4:00pm Thursday 8th May 2014
By Gina Bebbington
HOUSING developments threatening Davenham and Moulton and the planning process in general were the overwhelming topics when residents questioned their MP.
Eddisbury MP Stephen O’Brien faced residents from both villages when he attended a public meeting in Moulton.
In the light of approved plans for 148 homes off Barnside Way and 70 houses off Jack Lane, in Moulton, as well as pending plans for 53 houses in Jack Lane and 70 homes in Fountain Lane, in Davenham, villagers were keen to discover their MP’s thoughts and how he could help.
Mr O’Brien said: “There are 140 ghastly, rapacious planning applications in the towns and villages in my constituency so it’s a big issue.
“I cannot answer for councils but at that level and at national level I aim and can be your voice and make sure your voice is heard.”
Moulton resident Rob Snasdell explained the frustrations faced by villagers campaigning against housing developments.
“We look to the people we voted for for advice,” he said.
“We get councillors on board and they vote against a development but it goes to appeal and we have to fight organisations with more legal and financial power than we have.
“Then it goes to an inspector who isn’t a local man but who’s making decisions that impact our lives and we have no power.
“We’ve lost and we can’t fight it.”
Mr O’Brien explained that his role was limited but he was doing what he could “I have to confess that I don’t have the powers you would wish me to have,” he said.
“I have the voice and I’m making it pretty awkward and heard all the time.”
He emphasised the problems facing planning in both west and east Cheshire, including the loss of corporate knowledge when the former Cheshire County Council and six borough councils were reorganised into Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils, the perceived housing shortfall following a moratorium on house building and a planning ‘free-for-all’ between the revocation of the north west’s Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) and the formation of a local plan in Cheshire.
Mr O’Brien said: “We had to get rid of the RSS – that was killing us because the demand for numbers of houses was so huge.
“I pleaded with ministers as to why we couldn’t have transitional arrangements but I was not given the chance to win that argument.”
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