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Shock over CWAC planning fall-out
PLANNING campaigners have expressed shock and amazement as the fall-out from an unprecedented meeting sees four councillors suspended.
In last week’s Guardian we reported a co-ordinated protest against Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) by campaigners from across west Cheshire.
Residents from Moulton, Delamere, Winsford, Chester and Ellesmere Port protested at Wyvern House on the evening of a special meeting held to decide whether full council should vote on plans for a student village in Chester because of a loss of faith in CWAC’s strategic planning committee.
The four Tory councillors who called for the meeting, Clrs Gareth Anderson, Myles Hogg, Brian Crowe and Neil Sullivan, have since had the whip withdrawn by council leader Clr Mike Jones, and are listed on CWAC’s website as unaligned Conservatives.
This also follows Clr Hogg’s removal as chairman of the strategic planning committee in May, which caused speculation as to whether it was linked to his casting vote against the student village while other Conservative councillors voted for the development.
Peter Collins, from campaign group Moulton Matters, which is fighting Richborough Estates’ plans for 148 new homes in the village, said: “Inside the chambers what I witnessed amazed me.
“Planning is obviously a very controversial issue within the council and what I felt I had witnessed was tantamount to civil war within the council.
“I recognised many of the faces from the strategic planning meetings and was aware there was dismay in the way Myles Hogg had been sacked as chairman for the strategic planning committee and it was not surprising many seemed to be questioning council leader Mike Jones’ judgement, but I was amazed by how vociferous those voices were.
“Both David Tunstall [a fellow member of Moulton Matters] and I were quite shocked by what was said and all it did was to confirm the worst case scenarios from everything we had experienced from day one of our fight against this development.
“This now appears to be a very silly game which is bringing CWAC into disrepute and I just hope like mad it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on much-loved and cherished areas of our county.”
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