.

I will update you all with more details in the New Year.

Wychwood Village itself is looking very festive already and the Community spirit shown recently in installing lights at the entrance of the development shows how we will stick together to fight Haddon and protect our wonderful Community.

You may be interested in joining our specific ‘Against Wychwood Development and Planning Issues’ Facebook group:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/487057101499894/

There is also the ‘Wychwood Community and Residents’ Facebook group, which focuses on the day to day aspects of Wychwood life. Please feel free to join both Groups:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/429283623825535/

Finally, please let me wish you and your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and thank you again for all of your continued support.

Trevor Sandry, Chairman