Friday 6, September 2013
Welcome to this, my 140th news bulletin.
In recent months, I have been regularly contacted by local people with concerns about the number of planning applications that are being lodged to build housing in Crewe and Nantwich.
Next week, I am meeting with the Planning Minister to discuss Cheshire East's local plan, and to seek advice on how councillors can get our local five year housing supply signed off as soon as possible, so that we aren't constantly held hostage by opportunistic developers wanting to build large estates.
I am doing this as I am exceptionally fond of our countryside in Crewe and Nantwich, and despite planning being controlled by Cheshire East Council, I receive a lot of representations from action groups around the constituency who are rightly trying to protect the character of their villages and green spaces.
I would like to reassure you that the Government is protecting the Green Belt from inappropriate development.
The National Planning Policy Framework is explicit that key protections like the Green Belt cannot be overridden by the presumption in favour of sustainable development, and that, once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances. Separate planning guidance on traveller sites also strengthens protection of the Green Belt and open countryside from unauthorised development, and only last year I assisted in fighting off an illegal traveller site on the outskirts of Crewe.
The Framework guarantees strong protection for National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and maintains exactly the same protections as previously in place for ancient woodlands and for exceptional dwellings in the countryside.
The Government has given new powers to councils to resist unwanted garden grabbing and introduced a new planning protection for valuable local green spaces. Importantly, the Framework also underlines that planning decisions should recognise the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside, whether or not it is specifically designated.
As you will appreciate however, changes in population necessitate an increased housing supply, including here in our area.
This requires the building of new homes and the bringing back in to use of empty homes. Let me reassure you that we are working hard to get every inch of brownfield land back in to use, and Cheshire East Council have been clear that they are playing their part in doing just that.
Improving on previously announced changes, which will allow for the conversion of existing commercial buildings to residential use, I am pleased that Ministers will be going further by making it easier to convert empty and redundant retail buildings into homes. This will also help rejuvenate high streets and market towns and complement the hundreds of millions of pounds of investment aimed at bringing empty homes back into use.
I am pleased that we have abolished top-down targets which served only to increase distrust in the planning system. Labour's Regional Spatial Strategies, which threatened to erode the Green Belt in more than thirty towns and cities across the country, are being abolished. Similarly, the Whitehall density targets, which resulted in a glut of flats and fewer homes and discouraged useful amenities such as parking spaces and gardens, have also been abolished.
Rest assured these reforms are protecting the Green Belt, promoting responsible building and bring power in the planning process back to local communities in Crewe and Nantwich.
Member of Parliament for Crewe & Nantwich
Please remember, you can always contact me directly if you have any questions for me, or if there is anything I can do to assist you.
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Locally I have...
- Visited the Mountain Trike Company Ltd at their headquarters in Walgherton, to view their All Terrain Wheelchair. British-designed, and manufactured here in Crewe and Nantwich, this innovative product has been developed to enable wheelchair users to lead an active lifestyle, and navigate 'off-road' terrain.
- Met representatives of the Wychwood Village Community Group, and Willaston Green Gap Action Team, in advance of my meeting next week with Planning Minister Nick Boles.
- Acted as a judge at the Crewe 'Rail Ale' Beer Festival, hosted at the Crewe Railway Heritage Centre by South Cheshire Camra.
- Paid a visit to Kindertons Accident Management, in Crewe, to meet new employees recruited as a result of my successful Jobs Fair, in June.
- Attended the launch, at Crewe Alex, of a charity calendar in aid of Diabetes UK. The calendar, created by local photographer Toni Pownall, is available through her website.
- Held one of my regular constituency surgeries, at my office in Crewe. To book an appointment to speak to me about any issue or concern, please call 01270 501 725.
- ...and this evening I will be joining celebrations at the opening of the 2013 Nantwich Food and Drink Festival.
Read my most recent Crewe & Nantwich Talk
The latest edition of my Westminster Report is being delivered across Crewe and Nantwich. Click here or on the image to read a copy.
