Thursday, July 24, 2008


Residents concerns grow over Seighford Airfield plans

While I was pleased to hear that at last nights Borough Council’s Development Control Meeting the committee had agreed with the Planning Officers recommendation that enforcement action should be taken against the company who are running the driving experience centre on Seighford airfield, I was disappointed they had decided to give them six months to comply with the order.

Unfortunately, as I have relatives that live in Seighford, I had to declare an interest in the item and left the meeting while the matter was discussed.

The development of the driving centre at Seighford has certainly met with plenty of opposition from residents not only in Seighford itself, but also from Ranton, Great Bridgeford and the surrounding rural areas.

A couple of months ago a planning application for a major development of the site which included amongst other items a couple of race tracks and a reception, office, and entertainment building, was withdrawn after the Planning Officers recommended that the plan should be refused. However the company had not only been using the airfield for some time without planning permission but have also made some minor alterations to enhance their business on the site. In an attempt to regularise the situation they applied for retrospective planning permission a few weeks before the major application which was also refused. However unperturbed they have carried on using the site – hence the enforcement action.

Speaking to a local resident after the meeting it is clear the objectors were not only annoyed that the major planning application was withdrawn before it could be formally refused but are also extremely worried that a new application will now be submitted which will attempt to answer all the concerns raised by the officers.

The resident also questioned why the Committee were allowing the Company six months to cease using the airfield, especially as there was little effort needed to return the site to its original condition. He told me that apparently the firm had taken booking for the next six months and the Planning Committee had felt they should be allowed to honour those before closing down. I have to say he wasn’t very pleased with this and he was going away to speak to some of the other objectors about what they could do next.

I have a feeling we will be hearing much more about this issue in the coming weeks!


Haughton Shop Set To Expand

At a time when hundreds of village stores across the Country are closing it is good to hear that the shop in Haughton is bucking the trend and is expanding.

For some time the Village Grocer shop in the centre of the village has been empty and Mel and Giles Cotterill, who run the Post Office and shop next door, have seen the opportunity and have arranged to take on the lease as long as the two shops were knocked into one.

This work has now largely been carried out and it is only a matter of time before the temporary wall is taken down and the new larger shop is opened.

Since taking over the village post office and shop Mel and Giles have developed the business to provide a much needed and valued service not only for Haughton, but also for the surrounding communities of Bradley, Church Eaton and Ranton. And now that the shop and Post Office in Derrington has closed many people from that village also use the shop in Haughton.

Mel and Giles hardwork has certainly paid off and this expansion is just the next logical step in the development of their business which proves that small village shops can survive and prosper in a world dominated by large supermarkets.

If you have not visited the shop in Haughton you really don’t know what you’ve missed. Although the sign above the door says "Haughton News" the shop is already established as an all round village store which sells everything from groceries to tubes of glue as well as all the normal goods you would expect to find in a newsagents!

Local shops and Post Offices rely on local people to stay in business, and as a regular user I know how lost I would be without the shop being in the village. The message is clear – use it or loose it! Congratulations Mel and Giles on having the foresight, business acumen, and courage to expand your shop and ensure this much needed facility is available for local residents.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Mad Dogs and Englishmen

By-elections always bring out the fringe parties and the one in Common Ward is no exception. While the seat left vacant by the untimely death of John Kennedy is being fought the four main stream parties – Lib Dems, Labour, Conservative and the Greens – the English Parliamentary Party as found its way onto the ballot paper.

It’s rather interesting if you put this name into Google as included in the results are a collection of more extreme right wing parties. It’s also interesting to read what other sites have to say about the organisation, which appears to have its national headquarters in rented office space in Stafford.

One site I found was called Berrocscir's Banner ( which under the title "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" wrote:

"I see that one of the waifs & strays of English nationalism, Parish Cllr Paul Gilbert, of the phantom England's Parliamentary Party is standing in a local by-election for Stafford Common ward on July 10th. I suppose it's part of being English that we get mavericks like this going it alone, and I wish him well, but if patriot political activists were really serious about their identity they'd throw their lot in with either the EDP or FEP. Still, having the word 'England' on the ballot paper is something I suppose."

Need I say more!

Friday, July 4, 2008


David Cameron - all spin and no substance!

One of the main speakers at the LGA conference was David Cameron. Once again I sat and listened to what I can only describe as more spin than substance. While he was extremely fluent and came across as a likeable character but what did he actually say?

He made all the right noises on the relationship between Central and Local Government, regional quangos, and the family, points which were rigorously applauded by the Tory Councillors who were in the hall, however when he was asked difficult question he just pushed them aside.

One questioner, who was obviously not a member of David's party asked, given the experience in her area, whether the Conservatives were actually electable! Rather than answer the question David thanked her for reading out a press release and said he was sure her local newspaper would make a story of it.

As you might expect as we left the hall the Tories were saying what a wonderful leader he was and what a great prime minister he would make in a couple of years time. However over a cup of coffee a little later in the day I asked a Conservative Councillor I know from a Shropshire Authority what he thought was the main point David had made in his speech and I got the same cheesy smile and yet another Conservative none answer!

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