Reader's Letter: Development work starts on the Royal London agricultural fields

Readers may recall a previous letter that I wrote "The last harvest?" well, things have moved on and, this week, just a few weeks after the tennant farmer sowed another crop, a team of Site Investigation Surveyors arrived and are taking soil core samples in the agricultural field on Alderley Road.

This field and other pieces of land around the town were under Green Belt protection until the flawed CEC Local Plan was forced through, after more than one attempt. The number of houses "required" has subsequently been reduced, so there was no need for any of this Green Belt land to be grabbed by greedy developers. As I understand it there have now been far more planning consents given by CEC than even the original inflated figure (always open to correction).

Add into the mix the fact that someone at CEC deliberately falsified the Air Quality Monitoring figures, which are used as part of the planning application process; the formal Police investigation seems to have gone nowhere; possibly because the guilty parties have left CEC, it's difficult to know because the investigation does not appear to have formally been concluded, so nobody will discuss it in public.

It really is worth reading my original letter and following the links contained in it (and the ones which came later from other follow-up pieces in ) it's very illuminating what certain characters said and how things have turned out; quite eye-opening, in fact. This is what local history is all about.

Myself and around 30 others have enduring Covenants with the land-owner (currently Royal London) these forbid the erection of any form of building on the field; when a house changed hands recently the new owners received a Covenant from The Land Registry, so these things are still in force.

Of course by the previous incarnation of CEC changing agricultural land into building land the value went through the roof; along with this development another is pending on what is the soon to vacated Royal London Campus on the other side of Alderley Road. Royal London are expected, under the NPFF guideline i10, "to work closely with those directly affected by their proposals to evolve designs that take account of the views of the community".

Apart from one reply to a letter I sent to RL Head of property back in January 2018, I have received no contact from them at all; neither have any of the other residents involved. The cynically timed "exhibition" (for a few hours during one working day) seems to be all that has happened.

Rather worryingly, given the number of times the land either side of Alderley Road has flooded recently the plan for both these large developments is to send surface run-off water into the Whitehall Brook; the normal surface height of this stream is only a couple of feet below the level of the fields; local Residnets are seriously concerned that the flooding assessment has not come up with a workable plan. We were told the first time that it happened it was a "once in 200 year event"; actually it has been more than ten times in twelve months.

Is it time to have a startegic review of this planning consent, taking into consideration what we now know about Climate Changes and the actual housing needs?

Pete Taylor.

Reader's Letter