Wilmslow councillor says a vote against the Local Plan is "short sighted and self defeating"


With the Local Plan due to go before the Cabinet and Full Council for approval this week, Councillor Don Stockton, who represents the Wilmslow Lacey Green Ward and sits on the Cheshire East Cabinet as Regeneration Portfolio Holder, says that supporting the Local Plan is the most effective way to protect the town from speculative development.

He met with a group of local residents on Thursday, 20th July, to discuss their concerns regarding David Wilson Homes' emerging plans to build 172 homes off Stanneylands Road.

As reported last week the Green Belt site, which lies north of Stanneylands Road and behind Wilmslow Garden Centre, is included in the emerging Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy as being suitable for up to 200 homes.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Don Stockton told wilmslow.co.uk "Residents are opposed to the development of Little Stanneylands citing lack of infrastructure, lack of schools, doctors surgeries inadequate roads, reasons I would wholeheartedly agree with unless the development can provide adequate mitigation.

"They want vehicular access to Manchester Road as opposed to Stanneylands Road I spoke up for this at council."

He added "They are opposed to the local plan which is the best way to afford residents protection from speculative development anywhere in the borough and which would protect over 98% of our green belt till 2030 because it includes the principal of development at Little Stanneylands.

"Without a local plan, I am sure many developments would eventually be passed at appeal whichever way the councils committees decide and residents would have no effective way of influencing what is passed.

"At least with a plan in place we would still have influence over the proposals within it. I am minded at present to vote for the plan because I do not want to see uncontrolled development and I wish to maintain at least some influence over the built environment and particularly to influence what is ultimately applied for at Little Stanneylands."

Councillor Don Stockton continued "Looking to the future any responsible local authority must plan for the homes, jobs, infrastructure and environment that future generations require. It falls to this Council at this particular time to make those decisions that will guide the Borough over the next 30 years.

"A vote for the plan is a vote for what is the most effective method of influence, unfortunately a vote against is popular but ultimately short sighted and self defeating."

The Cheshire East Local Plan will go before the Strategic Planning board for approval on Monday, 24th July. Then on Wednesday, 26th July, the Cabinet will be asked to approve the adoption of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy and the following day it is scheduled to go before the Full Council for approval.

In June, a planning inspector backed Cheshire East's Local Plan for shaping future development in the borough which allocates 900 new homes in Wilmslow and 2200 new homes in Handforth by 2030.

The proposal for 900 new homes in Wilmslow by 2030, includes: 175 at Royal London (around 80 on land to the east of the existing campus, around 20 to the north of the existing campus and around 75 on land west of Alderley Road), 200 at Little Stanneylands and 150 at Heathfield Farm with 97 listed as being completed and 305 having already been committed by March 2016.

In Handforth the expected level of development is 2200 new homes including 250 on land between Clay Lane and Sagars Road and 1500 at the North Cheshire Garden Village, located off the A34 opposite Handforth Dean Retail Park, with 70 listed as being completed and 323 having already been committed by March 2016.

Don Stockton, Little Stanneylands, Local Plan


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Sunday 23rd July 2017 at 11:47 am
"which would protect over 98% of our green belt till 2030". Trouble is the Green Belt in the North is not 90% of the whole - how many people are going to travel to the remaining Green Belt because all the Green Belt dividing us from Greater Manchester has been lost?

"At least with a plan in place we would still have influence over the proposals within it".Who has influence over the proposals within it? Cheshire East or residents? Over Adlington Road residents views was that the proposed footpath to Varden Bridge was too narrow - ignored. That the "Emergency Exit" was too narrow to take Emergency Vehicles and that it needed a Safety Audit - ignored. That the pushing affordable housing to two places on site was not appropriate or inline with Cheshire East's own guidelines - ignored. ........ Were you by any chance influential in that development too?
Nick Jones
Sunday 23rd July 2017 at 2:08 pm
Perhaps there should be an amendment to “A vote for the plan is a vote for what is the most effective method of influence "...and add “to keep desecrating the greenbelt /continue ignoring residents opinion and Govt planning policy and ‘exceptional circumstance’ criteria to remove land from green belt protection / Ignore Brownfield development / continue Local Plan dis-engagement that doesn’t support the ‘if its green –build on it’ ethos / ensure the £3.7M ( and rising ) spend on failing to listen to residents continues after all its only our view and imposition that matters”
Turkeys ? Xmas ??
Jonathan Fox
Sunday 23rd July 2017 at 4:23 pm
When the green belt is gone it is gone forever. There are enough brownfield sites that could be rejuvenated instead of continually building on flood plains and river valleys.
Roger Bagguley
Sunday 23rd July 2017 at 8:09 pm
What the likes of Councillor Don Stockton refuse to represent is the fact that brown sites coming up thick and fast in Wilmslow since 2010 are providing enough houses to save at least 2 of the allocated sites from needlessly being taken from the Green Belt. At current windfall rates there will be in excess of 1300 houses built by 2030. In pedalling this ultra responsible argument that taking land out of the Green Belt will protect the Green Belt, the likes of Councillor Stockton are totally failing to employ government and local policies designed to protect the Green Belt. If the number of houses required is calculated to be 900 then our councillors should be kicking butt on our behalf to make sure no more Green Belt is lost than is needed to achieve this number and do battle to secure 'Brownfield first.'

