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Paddock sale causes clash between parish council and Cranage residents
AN ongoing dispute over the sale of a paddock has created a gulf between residents and Cranage Parish Council – and the gap is set to get even wider.
On September 3, more than 30 residents attended the Cranage Parish Council meeting to hear the latest on the proposal to sell a paddock on Middlewich Road.
It was revealed at the meeting that the council will be discussing the sale of the land for affordable housing in an upcoming agenda – despite an overwhelming no vote from residents.
Peter Wild, a resident who attended the meeting, said: “There were calls from the residents for ‘a vote of no confidence’ and ‘what is the procedure for removing this parish council?’ “
Clr John Irlam ignores all the dissent that he creates around him as he ploughs ever onwards, a bit like the Titanic heading towards the iceberg of disaster.
“He seems to forget that he is to carry out the wishes of the residents and not to follow his own agenda.”
Out of 420 questionnaires sent out to residents in April, 212 returned a ‘no sale’ vote as opposed to just 37 residents who supported the sale.
In 1782, the paddock was given to residents of Cranage for the income to benefit the poor, and since 1894, it has been administered by the parish council on residents’ behalf.
In 2006, Cranage Parish Council obtained possessory title to the land.
The prospect of selling the paddock first came up at a meeting in June 2012 and since then, it has been the subject of heated debate at subsequent council meetings.
Despite the views of the majority and objections from councillors, Clr Irlam told the Guardian the matter of the paddock’s sale will be up for discussion again at the next meeting of the parish council.
Clr Irlam added: “I am in favour of a scheme to build affordable houses on the land at Middlewich Road which would help young people to get on the property ladder. In addition it would raise a good deal of revenue to spend in the community of Cranage.”
He added that his views on the matter were his own and not those of other members of the council and must be judged thus.
Mr Wild said: “This is the parish council’s opportunity to do right by the community they are supposed to serve by rejecting this development once and for all. If they do not, the parish council, or at least those supporting this discredited scheme, will lose any vestige of respect they may still have.”
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