Chancing it in Cheshire: Queen concretes over 'her' green belt

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Apr 2 22:22:11 BST 2013

The Queen 'is holding us to ransom', say villagers
Fury at Duchy of Lancaster's plans to build 4,000 homes on green belt
Paul Gallagher - Sunday 31 March 2013
In the red corner there are revolting villagers. 
In the blue corner, Her Majesty the Queen. At 
stake is a corner of England's green and pleasant 
land that the former want preserved and the 
latter is proposing to build more than 4,000 homes on.
The Duchy of Lancaster estate, which manages 
royal lands, has submitted plans to build two 
villages together with an industrial site on land 
it owns near Crewe in Cheshire. The proposals 
include building on nearly 700 acres of 
green-belt land. The plans come as the Campaign 
to Protect Rural England warned the countryside 
faces devastation with the new National Planning 
Policy Framework (NPPF) coming into force. Around 
80,000 houses are being proposed in green belts, according to the CPRE.
The duchy submitted the plans to Cheshire East 
Council, and, if approved, construction will 
begin in 2015. The duchy provides private income for the Queen.
The scheme has provoked a citizens' revolt in the 
nearby village of Barthomley, pictured above. 
Locals say the proposals will destroy their way 
of life. Two neighbouring councils have also 
objected to the plans, saying they will harm 
businesses and regeneration in their area, and 
Edward Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich, has 
come out in support of opponents.
Barthomley residents have already accused the 
duchy of submitting its latest plans at the last 
minute to prevent them from objecting. The duchy 
argues its plans will support jobs, deliver new 
homes and provide "opportunities for green 
infrastructure" and "enhanced access to the countryside".
The duchy also said the plans will "contribute 
vital land required for the upgrading of the A500 
to junction 16 of the M6". Until recently, 
Cheshire East has used compulsory purchase orders 
to buy land to extend the A500, but the duchy is 
exempt. Campaigners argue the Queen's estate is 
exerting its influence by offering land in 
exchange for vast areas of green belt for 
building. The deal will be worth hundreds of 
millions of pounds. According to its submission 
it proposes building on 700 acres of green belt 
land "west of the M6 but north of the A500 
this landscape makes a limited contribution".
New rules require council planners to be in 
favour of "sustainable development" when making 
decisions. The Queen received £12.9m from the 
duchy towards her private income in the last 
financial year, a drop from £13.3m in the 
previous 12-month period. The Crewe estate is worth almost £63m.
At the end of the last financial year, the Duchy 
of Lancaster had more than £400m in net assets. 
It is one of two royal duchies in England, the 
other being the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides 
Prince Charles with his private income.
Tom Wilde, chair of the Barthomley Action Group, 
told The IoS: "The duchy is holding the local 
authority to ransom on this with the council very 
clear in their ambition to widen the road. 
Planning such huge developments should not be 
done on a quid pro quo basis like this. The 
building of the new villages will destroy 
hundreds of acres of the green belt and will be 
devastating for our village." The group is 
seeking to raise £10,000 in donations for a legal 
advice fighting fund to oppose duchy moves.
Sir Andrew Motion, chairman of the CPRE, said 
last week the new planning rules will "wreck the 
countryside". He said: "Developing greenfield 
sites unnecessarily and with inadequate local 
consultation is the wrong way to make sure that 
we get the new homes the country so badly needs."
Roughly 13 per cent of England's land area is 
designated as green belt, covering more than 1.6 
million hectares. The CPRE is urging people to 
write to their MPs as it campaigns to prevent a "building free-for-all".
The National Trust's chairman, Sir Simon Jenkins, 
said last week only designated national parks 
will enjoy "full safeguarding" and that the new 
planning laws had resulted in "pandemonium". He 
added: "This is upending brownfield first in favour of greenfield first."
Ruth Rosenau, a Stoke-on-Trent city councillor, 
said: "We do not feel there is justification to 
build at this location. We are also opposed to a 
significant amount of office space being 
created." Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council is 
also negotiating with Cheshire East Council after 
objecting to the duchy's plans because it says local businesses will be harmed.
A Duchy of Lancaster spokeswoman said: "Major 
change is always unsettling and, while we 
understand the views expressed by those affected, 
the duchy has a responsibility and the 
opportunity to make a substantial contribution to 
the aspirations of the elected council and 
believes that it must consider the housing and 
employment needs of the wider society. The 
planning consultation is in its initial stages 
and the question of any sale of land has not been addressed as yet."
A spokesman for Cheshire East Council said the plans were being considered.

Duchy names Clarke's successor
13 Mar 2013, 10:31
The Duchy of Lancaster has named Forth Ports 
property director Nathan Thompson as its new chief executive.
Thompson trained as a chartered surveyor and has 
25 years' experience in senior roles: at MEPC, 
where he ran their central London business; as a 
director of JER Partners, a US private equity 
fund; and latterly as managing director of the 
property division of Forth Ports and a member of the group management board.
He will also assume the role of Clerk of the 
Duchy Council, the Duchy's decision-making body, 
which is chaired by Lord Shuttleworth, a former 
Abbey National director who is currently chairman 
of trustees of the Abbey National Group Pension 
Funds and Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.
The Duchy said Thompson will begin touring the 
Duchy's various properties and estates in May and 
officially take up his role on 1 August 2013.
He will replace, Paul Clarke, who spent nearly 13 
years at the helm. Clarke said: "I've thoroughly 
enjoyed my time at the Duchy of Lancaster and am 
pleased to leave it in Nathan's very capable 
hands. I know everyone at the Duchy will wish him 
the best of luck as he begins his new role, which 
I know from experience, can be challenging as well as incredibly rewarding.
"I'm also very pleased that despite recent trends 
in the broader property market, I leave with the 
Duchy in a healthy and robust shape and with lots 
of exciting opportunities ahead of it."
Thompson said: "I am delighted to be given the 
opportunity to be part of this historic and 
prestigious organisation. The Duchy of Lancaster 
has an impressive and diverse portfolio of assets 
as well as a strong team. I am very much looking 
forward to working with them and all those involved with the Duchy."
The Duchy of Lancaster is a private portfolio of 
land, property and assets across the UK held for 
the Sovereign in Right of His or Her Duchy of 
Lancaster. The Duke of Lancaster is a hereditary 
title, which the King or Queen of the day holds.
Founded in the 13th century, the Duchy of 
Lancaster is a private portfolio of land, 
property and assets held for the Sovereign in 
Right of His or Her Duchy of Lancaster. Today, 
The Duchy of Lancaster is custodian of 46,200 
acres across England and Wales, including key 
urban developments, historic buildings, farm land 
and areas of natural beauty. The estate includes 
11,500 acres in Lancashire and 4,900 acres in Cheshire.
The Queen is entitled to the income from the 
Duchy estate, but not the capital or any capital 
gains which must be preserved for future Dukes of Lancaster.

The End Of Britain
ad. Find Out Why The Looming Crisis Could Mean The End Of Britain!
+44 (0)7786 952037
Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list