I too spoke at the Little Stanneylands meeting last week as a representative of RoW. The inept performances of both Councillor Stockton and the representative from Wilson Homes was witnessed in their lack of appropriate knowledge and an oft repeated statement that they had believed they would be sitting down around the table with a few local activists, not facing an audience of some 100 or more frustrated neighbours who became more agitated as the evening wore on. They have to play by the rules Councillor Stockton kept telling them.

I could update the Wilmslow housing figures to today but am sick and tired of repeating them to CEC and their bleating councillors. If I bother to turn up this week to the proposed meetings it will likely only be to witness at first hand those who will stick up their hands to put the final nail in the coffin and needlessly have removed from the Green Belt far more land than is required. It will be good to present these facts when we are canvassing for the next elections.
Toni Fox
Sunday 23rd July 2017 at 8:17 pm
Once again Conservative political spin is being used to falsely inform residents.

Only through the process of adopting a Local Plan can land be released from the Green Belt - until such time Green Belt status protects land from any speculative development.

If the Local Plan is not approved by Councillors at any of the three meetings to be held next week none of the sites allocated for release will be under threat from development.

The most often repeated concerns residents have raised with me is lack of infrastructure, over subscribed schools and doctors surgeries and inadequate roads.

Councillor Stockton claims “development can provide mitigation” however if the approval in 2014 for 200 new houses at the Bollin Park development on Adlington Road is a testament to mitigation residents will have a very long wait.

3 years after permission was granted the £420,000 education contributions (26 places for secondary accommodation) is still in abeyance and highways improvements to ease congestion and increase access to two lanes onto the A34 at Summerfields has yet to be scheduled.

In Wilmslow between 2010 (the start of this Local Plan) and March 2016 in excess of 400 new homes have either been built or have planning permission. It does not seem unrealistic, given the number of planning applications that continue to be submitted, to anticipate that over the residual 14 years the remaining 500 could be built without resorting to releasing valuable Green Belt land.

Similarly Cheshire East Council stated in 2012 that Handforth needed 500 houses to meet growth needs - in excess of 400 have already been completed or committed between 2010 and March 2016. The additional 1,700 being proposed in Handforth, together with the approved retail extension to Handforth Dean, will I fear have a far reaching and severe impact on Wilmslow's residents and its Town Centre.

I urge residents not be seduced by the scaremongering of some Councillors and take this last opportunity.

Lobby your ward councillor – as your elected representative their duty should be to represent your views with their vote, not follow a Party line.

Register to attend and speak before councillors at the Full Council at its meeting to be held at Sandbach Town Hall on Thursday 27th July at 2pm.

Councillor Toni Fox - Independent
Dean Row Ward - Wilmslow
Christopher Baker
Monday 24th July 2017 at 9:49 am
In your article in May http://bit.ly/2tudXde you reported the claim of the Cheshire East Labour Group that a Supreme Court ruling opens the way for house building on Green Belt land. It is therefore unclear to laymen whether the absence or the acceptance of a Local Plan would have the effects being claimed in the current discussion.

Past claims from national politicians that they supported the preservation of Green Belt seem not to have resulted in meaningful protection of such areas. What is clear is that the recent public consultation on the Local Plan produced a huge response but significantly little change in those proposals. The default response of council officers was to reject objections from the public. Developers therefore find themselves making plans under what residents largely regard as defective assumptions about the infrastructure (NHS provision, education, traffic analysis, greenfields and access) -- provision of which depends on fit-for-purpose planning at the level of local and national government.

