Information supplied from Cheshire archives Chester and from parish council minutes with comments in red.
Land was given in 1782 to residents of Cranage for the income to benefit the poor.
(But to be made use of for such purposes and in such manner for the benefit of the said poor as by the majority of the persons contributing to the poor rates should from time to time at their meetings normally called towns meetings be in person agreed upon.)
In 1894 it was administered by the parish council on behalf of residents.
In 2006 Cranage parish council obtain possessory title to the land (this was thought by residents to ensure that the land was used as previously for grazing. And to stop anyone from taking possession to develop it. And that the land was still owned by residents).
In 2007 Cranage parish council strongly oppose development of what is now Big Stone Gardens.
In 2007 Cranage parish council apply for planning on paddock. (Given the opposition to Big Stone you would think at least they would have sent a questionnaire out then asking the residents for views.)
In 2008 Big Stone goes to appeal and the development is approved.
In 2008 parish council gain planning permission for ten affordable houses.
On the 12 April 2011 parish councillor M Mackenzie opened the housing at Big Stone on behalf of the parish council with councillors D Hopley J Halstead and J Irlam in attendance.
In June 2012 parish council vote on proposal to apply for planning permission for executive homes on the paddock. Those for J Halstead G Yarwood D Hopley against J Irlam M Mackenzie R Hurst J Worstencroft. Resolved the land should be sold for affordable housing. (How do you go from a vote on planning permission to selling the land?)
In July 24th 2012 parish council vote no to selling land for affordable houses. J Worstencroft immediately resigns. (The minutes do not show who voted for or against.)
In September 2012 councillor M Mackenzie objected to the minutes of July with reference to 90/12 that the proposal was not on the agenda and therefore should not have been voted on by members .The chairman agreed that the item needed to be discussed further at a future meeting. The issue had caused a member to resign and the disposal/retention of the land needed more attention. Resolved that the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24th July 2012 be approved and signed as a true and accurate record.
In November 2012 J Worstencroft is co-opted back onto parish council despite an alternative candidate putting his name forward.
In March 2013 parish council vote to pay J Ashall £950 plus vat to apply to Cheshire East for a share in the housing challenge fund (despite the fact that they were told no money would come to parish via this).
In April 2013 the parish council send out questionnaire to residents on the issue to develop the paddock:
420 sent out
212 return a no sale vote
37 return a sell vote.
In June 2013 parish chairman states he still wants to sell the land. When challenged that this means going against the democratic wishes of the residents he still insists his view is correct. After the meeting ended and the public left it is alleged that M Mackenzie made an allegation of dishonesty involving G Yarwood, D Hopley and J Halstead.
In July 2013 parish council are made aware an extension of time application has been made to Cheshire East in the parish council’s name, they all deny any knowledge of this but then vote to let it stand. They hold a private meeting to discuss the allegations of dishonesty.
In September 2013 J Irlam in a stormy meeting still says he wants to sell (you can find more details in September 3rd meeting on this web site).
Also reference was made that the clerk is having difficulty finding parish councillors from adjacent parishes willing to sit on a panel to hear all sides on the issue of dishonesty. It has now to go to a monitoring officer at Cheshire East for guidance how to proceed.
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