It’s official: No one, and I mean no one, has any idea why we must have 36,000 new houses in Cheshire East in the next 12 years.

Based on previous population growth figures we shall need around 9,000.

It would require a massive explosion in population to make sense of such a huge increase in housing stock and that’s not going to happen.

It’s a subject I have covered extensively in my column over the past few months. I’ve challenged our council leader to explain it numerous times without any response. If members of her cabinet have an answer they aren’t sharing it. Neither are our local MPs rushing to justify this inexplicable land grab.

So here we are after numerous public consultations, neighbourhood plans, public protest and bitter disputes standing by as CEC doles out planning consent for a mind-boggling number of homes no one can justify other than it’s a directive from central government.

Presumably if ‘central government’ ordered Cheshire East to construct a hyena sanctuary their only question would be ‘spotted or striped?’ What was the point in all those public consultations if central government planned to dictate the outcome? Or is that just a convenient get-out to tell local residents?

If ever there was a time for opposition parties to show their metal and oppose this stupidity it is now. Communities right across the borough are incensed beyond words and yet Tory councillors are mindlessly following the party line like politburo underlings.

God knows what the Labour Party is doing. I’ve seen more fight at a jumble sale. As for the Lib Dems I’m not sure they still exist.

Knutsford alone is to be saddled with 960 new homes that would require a 20 per cent increase in population for which no one can offer any sensible explanation.

Cheshire East is literally tearing up greenbelt and destroying communities with no idea why they are doing it other than it’s a directive from Westminster.

Meanwhile opposition parties argue about logos and exercise themselves over dog poo.

This madcap compulsion to build houses for a population explosion we don’t have has the hallmark inept political dogma. The perpetrators and beneficiaries will, of course, be long gone when residents are struggling with the consequences. Can we see some REAL fight in the council chamber before it becomes a reality?

Remember we have an election in 2019 by which time residents will know who they want in office and who to send to that hyena sanctuary.


I’m currently reading the history of Parkside Hospital in Macclesfield. In its day it was one of the UK’s pre-eminent psychiatric facilities.

Parkside pioneered many new treatments of mental illness with dozens of occupational therapy programmes and could accommodate up to 1,400 patients.

Numerous changes in government policy deprived the hospital of funds and in 1997 under the guise of ‘care in the community’ the hospital was sold to a developer who convert the site into prestige homes. Closing Parkside Hospital was a race to the bottom with one explanation after another used to cut mental health services.

Now the Millbrook Unit, (touted as the ‘modern’ replacement for Parkside) and the last remaining local adult mental health facility, is under threat of closure.

The proposal is to send patients to Bowmere Hospital in Chester.

The ‘explanation’ being offered is that the highly regarded Millbrook Unit is ‘no longer fit for purpose’ as it is 25 years old. If that were true three quarters of the hospitals in England would close their doors tomorrow.

This is but one more justification for slashing mental health facilities that has seen a once proud hospital caring for the needs of up to 1,400 patients eroded to zero.

Were this The Christie Hospital caring for cancer patients no politician would dare consider closure but this is mental health, always an easy touch and the line of least resistance for budget cuts.

Only problem after this is there will be nothing left to cut. The entire in-house care of the mentally ill conveniently shipped off to another borough…job done. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when politicians reduce facilities to ‘improve’ care.


Cheshire East Council is urging dog owners to ‘get a grip’ and ensure their dogs do not harm livestock. I have photos of the numerous sheep attacks we have suffered over the past few lambing seasons and they are horrific.

Look, it’s not that difficult to work out. Dogs that chase birds, cats and rabbits will eventually chase anything that runs.

It’s a very small step for a dog that chases squirrels in the back garden to pursue sheep.

Remember farmers can and will shoot loose dogs chasing livestock.

There is no need for the dog to attack to cause death a ewe in panic will miscarry. It’s the chasing that does the damage.

Apart from a human fatality the worrying of livestock is one of the most horrific events anyone could witness. Owners whose dogs have been responsible for such acts are usually distraught but it can and should be avoided.

You can teach your dog not to chase as we do in our training classes, or you can keep him on a lead in the vicinity of livestock, but above all you must have control.

If your dog will not come back to you immediately on command every time he’s not under control.

Don’t take risk...the horror will live with you forever.