THE WAR of words over Gaydon and Lighthorne Heath (GLH) continues to rumble on after council chiefs opted to delay a decision on a planning document for the proposed new settlement.
The draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for GLH is a council document prepared with Jaguar Land Rover, the Commercial Estates Group and the Bird Group.
It was expected to be sent for public consultation at a recent meeting but after coming in for a barrage of criticism, Stratford District Council’s Cabinet decided to delay the document.
Despite being made available electronically a week in advance of the meeting, a hold up in producing printed copies meant many Cabinet members did not have chance to fully read the document beforehand.
And in addition to the printing delay, criticism came from Gaydon Parish Council chairwoman, Annette Conway, and Harbury district councillor, Chris Kettle, who claimed insufficient consultation had been carried out with ward members, parish councils and the public.
Laura Steele, chairwoman of FORSE – the protest group set up to fight the GLH plans – was also disappointed by the council’s lack of consultation.
She said: “As a community we have been excluded from meetings between stakeholders, we have not been consulted in any meaningful way and we have been fobbed off by a PR company who did not appear to be masters of their own subject.
“We were heartened by a seemingly sensible decision from SDC in deferring any endorsement of the GLH Masterplan but this document does not simply require ‘tinkering’ with, it needs ripping up and starting again.”
A district council spokeswoman insisted parish councils and ward members had been involved through a workshop and a community exhibition prior to the document being produced.
And Coun Saint himself said The Cabinet had supported residents by giving them the opportunity to now influence the GLH Masterplan before it went out to public consultation.
Coun Saint will be setting up meetings to consider the document ahead of it being discussed at a special meeting of The Cabinet on December 15.
* THE PUBLIC examination of the council’s Core Strategy is due to start next January.
The key planning document, which includes the GLH proposals, was submitted by Stratford District Council at the end of September.
Leader Chris Saint revealed Peter Drew QC, who has been selected to act as the Government’s Planning Inspector, is expected to begin the examination at the council’s Elizabeth House HQ on January 6.