I met with Ian Cowap and Frank Davies of the Willaston Green Gap Action Team, to dicsuss their concerns about the proposed development of land to the north of Moorfields. They brought more than 200 letters from concerned Willaston residents, who are objecting to the proposals.
You can see all of my photos by visiting my website.
Nantwich Food and Drink Festival set to pull in 30,000 visitors
Nantwich News: Eat, drink and be merry is the message from Nantwich Food and Drink Festival organisers as the town prepares to host thousands of “foodies”. More than 30,000 visitors are expected at the three-day event billed as “the biggest and tastiest food festival in the country”.
Visitors to Nantwich between September 6 -8 will be offered a huge range of regionally-produced gourmet foods, beer and wine tastings. This year’s crowd-puller will also include a massive food emporium on Church Lane car-park offering delicacies and drinks from around the globe. Another marquee, the Mornflake Food Hall, will be sited on the Bowling Green car-park and new to the Residence on Mill Street will be a children’s activity centre sited on its green.
After its successful launch last year, the town square will be the venue for a seated Food Theatre where chefs from Cheshire restaurants will show off their skills on a Aga Rangemaster stage.
Food and craft stalls will be dotted at open venues across town including Churchyardside, Pepper Street and the Cocoa Yard. The Methodist Church Hall will host its Pudding Club offering desserts made by ladies of the church, while the White Horse pub car-park will be the venue for a bouncy castle, face-painter and crazy golf.
Nantwich Museum will host a photographic display of scenes from last year’s festival as well as its “100 Years of Food in Nantwich” display.
The Market Hall will be open for trade and a Man V Burger charity contest asking entrants to chomp through a 5lb burger to boost funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Food festival chairman Deborah Robb said: “We can guarantee an event even ‘bigger and better’ than last year because it actually is. This year the infrastructure is spread across a much wider area, all in the heart of town.
“Last year people commented on the feel-good factor of the festival. Yes, it’s about food, but also about showcasing our beautiful town and welcoming nice people. We have wonderful sponsors and 40 plus volunteers all out to make this weekend the most memorable yet.”
The festival generated more than £2m income for the town last year and organisers hope to top that.
Food shops across town will offer samples and displays while non-food shops are playing their part by offering discounts. Maps have been printed showing the main attractions and leaflets will be handed out over the weekend.
For more on activities visit www.nantwichfoodfestival.co.uk
Do you have community news to share? Are you involved in any projects that could be of help or interest to local people in Crewe and Nantwich? Email me and your news could be here too!
MP to relay residents' concerns at Parliament
Crewe Chronicle: Two members of the Willaston Green Gap Action Team have met Edward Timpson MP to present him with more than 200 letters from concerned residents of Willaston objecting to the possible development of land to the north of Moorfields.
Mr Timpson has worked with Willaston Green Gap Action Team in the past to support their efforts to ensure that the Willaston green gap is incorporated in the new local plan. While as an MP, Mr Timpson has no responsibility for town planning, he fully supports his constituents' objections to the development.
He said: "I will shortly be meeting the Planning Minster to highlight residents' concerns and to discuss Cheshire East's local plan.
"I want to seek advice on how councillors can get our local five year housing supply signed off as soon as possible, so that we aren't constantly held hostage by opportunistic developers wanting to build large estates."
Family fun at fire station
Crewe Chronicle: Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson visited the Crewe Fire Station family fun day with his youngest daughter Lydia.
The event helped to raise awareness of its services. Fire prevention featured heavily, as well as demonstrations of rescuing people from buildings, cutting people from cars, bomb disposal, and a firefighter's fitness test.
Mr Timpson said: "It was great to be able to take my youngest on a fun day out like this, and for her and me to learn more about the important services provided by the firefighters in Crewe and Nantwich. Simply by buying and fitting smoke alarms you could help save your home and the lives of your family."
5 ways to contact Edward Timpson
- By email: email@example.com
- On the web: edwardtimpsonmp.com
- By phone: 01270 501 725
- By post: 30 Victoria Street, Crewe CW1 2JE
- In person: Click here to see surgery times