16th July 2013

This is an important week ahead for Alcester. The CLA Game Fair is coming to Ragley this weekend. It is the largest moveable fair of its kind in the world and indications are the weather will be fine. It should be a fantastic time out. Obviously there will be a number of visitors to Alcester from the fair and transport has been arranged to and from the town in the evenings. I am sure the hostelries will do good business. The planning of such an event is amazing. Take just the traffic. Signs spread out many miles away from town, updated via radio every few minutes from a central control station guide visitors to the best entrance and parking area. Little if anything is left to chance. The organisers have allocated a stand to the Town Council, Court Leet and Chamber of Trade for the duration so that the town can be publicised. Estimates vary but many millions of pounds are thought to come into the local economy from events such as this. Ragley is a favourite venue with the organisers due to its easy access so we hope to see them again in the future.

No date has yet been set for the next hearing of the Alimore lane planning application. As I previously mentioned, we felt that undue pressure was being exerted on the councillors on the committee and the facts, as we see them, were not being taken fully into account. This will be an interesting meeting, when it happens, and I urge everyone to attend. However the good news is that the new core strategy has been published at last. This is quite a full and detailed document but I recommend reading it as it lays out what future development holds for the district, and of course Alcester, for the next 15 years. We must ensure that any comments are submitted within the due time period as we do not want to hold up final acceptance. When accepted it will be given the full weight it needs to prevent unacceptable development in and around our town.

Proving the point, in a recent appeal by Shipston the inspector mentioned the emerging core strategy but it was not materially considered as it had not then been published. As it moves through the process it ‘gains weight’ and more account is taken, for example, during an appeal. I feel frustrated that other excellent housing schemes have been submitted yet all we are seeing here are plans for high density housing inappropriate to the area. Another concern I have is potential future development to service the estimated 2000 + people the new housing may bring over the next few years. Perhaps an out of town supermarket would now be viable? This would be catastrophic to the town centre so we need to be vigilant. Another area we need to put pressure on the District Council is with regards to community facilities. We are informed that we already have enough, but the Greig Hall is closed and we are expecting many more people! How they come to that conclusion escapes me. Yet another battle ahead.

However, ending on a high note, the weather is set fair, the grass is not growing too fast meaning more time to enjoy the garden, Murray won Wimbledon and the lads won the first test against the Aussies in the cricket. Finally, this coming weekend should be one to remember. I do hope you are enjoying the summer.