Whilst the row over the planning permission given to Mullers for Canalside Yard rumbles on, the developers did at least start their work by knocking down the old garage on Shropshire Street, perhaps the one part of the project that might attract widespread support.
This week's Parish Council meeting heard critical comments from a local resident over the way Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council had approved the development. Plans had not been made available even on the day before the planning meeting in December. Indeed, at that stage, the Muller development was not even on the agenda. Yet next day it was being considered and passed despite a lamentable lack of public consulation, said the resident. He felt the Borough Council had been railroaded, like the people of Audlem. The chairman of the Building Control Committee (the planning committee) and the planning officer, Alan Millington, should be asked to come to the village to explain publicly why they approved such controversial plans.
Local Borough councillor, Rachel Bailey, who is also deputy chairman of the Building Control Committee, responded by saying that issues like this were difficult for councillors, whether Parish, Borough or County, as the rules and policies come down from central Government who want planning decisions taken quickly. She felt the Canalside Yard development, the last important site in Audlem, had been rushed through. Unfortunately, in planning law and policy, there were no grounds to refuse permission to Mr Muller. It is hoped, Rachel Bailey added, that new guidelines will mean that a planning officer must be available to explain more fully any planning application.
The Parish Council said at the meeting that they had still not seen a full set of plans and that the only indication of the building material was the vague phrase 'local brick'. One Parish Councillor gave a lengthy list of so-called 'local bricks' so no-one is any the wiser as to what the development will look like.
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