Barlow's Beef: What's the difference between CEC and a dormouse?


'Huge disappointment as town's views have been ignored in Local Plan,' screamed our Wilmslow headline on Dec 21.

Councillor Keith Purdom for the Wilmslow Town Council meeting on Monday, 19th December, stated that the views expressed both in writing and in person to the Inspector have been ignored.

"So after years of consultation, many many meetings, written and verbal input to CEC and the Inspector the bottom line is that the Inspector has increased the number of completions for Wilmslow by 10 - yes really."

Mr Purdom continued: "I (along with many other WTC councillors) started this work with high hopes that we could influence CEC (and subsequently the Inspector) and have a plan that reflected some of the residents opinions. Clearly our work has influenced almost nothing at all."

Pretty depressing reading for both Wilmslow residents and their elected town council I thought until I read the outrage felt by Fiona Bruce MP for Congleton. Ms Bruce was reacting (angrily) to the Government inspector's decision to ignore the neighbourhood plan in Brereton, supported by 96 per cent of voters, by allowing the development of 190 houses plus another application 'coming down the track for 49 houses.

This alone represents a housing expansion in the village of 51 per cent.

Ms Bruce went on to add that communities on other parts of her constituency are now asking whether it is worth the time and effort to complete a neighbourhood plan.

The Congleton MP is a Tory, like her contemporaries in Cheshire East but, unlike them, MS Bruce has the courage to speak out against her own party. More than that she has fire and spirit to leave no doubt where she stands on this Government betrayal of her constituents.

In stark contrast CEC Tories dither, prevaricate and wobble like a bunch of old washerwomen frightened of their own shadow.

Tell me this... what use have CEC been to the residents of Wilmslow in this deplorable debacle? Where was leader Rachel Bailey when they needed her?

"This council believes in supporting grass-roots planning policies," she stated recently.

If that wasn't so stupefyingly lame it would be laughable.

And... before Ms Bailey gets her PR team to complain please tell us what happened to CEC's much lauded Brownfield First policy.

Having botched up the Local Plan CEC have neither the courage nor the bottle to fight for their residents as Fiona Bruce has done risking her career for the people she serves.

The absence of any comment on this site on almost any council topic stands testimony to their timid indifference.

Just like the residents of Brereton the good people of Handforth are now going forward in good faith with their neighbourhood plan.

Cheshire East will, no doubt, invoke their spine chilling call to arms:

"Let us all go forward together sideways so that none of us comes last."

ANS: One is frightened to show itself in daylight... and the other is a mouse.

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

Barlows Beef, Vic Barlow


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

Mark Eden
Tuesday 3rd January 2017 at 4:10 pm
You only have to see the hideous development at Finlow Hill to understand how dysfunctional East Cheshire planning is. The property only lacks a runway and we could have Manchester's second airport.
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 3rd January 2017 at 5:24 pm
Wil Neighbourhood Plans be of any help?