Barlow's Beef: Hands up any who understands the new Local Plan


I've been having another look at the all-new improved top-of-the range Local Plan and I'm err... what's the word? Baffled, yes that's the one.

Of all the adjectives available to describe their decision making process Cheshire East choose but one. They are so fond of it they attach it to every statement they make. It's not quite as long as some of the job titles they use (Director of Adult Social Care and Independent Living - wonder how they fit that title on the office door?).

No, the word they use to describe every action they take is 'transparent'. My dictionary defines that as 'having thoughts, feelings or motives that are easily perceived.'

Mmm... where were we? Oh yes, the Local Plan. If you haven't read it give it a whirl. It's about as 'transparent' as an MP's expense account. Unless you are a qualified architect of considerable standing married to a QC you won't have a clue.

Far from embracing the second adjective adored by all councils everywhere 'inclusive' the new super-duper Local Plan is just about as 'exclusive' as it's possible to make it (unless it's written in Chinese glyphs).

So... if you want to make a valid objection to any part of the Local Plan you need the services of some very expensive professionals which Aunty Doris, living on a state pension or Cheryl and Dave struggling to finance a mortgage and three kids just cannot afford.

Next thing that occurs to me is, there aren't any new schools, hospital facilities, doctor's surgeries, fire stations, public buildings or parks in this oh-so-clever plan. Given the dramatic increase in house building it's likely we shall need all of these so where are they?

I'm no planning expert, but having a public consultation for a plan very few residents can comprehend and omitting the necessary schools and health-care facilities implicit in the forecasted population growth seems err... what's the word?

Stupid, yes that's the one.

If I was a cynical man I'd say the entire process was designed to exclude and dupe any party likely to object who does not possess the resources to employ top professional advisers.

Obviously this won't include landowners or developers but will be totally beyond the reach of 99.9 per cent of all residents. From past experience I'd say the ones likely to benefit from this public exercise in obfuscation will be long-gone when the results of this deception become clear.

That, my friends, is democracy.

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.

Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 6th April 2016 at 11:05 am
Don't want you thinking for yourself do they?