Dear Residents, I too share your concernsEditor:- June 29, 2021 - At
the weekend residents of East Chiltington on the mailing list of Lewes MP
received a letter about the Eton College plans.
other things Maria Caulfield says...
"I have been working with
local campaigners and am supporting them in the fight."
Editor's comments:- Maria Caulfield confirmed her
strong opposition to the Eton scheme at the
of the public awareness timeline but it was unclear to me what powers to
stop hostile developments - even an MP has - in the current planning framework
- because they are not part of the local plan making or planning decision making
process - despite having the power to "call in" exceptionally
questionable decisions for external scrutiny.
So although it has been
good for morale to know that Maria has been on "our side" and it's
been impressive to hear how many meetings she's had with resident stakeholder
groups - it was only with her recent active engagements on the
pages of Don't Urbanise the Downs - that some new messaging began to emerge
- hinting at the possibility that there might be more that could be done
from the MP toolbox angle to put the brakes on the Eton plan.
can see what Maria Caulfield did say in her materially significant letter by
here. (I've redacted the addressee.)
Editor's follow up comments:-
The distorted shape of democratic influences in the current planning system
gives more power to small groups like developers and planners than residents.
Add to this a widely held assumption of pro-developer bias by
planners who are not compelled to recuse themselves from making decisions
about the very projects to which they have given pre-planning advice - in
effect marking their own homework - and you can't help but marvel that residents
who are opposed to hostile plans don't just give up - because the
consultation processes are so complicated and give the appearance that
objection votes don't count..
The current planning system is flawed
and its outcomes unpredictable. But when so many people in the local community
are concerned by these decisions and working to influence the outcome - this is
real democracy at work.