The draft local plan is open for comments now, and you have until midnight 26th February 2013 to read, digest and comment. It takes a while to read and respond, so don’t put it off! There are also three other related documents open to read and respond to: Emerging Policy Principles Document, the Sustainability Appraisal and the Habitats Regulations Assessment.
It’s really important that everyone comments, and for those of us who want to cycle, or cycle more, or want our children to cycle, or want to encourage others to cycle (whether for fun, fitness, general health, or to reduce congestion) we need to scrutinise the documents for aspects that would help or hinder this. The last draft plan was very vague, mentioning ‘encouraging cycling’ but with no clear description of how this would be achieved. So please look at the wording, and if there are no details, you may like to suggest some concrete ideas (such as x number of cycle racks installed at y location and z location by 2014, or cycle/pedestrian bridge at x location by 2015, or all able-bodied schoolchildren resident in towns to travel to school by bus/cycle/walking, or all developers of housing/commercial estates to prioritise cycling/walking routes with provision of light-controlled crossings and … and…). No doubt you will think of plenty of ideas.
How to comment
If you are not already registered, you will have to do this on Cheshire East’s site, but it’s simple enough. Then log in, choose the top document in the list (Shaping Our Future: A Development Strategy for Jobs and Sustainable Communities), click on it, then click on the blue bar stating ‘read and comment on document’ or just click on this link to Shaping Our Future to get to the same place. The page tells you how to comment, and on the left-hand side of the page are all the sections of the plan to click on.
Warning – don’t accidentally submit too soon
You can comment online on each section as you read it (use the ‘add comments’ tab), but be sure to ’save’ rather than ‘submit’. If you submit, you lose the chance to comment on the rest of the document. To avoid this mistake, it’s a good idea to download the file onto your computer, then use a word processor to write a full response to the whole document using the same order as the items in the draft, and then copy and paste the text into the ‘your views’ section at the end of the document.
Protect Congleton – meeting
Protect Congleton – Civic Society is holding an evening meeting on 7th Feb to discuss their response and listen to other views. If you do attend, it would be worth looking at the plan in advance so you can contribute fully. Or you can email them with comments instead.