Open Letter to the People of Congleton.
Two years ago I sold up hearth and home in order to escape the urban (and indeed urbane!) sprawl of Stockport to seek a more rural and tranquil life in a more rural setting; Only after much deliberation which involved visiting, and researching many of the traditional 'silk' and historic market towns of South Cheshire, North Shropshire and North Staffordshire did I eventually decide to re-locate to Congleton.
Despite being the ubiquitous 'in comer' I have found people of this town for the most part at least to be warm and friendly folk with a ready wit and charm who have made me very welcome though I only fully expect to 'fit in' after 20 years or so! (ain`t that the way?)
We are all now only too aware of the threat facing what is in essence a medieval town with it`s dare I say equally quirky and matching medieval street and road system bringing the countryside almost to the centre of the burgh, an infrastructure I believe to be fairly unique.
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Cameron`s policy as well as that of his Liberal (also rans) government partners are fast turning what were once pretty and quintessentially typical Cheshire market towns into veritable 'Gold Rush' country for greedy land owners and opportune 'get rich quick', predatory developers who seem Hell bent on concreting over as many green bits asap!
I have yet to be convinced that by issuing this veritable 'Developer`s Charter' it will somehow miraculously kick start an ailing economy? There is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever to suggest that such a policy works and you only have to look at parts of Ireland who tried a similar thing at the height of the previous recession, where now whole housing estates lie empty and derelict in direct testament to the folly of such thinking, what`s more all this at a time when successful mortgage applications are down 13% on the last fiscal year and the trend is set to continue!
I find it difficult to comprehend that I as a mere newcomer can feel so desperately passionate about the defence of my home whilst long time residents, many born and bred here remain so apathetic to the towns plight? This veritable onslaught of uncontrolled, developer led degradation of the special character of the town as well as the systematic destruction of the surrounding countryside that goes with it will impact upon daily life for us all.
I have attended several meetings organised by various action groups opposing the haphazard and almost random building proposals with which the council have been inundated and have been shocked at the relatively low turnout of townsfolk?
Excuses range from "the weather was bad dear.." or "well it was snooker night wasn`t it?.." or "the footy was on.." or "how can it possibly affect me anyway?.." or perhaps YOU simply just don`t care?
Well I`m sorry good people of Congleton it`s time to awaken from your comfortable and false sense of security, YOUR town and YOUR quality of life and that of YOUR children are at stake here!
This issue involves each and every one of us and efforts are being made to unite the various groups such as Congleton Residents Against Seddon Homes (CRASH), Stoney Lane Action Team (SLATE) etc. in a effort to present a more unified and coordinated opposition to these ill founded, ineptly managed and downright ludicrous schemes.
A mass meeting of concerned residents is being held at Congleton town hall at pm on the evening of 17th of October in order to discuss various aspects and consequences of such developments together with suggestions and strategies for tackling the same, remember this is YOUR opportunity to demonstrate YOUR solidarity with YOUR friends and neighbours on some very serious issues which will affect our daily lives, we need as many people as possible to attend so please, please, please I implore you all let`s take ownership of OUR town.
"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." Edmund Burke.
Gary R Craigan
aka 'Outraged of Cheshire'