Barlow's Beef: Local Plan Strategy - The Great Deception


Having received an email from Cheshire East inviting me to read their Local Plan Strategy I considered it my duty to do so. While having no specialist planning expertise I am familiar with online documents as most of my business is conducted via the Internet.

I spend hours reading documents online and can assure you there is absolutely no chance of the average resident navigating their way through this monstrous tome of jargon and indecipherable hypothesis. One small section I wished to examine had 250 pages alone.

Residents apart, I doubt there's more than a handful of Cheshire East Councillors who have actually read and understood the full Local Plan Strategy. Any commercial enterprise presenting a document such as this to prospective customers would very quickly find itself out of business.

Unless you have limitless time, a suitable degree and are thoroughly acquainted with town hall speak where no word is used when six can be inserted you have more chance of translating the Magna Carta into Cantonese than ploughing your way through this epic.

Sadly, I cannot advise you with any degree of accuracy how the revised Local Plan will affect your neighbourhood as I only have a limited number of years to live.

I can however give you a brief explanation of how and why swathes of open land are to be earmarked for housing development.

Our government, in all its wisdom, has suddenly realised house prices are beyond the reach of many families. Taking a wild guess at the demand it has decreed the number of new homes to be built around the country.

Not wishing to face voter backlash for its insistence on developing the greenbelt our government appointed Inspectors to act on its behalf (to take the blame).

Local councils, like Cheshire East, were ordered to release land for housing development opening the door for developers to acquire planning consent on much sought-after greenbelt land.

Many local organisations saw this as an opportunity to expand their own operations and rapidly submitted plans to exploit whatever undeveloped land they owned.

While swift to acquire sites rather than increase the housing supply developers are banking much of the land waiting for house prices to RISE.

As for the 'affordable homes' at the centre of this great deception developers will fight any commitment they may have to reduce their number with little or no resistance from local councils.

So, while builders manipulate the market to force house prices upwards and local organisations sell off land to fund their own grandiose expansion first-time buyers (the sole reason for invading the greenbelt) and local communities will get shafted.

Now, politicians can wrap it up in sufficient unintelligible words to fill Westminster but that, my friends, is the reality.

Should you doubt my words please count the number of 'affordable' homes being built right now in your area.

I rest my case.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, Local Plan, Vic Barlow


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

Ian Cook
Wednesday 16th March 2016 at 3:00 pm
Did anyone else notice that CEC had increased the allocation of properties on Alderley Park by 50% up from 800 to 1200....when did that happen??