I wanted to update you in respect of the proposal to build new homes in part of Reddish Vale Country Park, a proposal which was opposed by myself and the Reddish Labour Councillors as it was going through the planning process. Despite the overwhelming number of objections sent to the Stockport planning committee, the decision to approve the scheme was nevertheless made.
Since then, residents have sought to have the decision judicially reviewed, which I fully support.
This week, local residents and users of Reddish Vale Country Park have notified me that tree felling has commenced on the site. I have asked Stockport Council why, and this was their response to me:
- “A license has been issued to Countryside properties to allow them to carry out a full independent ecological assessment, and then to remove any potential nesting sites, before the main nesting season starts. Although this is in preparation for the proposed development, it does not require separate planning approval or the issuing of the planning approval for the proposed development. Relevant Executive Cllrs and the ward Cllrs are fully aware of this work.
- The sale of this open space is currently subject to public consultation, prior to a decision by the Executive. This public consultation, or pending decision, does not however preclude the Council, as landowner, from permitting the works previously described.
- Finally, to be clear, it is the planning approval (which has not yet been made) which is the subject of the recent application for a Judicial Review.”
Clearly, Stockport Council’s response is totally unacceptable to me, and I know a number of local residents are urgently exploring taking an injunction out to prevent any felling of more trees until the judicial review into the planning application has been heard.
Even should the judge uphold the planning permission, before any building can begin there must also be public consultation to approve the removal of the land from both the curtilage of the Country Park and from the Greater Manchester Green Belt, the latter which must also be approved by the Secretary of State. So there’s still a very long way to go.
I will keep you updated, but please be assured of my continued opposition to the destruction of our Country Park, which serves both Stockport and Tameside residents alike.