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Residents' association threatens to turn against Tory councillors over local plan

Grace Witherden

Grace Witherden

Residents ' association threatens to turn against Tory councillors over  local plan

A residents' association has said it will actively campaign against the re-election of all Conservative councillors if the next stage of the Borough Local Plan is agreed at a council meeting on Monday.

In an email sent to Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), leader of the council, and forwarded to conservative councillors, Dr Barrie Mair, on behalf of the Fisheries Residents Association (FRA), urged the leader to withdraw the plan for further consultation.

The BLP is a planning blueprint which will run retrospectively from 2013 to 2032 and unites development policy for a range of areas, including housing, retail, employment and leisure.

A target of building 13,528 homes has been set, the equivalent of 712 per year, which comes from the council’s Objectively Assessed Need, determined by a Strategic Housing Market Assessment.

The email states the FRA was ‘disturbed’ not to have been consulted as a group in the Regulation 18 consultation, which took place over Christmas.

It states: “Should you and some of your colleagues continue with the pressure being applied to your Conservative team at Monday evening's meeting, which results in the current BLP being voted through, my organisation (together with many others representing a large proportion of the Conservative-minded electorate) will actively campaign against the re-election of all Conservative councillors in the May 2019 local elections.

“This is not because we disagree with them, or the way in which they wish to represent the views of their constituents, but because of the way in which their hand is being forced over critical decisions.”

Earlier this week a petition was set up urging councillors to vote against the plan, which now has more than 1,300 signatures.

In response, Cllr Dudley said: "They opposed Oldfield Primary School as well. We should all work together to improve our communities and help provide desperately needed housing. I'm in politics to also help people who cannot rely on the bank of mum and dad. That's a big bank in the Fisheries."

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