JOURNALIST and military historian Sir Max Hastings has called on Cheshire residents to stand up for local democracy in the face of increasing centralisation of decision-making affecting the county.
Speaking at the recent AGM of Cheshire's Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), national president Sir Hastings said all it takes for our countryside to disappear under steel and concrete is for people to stand by and do nothing.
Sir Hastings pointed out that CPRE's work to protect the countryside and regenerate urban areas hinges on local democracy, and attacked the 'the scandal of the abolition of county powers', and their reallocation to central Government and unelected regional assemblies.
Referring to the Green Belt, pioneered by CPRE 50 years ago, he said: 'This is not our wildest or most remote landscape, but our charm. It is the countryside next door, a great British invention and the envy of other countries who have suffered appalling sprawl.'
Yet he warned that the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan and initiatives such as the Northern Way in the North West present a threat to Green Belt.
For more information about Cheshire's Campaign to Protect Rural England, phone the branch office on 01606 835046, or visit www.cprecheshire.org.uk.