4:34pm Monday 16th September 2013
By Gina Bebbington
CAMPAIGN groups from across west Cheshire have united in a bid to make their council listen.
Protesters from Northwich, Winsford, Chester and Ellesmere Port gathered outside Wyvern House, in Winsford, on Thursday to make their collective voice heard over a number of planned developments.
Darren Johnson and Ruth Shaw, from Chester groups PROUD and North Blacon Residents Association, organised the protest.
“We want to send out the clear message to all Cheshire West and Chester Council members that it’s now time to listen to residents and not ignore them,” they said.
“Campaigners who have joined us today represent thousands of angry people who believe that the democratic process in respect to planning issues within this authority is clearly flawed.”
The special full council meeting was convened to decide whether a second planning application for a student village in Chester should be considered in the usual way by the strategic planning committee or by full council instead.
The council voted 32 to 30 to change its constitution and allow its 75 members to consider the controversial application as a planning committee.
Residents from Moulton joined the protest as they have been fighting plans for 148 new houses in the village and have previously submitted a petition calling CWAC’s planning process into question as they felt councillors were being given wrong information in officers’ reports.
Margaret Newton, from Beehive Lane, said: “Hopefully the general public will start to know what’s going on because unless you’re involved it goes over your head.
“I don’t think ordinary Cheshire people understand how unfair CWAC is and we want openness and honesty.”
Nigel Gilding was at the protest representing the 700 members of Communities Against Delamere Destruction (CADD), a group fighting plans for holiday cottages at the forest.
“Plans are edging into the green belt, it’s doing horrible things to nice things,” he said.
“This protest is important because it’s important to send a message.
“Many councillors do understand but this reinforces our position and will make people think.”
Prostesters also gathered from across Winsford, including representatives from Save Rilshaw Action Group (SRAG), residents fighting plans for development in the St Chad’s conservation area and campaigners fighting development at Winsford Flashes.
John Doherty, from SRAG, said: “This protest is to say we’re fed up of this, no-one’s listening.”
The protest was also filmed for the BBC Two’s The Planners.
PROUD are keen to hear from other campaign groups so that residents can work together across west Cheshire. For more information visit proud-chester.org.uk.
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