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Following a meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee of Wrecsam Council on 23rd March 2009, members of the public who attended the meeting were so affected by the proceedings that they convened a meeting themselves to discuss what they had witnessed.
At the scrutiny committee meeting the West Cheshire/North East Wales sub-regional strategy was being discussed. The strategy itself ( adopted by Wrecsam, Flintshire and Denbighshire councils in 2006) aims in essence to merge North East Wales economically and demographically with Cheshire and Merseyside. Members of the public were extremely worried about the strategy which to date has never been discussed openly in public. Further, the way in which the strategy has increasingly become a statutory planning policy without any scrutiny has alarmed those members of the public who have knowledge of the strategy. At the scrutiny committee meeting, members of the public and their opinions were brushed aside by Council officers and further belittled by the councils leaders! The council voted AGAINST reviewing the Mersey Dee Alliance (the organisation set up to implement the sub-regional strategy).
Following the scrutiny committee meeting, a public meeting was held and the whole issue of the sub-regional strategy and the defensive nature of the council regarding these plans was discussed.
As regards the sub-regional strategy the conclusion reached was that basically the strategy was aimed at the expansion of Cheshire and Merseyside into North East Wales. That in a nut shell the expansion of Cheshire and Merseyside is limited due to building restrictions and a desire to preserve their green belt. In Wales there is no green belt and the strategists identify North Wales as the answer to their expansion limitations.
The expansion programme ignores the National Border and at numerous points within the plans acknowledges that Welsh identity will be lost and that this is caused by in migration from the North West of England. In essence North East Wales is to cater for the housing market of the North West of England, becoming a dormitory area for English lifestyle change.
The plans are social engineering and should never have been allowed to be implemented. However, they have already been adopted, and in North East Wales virtually every single planning decision is affected by it. The plans have not been scrutinised apart from the Executive Board at a council level (Members of the executive board are also members of the Mersey Dee Alliance) and in general the way that the plans have been pushed through has been thoroughly undemocratic and thoroughly secret.
For this reason members of the public formed the People’s Council for North Wales with a view to:
a) Inform the people of North Wales about the West Cheshire/ North East Wales sub-regional strategy.
b) Campaign against the sub-regional strategy.
c) Become a non political voice for the people of North Wales .
d) Challenge the culture of undemocratic, unethical and discriminatory behaviour within our local government.
e) Support, promote and to include ordinary people into the Welsh Assembly’s vision for Wales, as outlined in the One Wales document.
f) Provide alternative developmental plans that reflect local people’s needs and local people’s aspirations.
g) Preserve and ehance our environment, communities and Welsh identity.
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