I have received a postcard reminding me of the upcoming exhibition; I expect that every household in Caddington should have received the same notification.
Considering the placement in a rural setting, the vehicle storage site was always going to pose a conundrum when it reached the end of its useful life in its current form. The original planning permission was explicitly for vehicle storage, so the site remains green belt and a good case needs to be established to allow development. Conversely, a large concrete car park is probably what most people would consider a brownfield site and hence more suitable for development than virgin green land.
There are also serious concerns surrounding traffic levels along Chaul End Road and the impact of increasing them further. However, as there are undoubtedly existing problems even before the use of the site is altered, is this perhaps an opportunity to deliver positive changes which might relieve some of the pressure?
It is not appropriate for me to declare as either "for" or "against" Chaulington*, and it is important to note that final proposals and detail are a long way from being locked in. General Motors and their advisors could easily have gone directly to the principle planning authority, ignoring the local community, and pushed for high density development based on general housing need in the South-East of England. I am glad that they eschewed such a bully-boy approach and instead have engaged with the community via the Neighbourhood Plan team, local CBC councillors and, of course, public events open to all.
Whether you are for, against or undecided, I would encourage as many people as possible to attend the exhibition this coming weekend. Engage with the planners, seek explanations and communicate any concerns and, hopefully, the way forward will be an outcome of which General Motors can be proud and Caddington residents regard as more gain than loss.
* I don't think anyone particularly cares for the name "Chaulington", it is just a useful working title. If any of you are feeling creative, please make your suggestions known!