Protest group steps up road campaign

Residents gathered in the field where the relief road could be built to demonstrate their anger at the lack of public consultation over the project. Photo: Mark Williamson

DESPERATE last-minute moves are being made to have a crucial part of the Stratford district’s long-awaited planning core strategy looked at all over again.

The issue centres on plans for a £30 million “relief” road being proposed as part of the scheme for a 3,500-home development on Long Marston Airfield.

Residents in the village of Luddington who’ll be affected by the road claim that the full impact of the project has only recently become apparent and that the consultation process has been deeply flawed.

They’re so angry that they’ve swiftly formed a protest group called Stratford Residents’ Action Group (SRAG) and are asking the government planning inspector overseeing Stratford District Council’s core strategy, Peter Drew, to re-open his inquiry.

And they’re being backed by Stratford district councillor Molly Giles (Cons, Shottery), a barrister, who’s lodged a five-page formal objection to Mr Drew about the way local residents have been “shut out” of the consultation process.

In her submission to Mr Drew, Cllr Giles says it is clear from the consultation in August 2015 concerning the road there was no resident comment whatsoever.

“As can now be seen, that is not because the objection does not exist,” writes Cllr Giles. “It is clear, whether or not the correct consultation procedures are said to have been followed, there has clearly been a systems failure which has meant that parish and residents have been deprived of their opportunity to properly and fully object at the relevant time.”

Cllr Giles says this is “a significant and serious issue” given the importance of the proposal and the likelihood of it to “substantially interfere” with the personal and private lives of particular residents.

In reference to particular residents who face having “a large raised road” near them, Cllr Giles writes: “It is inconceivable that these householders were not given specific and direct notification of the implications of the scheme.”

Full story in this week’s Herald.