You referred in http://bit.ly/2v0wnq6 to a consultation by DWH on proposed housing off Stanneylands Rd. Steps taken by developers to consult with the public should be welcomed as a potentially positive feature, and residents should respond rather than dwell on the loss of their time during the CEC Local Plan consultation. While it may not be the responsibility of developers to rectify the deficiencies in society, if developers wish to distance themselves (as I assume they do) from those inadequacies and the poor image they generate they may have to do better than simply comply with the basic requirements of local government officers. Surely, we can all hope that the developers will take a positive and innovative approach to suggestions that originate with residents for improvements to draft plans.
Neda Metcalfe
Monday 24th July 2017 at 10:46 am
I would have thought that the well paid job of our local councillor is to represent the views of the people who elected him and not just nod his head in agreement against the wishes of local residents. Surely last weeks meeting gives an indication of the feelings of the people he is supposed to be representing. I suggest when the next local elections take place we remind ourselves of his lack of support
Toni Fox
Monday 24th July 2017 at 12:19 pm

Interestingly I have just returned from sitting on the Strategic Planning Board, the first meeting held this week in the final process to adopt the Local Plan. 5 members of the Committee supported it, 2 abstained and 2 voted against.

Those who voted against were myself and Councillor Sewart, a Conservative councillor, who is one of 4 Poynton councillors. In his statement Councillor Sewart said he could not support the Local Plan as it goes against the wishes of his residents.

Councillor Toni Fox - Independent
Dean Row Ward - Wilmslow
Manuel Golding
Monday 24th July 2017 at 1:52 pm
I also attended the Staneylands Hotel meeting as a Residents of Wilmslow observer.
Cllr Stockton reiterated the oft repeated threats by him & his party colleagues that by opposing the Council's Local Plan we are "short sighted & self defeating." Unfortunately for Wilmslow's voters it is not us or the voters who suffer from myopia but the likes of Cllr Stockton & his ilk.

They are incapable of a simple effort to forensically examine the Council's inept officers' handiwork. A simple run across the growth projections would even tell a primary school pupil that the arithmetic doesn't make any sense. But not our unworthy, irresponsible councillors; it is all too much trouble for them to do the forensics as it may give them the answer their officers & leadership do not wish them to know.

It is perfectly clear that Wilmslow, indeed the borough as a whole, does not need the developments that are being shoved into the LP to achieve the house building to meet the projected population growth over the plan period of 2010 to 2030. And this includes the builds already sanctioned.

Then we come to the gerrymandering of the actual build out rates by developers. Having seized on green acres, they apply for planning. This is given BUT do the developers build out? No they don't, they hold back house build - this way the market is controlled to a faux shortage, a shortage of the developers own making and big financial benefit. Land banking & market manipulation is their game. The next developer card is to go to appeal claiming the Council does not have a "5 year supply of housing"... and win. The mythical "5 year supply" is controlled by the developers for their financial gain at the community's cost. Is this happening at Adlington Road. i.e. Bollin Park? Your guess is as good as mine!

Cllr Stockton was very clear that he represents the views of the controlling party, not those at the packed Staneylands meeting, despite his assertion otherwise. If, as he said, he spoke up for his voter's concerns at the council, and wasn't listened to, then he should do the honourable thing and resign from the Cabinet and even put yourself before the electorate. It is not your words that count but your deeds councillor.

