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Petitions

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 23 March 2010

Planning (Chester)

I am grateful for the opportunity to present a public petition, which is signed by a large number of my constituents in the City of Chester who object to Cheshire West and Chester council’s lack of public consultation with local people on the decision to sell county hall and move the council offices to the new headquarters building. The petition was collected by a constituent of mine, Reg Barritt. It states:

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House refer our petition to the relevant Select Committee for Communities and Local Government or other body as you deem appropriate requesting that the body review the effectiveness of the said legislation and guidance concerned with the duty to involve provided by this House with reference to the way local authorities are interpreting and operating that legislation and guidance in the public interest and with regard to our legislated rights.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Humble Petition of the people of Chester in the County of Cheshire being electors of the Local Authority of Cheshire West and Chester,

Sheweth, that in the process of our new Local Authority of Cheshire West and Chester planning the disposal of its Chester County Hall in a restricted preferential sale to Chester University, and of making a costly move of its Chester headquarters, on a leasehold agreement, to the new so called ‘HQ Building' beside Chester racecourse, the local community has found itself excluded throughout from any meaningful consultation over the plan with Council; and has additionally been denied essential information prior to the completion of the scheme, and subsequent to it, that we are certain we should have been entitled to know.

Sheweth, that this failure by our local authority to consult with its people over this planning matter is in conflict with the legislative requirements and advisory guidance issued by Parliament in the form of, for example, the publication ‘Communities in Control-real people, real power', and the ‘Action for Empowerment' and ‘Duty to Involve' white papers stating a statutory duty for all councils to engage fully and from an early stage with the public over such matters; and that this behaviour towards its public by Cheshire West and Chester Council is, in addition, in conflict with its own published ‘Statement of Community Involvement' and the operative interim and draft forms of its ‘Sustainable Community Strategy'.

Sheweth, in addition the validity of this most respectful submission by dutifully reminding this House of the relevance of and of the UK's commitment as a full signatory to the ‘European Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision Making, and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters'; this generally being known as ‘The Arhus Agreement'.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House refer our petition to the relevant Select Committee for Communities and Local Government or other body as you deem appropriate requesting that the body review the effectiveness of the said legislation and guidance concerned with the duty to involve provided by this House with reference to the way local authorities are interpreting and operating that legislation and guidance in the public interest and with regard to our legislated rights.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.]

[P000766]

Wind Farms (Mid Wales)

This petition is on a serious issue relating to the development of wind farms. The question of the merits of wind farms is for another time, but through the petition I seek to draw the House’s attention to the transportation of thousands of loads by heavy good vehicles through rural mid-Wales, which has not been thought out and will cause all kinds of upset, disruption and perhaps even difficulty for the emergency services.

The petition states:

The Humble Petition of Robert A Robinson,

Sheweth, that the Communities of Mid Wales (in particular Welshpool, Newtown, Guilsfield and Montgomery) are deeply concerned about the effect of the transportation of materials for the building of wind farms in Mid Wales and in particular the effects on the towns mentioned over a sustained period.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will call upon the Government to ensure that a public inquiry into this matter is held before any wind farm development is approved or allowed to take place.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

[P000774]

Financial Assistance Scheme

I have the honour to present this petition about the many pensioners—hundreds, if not more—in my constituency who are affected by the matter raised. The petition states:

The Petition of residents of the constituency of Stone in Staffordshire,

Declares that pensioners who have lost all or a greater part of the pension due to failed occupational pension schemes have not been properly compensated by the Government under the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) due to the failure of pensions regulation, as proven by the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the High Court; that at the very least the Government must provide 90% compensation, which is not eroded by regulations and current FAS failings; that indexation should fully reflect that provided by original schemes; that backdating should be to scheme Normal Retirement Age and not an arbitrary May 2004 cut-off date; that a higher tax-free cash limit should be provided, irrespective of scheme asset share, to be paid on request; that access on early retirement is made irrespective of ill health (with an actuarial adjustment); that recognises the pre-retirement scheme revaluation basis; that has the provision of meaningful benefit projections; that recognises the harmful effects of the earnings cap on long-serving members.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to ensure those pensioners are properly compensated 90% or more of the true value of their pension through immediate amendment of the Financial Assistance Scheme.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000771]

Power Station (Blythe Park)

The second petition that I have the honour to present relates to the proposal for a gas-fired power station at Blythe Park in my constituency. The petition has well over 1,000 names and is a substantial and controversial issue in my constituency.

The petition, the wording of which I strongly support, states:

The Petition of residents of Creswell and the surrounding areas in Staffordshire regarding the Blythe Park gas-fired power station proposal,

Declares that the Petitioners recognise that the gas-fired power station is completely out of character with the area; the pollution created will be deposited across in and around an area of outstanding beauty; this site has historic and ongoing issues with toxic waste, and any major development will unsettle this waste leading to serious health concerns for the local community; the infrastructure leading to the site is wholly inadequate; the development will have disastrous consequences for local wildlife; following development, the community and surrounding areas will be blighted by significant noise and light pollution; the proposed site for the development is a known flood plain; Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council have already made it officially clear that they completely object to these proposals; and the power source is non-sustainable, costly and not environmentally friendly.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to launch a public inquiry into the proposed Blythe Bridge power station proposal and take further steps to prevent this project from going any further.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

[P000773]