I want to speak at this point as it will pre empt some of the questions later on.

I had accepted quite a long time ago that the support I hoped to get from some residents for developing the Paddock, was not forthcoming and I would not be able to continue to support taking it forward at this time.

My view on this matter remains the same, that to develop this piece  of land for low cost houses, for those in our society that need help,  in addition raise a good deal of revenue for this village     would be the best use of this asset.

The Cranage Parish Chronicle is awash with mis truths and innuendo and only allows people to voice an opinion against this development, and more importantly, allows them to criticize members of this Council they do not agree with.    It does not allow opposing views to be put forward as I was informed by Dr Speakman, one resident I know of, who wrote in support of developing the Paddock. She informed me that Mr Hodge refused to publish her comments       so much for democracy ?

For the record, though I doubt you will document it, I did NOT vote in favour of selling the Paddock in May, nor did I vote in favour of  changing the Planning permission at an earlier meeting to erect Executive houses on this land, unlike Councillor Halstead who must be dizzy from making U turns…as I believe he was on this Council when the Planning Permission was first sought, I was not on the Parish Council at this time.

Ruth Choudry asks    “ Are some of us forging ahead for our own gain”…If  she is accusing me or any of my colleagues of wrongdoing….I suggest she speak out .

Robert Raven in his letter to the Cranage Parish Chronicle, notes that I have personally had planning permission granted…is he suggesting some wrongdoing on my part?      For the record Cranage Parish Council voted against my application. I think that alone demonstrates the honesty and integrity of most of my colleagues.

Mr Raven fails to note that we are obliged to build 3 low cost houses on our  personal application, however I don’t see any letters condemning the Planning Authority for compelling us to do that ! But I suppose that is in my back yard.

He also fails to note a S106 agreement to contribute approx £30,000.00 to help support local amenities.

Councillor Halstead also critises me for supporting Councillor Wolstencroft in a recent election, I am entitled to an opinion and chose the candidate I considered the most suitable. Councillor Halstead referred to Mr Hodge as eminent, which is defined as distinguished and famous

Mr Hodge and others are responsible for printing unfounded allegations and lies, and allowing un- censored letters to be printed which contain lies and innuendo…my opinion of them would not be printable.

Finally I would say I am sure some of you are genuine in your desires to see the Paddock kept as it is, some of you do not wish to have houses built in an area which might affect your property values, all of which I respect fully.

I now resign as a member of Cranage Parish Council and pass the baton to the vice chairman, Councillor Hopley

Comment

Below is the e-mail received from Dr Speakman. We did originally decline to publish it because we felt it is not our job but that of the parish council to lead an open debate on these issues. We did not interpret the content as opposition as Mr Irlam indicated. Also we are not aware of any postings on our website where we accused Mr Irlam of being a liar.

  I find it most disturbing that there is such an unpleasant tenor to the discussion about whether this land should be built on. I think it does campaigners of any persuasion no good when they launch into personalised attacks. I understand the Government is keen to encourage affordable housing, and that this should be available in rural areas as well as elsewhere. In addition, so far I have not heard about how we might use income from selling the land. I would like to hear a sensible debate about the costs and benefits of the proposed housing and to seek out views on where the £0.3million it would generate might be spent to the benefit of all the community. I would like people to start contributing ideas about what we could do, and then we are in a better position to weigh up whether the benefits outstrip the disadvantages.

Comment

A number of residents have opposed the development of the Paddock since planning permission was first sought by the parish council. The fundamental point which should be borne in mind is that when residents realised what was going on (and we presume most did not until we distributed our own information) 212 voted no to development 37 voted for. This democratic result was in essence ignored by parts of the parish council when they endorsed the application for extending parts of the planning permission in somewhat dubious circumstances. This was coupled with the application for a grant from the Housing Challenge Fund which is referred in detail elsewhere on this website.

The only reasonably conclusion to these actions is that the parish council wanted to revisit the vote on the Paddock till such time they get a yes vote to sell.

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