Whatever the outcome of Thursday's Council Meeting, I believe the voters will not forget the stab in the back administered by Cllr Stockton & his party colleagues across Wilmslow & elsewhere, come the next elections in 2019.
Neda Metcalfe
Monday 24th July 2017 at 6:17 pm
Toni, thank you for your response it is good to know their are some honourable people who represent us.
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 26th July 2017 at 5:27 pm
If Cllr Stockton can, with his colleagues, reduce the housing and employment numbers for the north of the borough, then he should vote yes.
However, the Michael Gove proposals for farming and pollution (electric vehicles) are vital for a healthy post Brexit Cheshire.
What is the point of continuing being overspill for Manchester, with 14,000 homes proposed for High Lane across to Altrincham by GMC/Stockport MBC?
Pepper potting business units and housing in villages across the borough helps to solve Mr Gove's proposals. CEC have irregularities in their stated pollution figures and until we see the report, we must assume that they have understated the true position.
Adding business units means jobs can be created in villages, thereby helping to sustain and grow village life. You also spread the CO and NO2 emissions across thousands of square miles and not tens of square miles.
Mr Bagguley highlights continued denial of windfall and brownfield builds here in Wilmslow. CEC are not interested in doing anything beyond permitting construction along the A34 corridor using green fields, destroying trees and all that they contain. This is plain wrong.
CEC SHMA of 2013 shows the quantity and mix of housing needed for Wilmslow and Handforth combined. The numbers were realistic as was the economic growth figure.
So Cllr Stockton, please go fight for our new green future. The Local Plan is flawed. Don't poison us and generations to come. Vote the LP down.
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 26th July 2017 at 6:17 pm
Must add that at the SPG meeting which approved the Airport Link road, the pollution figures did not include the housing numbers now in the Local Plan, they were far lower.
Also, 1,800 or so homes at Handforth East were not included, because at the time, 'they are only an aspiration' as said by the project manager.
We know that the A34 junction for the M60 is the busiest in England, so all I would add is that as the airport link road is fundamentally a Stockport bypass, it will transfer pollution from there down to us folks.
Stockport improves at our expense. How green is that for Handforth and Wilmslow?
Again Cllr Stockton, please make a stand for us.
David Smith
Wednesday 26th July 2017 at 7:57 pm
I would like to toss this observation into the HOUSING DEBATE - around here or anywhere in the uk.
Houses aren't homes any more - they are investment commodities. We talk of the housing 'ladder' which is a reference to the steadily increasing cost and the sooner you get on the 'ladder', the cost will be less and your investment greater over time.
Consider this: anyone from the 28 countries in the EU can buy a property in any other country of the 28 countries. I am not therefore aware of any restrictions on a person from the other 27 countries (a 'foreigner') of the EU walking into ANY estate agent in the UK and buying a property that is up for sale. They just need to have the money and do the paperwork. When bought they can leave it empty, use it for holidays for friends and family visits and so effectively remove the property from the UK housing stock. The 'foreigner' is doing the same to the UK housing stock that 'townies' who buy a second/holiday home are doing to various villages and attractive rural areas of the UK. In other words pricing local persons out of the market. This is why we have a shortage of homes in the UK. We are building them only to be sold to any 'foreigner' or 'outsider' with the money. We can't do anything about EU citizens buying property here until after Brexit (if we then get our act together on this issue) but why do we allow so many non-EU citizens from buying UK homes? I don't have any figures - and would like some! - for the number of citizens from outside the EU who own/are buying a property in the South East (Londone area generally). I believe the President of Pakistan owns 4 London apartments. Why? Apparently many Russians collectively account for ownership of many London properties. Why? Any 'foreigner' who buys a property here prevents a UK citizen from having it. What happens in London and the South east has a ripple effect on the housing market over the rest of the country. This is a reason your children are finding it difficult/impossible to 'get on the housing ladder' - it isn't just that there aren't enough houses but also that too many people are buying them who should not be allowed to do so. So all these houses that the council thinks need to be built to provide homes in the area might like to state that they will only be available for purchase to UK citizens and preferably 'local' citizens to boot.
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 26th July 2017 at 8:03 pm
Lock up all these blue sky thinkers and throw away the key. How do these pontificating know all do gooders get to such places of office? Oh yes, I know sensible people who just want to be left alone, and are not chasing an OBE, or some other glory for their family history, are not in charge!!! Shove off the lot of you and stop imposing your glorified rhubarb on us.
Anne Greenhalgh
Thursday 27th July 2017 at 12:12 am
I may be naive but I thought green belt protects our green areas so why are the council pushing for housing off Stanneylands Road & ICI which can only bring chaos & a great loss to the area I grew up in & love. I was so proud growing up here & visiting local farms non of which still exist! I love the gaps between towns & villages which makes us still feel rural. I lived in South Manchester for 10 years before we could return home & was shocked to learn that all the villages from McVities to central Manchester blended into one due to excessive building! Do we really want that for Wilmslow?
Martin Watkins
Friday 28th July 2017 at 1:22 pm
@Toni Fox. As you know, Wilmslow Town Council has consistently asked Cheshire East about the scheduling of work to widen the access road from Dean Row Road to the A34. The last request was to Highways who were going to attend our July meeting. Therefore I am pleased that I have today been informed that the work will be carried out in August to produce 2 lanes onto the A34 and one off. Councillor Martin Watkins, Dean Row ward
Friday 28th July 2017 at 5:29 pm
Thank -you Councillor Watkins and Councillor Fox for trying to improve the situation on Dean Row Road. This link to the A34 was a condition of the Adlington Road development in October 2014. So here we are more than 2 years later and the work is finally going to be carried out. Can we find out whether the work is now being financed directly by the S106 money generated by the Bollin Park Development, - or are they simply doing the work this year to make it easier for permission to be granted for the development of Heathfield Farm and will put a S106 into that application too? That way Cheshire East would get two lots of money from two different sources - for the same stretch of road - much in the same way as they have got several lots of money for improving the playing area off Browns Lane - but none of it has actually been spent.
Jane Oakes
Saturday 29th July 2017 at 6:52 am
Unfortunately I was away when the meeting was held at the Stanneyands last week but have received the feedback notes.  I am still very hopeful that the planners and council willl change their mind regarding access in favour of Manchester Road.  It sends a chill down my back over the implications of access from Stanneylands Road.  I remember when the Summerfields Estate was first created and the death of a young boy at the junction on to Dean Row Road which led to the creation of the traffic lights system.   I can see history repeating itself in view of the poor access.
Estelle Lewis
Tuesday 1st August 2017 at 8:40 am
Reading some of the above comments, the cynic in me can only agree that sheer greed is driving this push to build on Green Belt areas. Once again I put forward the argument - turn all the empty office blocks into apartments - travelling around the North West one can't help but notice the For Rent signs - this would go a long way to solve the housing problem.

