STONE residents fighting plans plans for more than 30 homes on the edge of a rural beauty spot fear they are not being given a fair opportunity to object.
An amended plan for homes on land south of Nicholls Lane and east of Airdale Spinney has been submitted to Stafford Borough Council by developer Seddons after its initial proposals were recommended for refusal.
But David Bryant, one Airdale Spinney resident fighting the plans, has likened the changes to “a pig with lipstick on”, saying the resubmission is the same as the first plan but with “a veneer of change.”
The maximum number of houses has been reduced by just one, he said, but road safety issues caused by a potential increase in traffic using the “extremely dangerous” Nicholls Lane and Longton Road junction remained.
He added that the borough council had given Seddons and Indigo, the planning firm working alongside the applicant, a minimum of three weeks to revise their application but residents were getting just nine days to comment as letters had not arrived until February 4.
Today is the closing date.
“This is not a level playing field. The borough council is shortcircuiting their own procedure,” Mr Bryant said. “The council planning department keeps moving the goalposts at the eleventh hour and there are now many extremely angry local residents.”
But a Stafford Borough Council spokesman said there was no legal requirement for the council to consult residents on revised plans, although it was its policy to do so.
Letters sent out to neighbours were dated January 31 - the day details were also posted on the council website - effectively giving 14 days to comment.
More than 90 objections were received by the council to the original proposal, including a letter from Stone MP Bill Cash.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has objected to the revised plan as it adjoins the Moddershall Valley Conservation Area and would intrude on the openness of the green belt.
But Indigo has said it has addressed the borough council’s concerns about the impact on the conservation area and the nearby Hayes Mill, a Grade II listed building.