East Chiltington - home signs
East Chiltington? - never heard of it

the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles

Dear Residents, I too share your concerns

Editor:- June 29, 2021 - At the weekend residents of East Chiltington on the mailing list of Lewes MP Maria Caulfield received a letter about the Eton College plans.

click to enlarge - letter re Eton vs East Chiltington to residents from MP Maria CaulfieldAmong other things Maria Caulfield says...

"I have been working with local campaigners and am supporting them in the fight."

...read the letter

Editor's comments:- Maria Caulfield confirmed her strong opposition to the Eton scheme at the outset 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 facebook 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.

You can see what Maria Caulfield did say in her materially significant letter by clicking 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 planning 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.
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