Building houses where there is already a lack of facilities for the residents, where the roads are already overburdened (the A4 bypass is just a car park at times) is total irresponsible madness.

Greed is alive and well in Wilmslow/Styal
Deleted Account
Thursday 3rd August 2017 at 1:37 am
Have a look at what's being squeezed on to the Little Stanneylands green belt by the developers and cry.
Nick Jones
Thursday 3rd August 2017 at 12:27 pm
With regard to the ‘DELIBERATE and SYSTEMATIC” manipulated air quality data processing failures, measured against many now flawed planning decisions already taken, and CEC Cllrs engaged in the flawed process of asking for public consultation on THEIR Local Plan and Royal London AFTER they have made the decision to impose their non- representative vision, I find it unsurprising there is anger amongst other Cllrs [froma all colours ]whose astute observations and comments [recorded on this site] reflect the same frustration as the many CEC residents. I have not met one resident who yet supports the L/P in CEC's format. With 4 Independents 13 Labour and 3 Tories voting against this non-party but common sense issue. How do mssrs Barton, Brooks, Stockton, The Lyme Green Cllr, and their other CEC colleagues led by Rachel Bailey intend address this significant 'deliberate and systematic manipulated ' failure that has not only deceived Cllrs, but the electorate, the Planning process, that directly impacts on their pre-determined conduct and vote in support of CEC Local Plan imposition. How will this be reviewed and assessed ? I would suggest for transparency and integrity that those already involved in any of the decisions made are not best placed to do so again. Perhaps in the quest for truth the current law enforcement investigation could extent further ? This really is akin to Orwell’s 1984... “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH” “ORTHODOXY IS UNCONSCIOUSNESS” “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE REALITY EXCEPT BY LOOKING THROUGH THE EYES OF THE PARTY” . Perhaps A CEC Cllr who voted for the L/P, knowing all the above, would like to now explain fully alongside why any opposing view was therefore “short sighted and self defeating” ?
Pete Taylor
Thursday 3rd August 2017 at 2:16 pm
It seems rather odd to me that our CEC "representatives"(!) are willing to give statements to this and other media, yet when their electorate ask them direct questions here, it is most unusual for them to give the curtesy of a response. I believe that Cllr Stockton has never, ever responded.
So, Cllrs, Mr Jones has invited you to explain why you voted to build houses on every scrap of land around- any chance of an answer, please?
Jane Oakes
Tuesday 8th August 2017 at 4:30 pm
Has anybody noticed that on the DWH plan there are three road entrances onto the proposed Little Stanneylands Estate from Stanneylands Road - not one !!