17 October 2018

Councillor’s Corner 18/19 No 7a

Pitmen supporter and HTFCSA committee member Paul Woodhead is a Cannock Chase District Councillor for Hednesford. You will see him around the ground most match days, usually as Pitman Pete and in the Strikers Bar after the game where you can talk to him about any matters or issues of concern.

In these articles I want to bring the role of the councillor alive to you and ensure I am accountable to you as the elected representative for the ward in which the football club resides. I will highlight some of the things I get involved with and the decisions the council makes on your behalf. I will be available after most home games for a general conversation and we can arrange a private discussion should that be appropriate. Alternatively you can contact me by phone on 07930 120077 or by email paul.woodhead@greenparty.org.uk

Last Thursday residents of Hednesford were asked to approve or decline the Neighbourhood Plan for the town. With a very low turnout of just 1,477 residents against 13,490 eligible votes the plan was approved by just 6.71% of the population of our community.

Although I do not agree and did not promote the Neighbourhood Plan as I feel that whilst there are some good elements to the plan it lacks vision, ambition and sustainability for our community. I did receive a number of queries from residents which probably reflects why we had such a low turnout. Three issues arose, firstly people didn’t understand what they were voting for, secondly the only document available from the Town Council was 115 pages long and difficult to digest and finally the Council did not engage to give residents any summary information or leaflets about the plan.

This document now sits alongside the National Planning Policy Framework, Cannock Chase District Council Local Plan (currently being re-written) and supplementary planning documents. This will need to be considered by developers who want to build in the town.

From this very large document the policies distil down to 3 pages with 14 statements covering the Town Centre (7), Open Spaces (1), the Built Environment (2), Rights of Way (1), Housing (2) and Employment (1). The full document is available through the Hednesford Town council website.