Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A question for our Thringstone Conservative candidates

Last night I was sat reading the election leaflet issued by our two Conservative candidates for the Thringstone ward.

As I got to the second page something struck me.

Under the headline 'Conservatives have run your council for 4 years - Our record' I read that the current administration have 'protected the green wedge'.

Now this somewhat surprised me as I didn't know that the green wedge was any more protected now than when a massive planning application was submitted for the so-called 'Stephenson Green' several months ago.

Now for the facts...

Back on March 1st Cabinet at North West Leicestershire District Council discussed the NWL Core Strategy which includes the basis of housing development up to 2026.

Amongst the recommendations made in the report to Cabinet was that there should be only 1 'Strategic Development Site' in Coalville (Bardon Grange) and that the Green Wedge should be 'protected and re-designated as an Area of Separation, to prevent the coalescence and protect the identity of individual villages'.

To their credit the Cabinet accepted these recommendations - but that isn't the end of the story by a long way. The recommendations are not even binding on the Council.

You see before the Core Strategy can be adopted further consultation has to be carried out with stakeholders. Only then can a 'pre-submission' Core Strategy be approved by Council which then has to go through ANOTHER ROUND OF CONSULTATION before the Secratary of State  asks the Planning Inspectorate to arrange a public examination of the Core Strategy for 'Soundness'.

In short, and whilst the Cabinet recommendations are welcome, as far as I am aware the Green Wedge isn't protected as a result of Conservative actions at all - it's just one first step along a very long road.

And more importantly what is there to stop a Conservative administration, based around the rural northern parishes of the district, reversing their decision after the election if they gain power for four more years?

My question therefore to the Conservative candidates in Thringstone is this:

How is the Green Wedge protected? and if this tick on your leaflet is an exaggeration how can you be trusted on the others?

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