Town Strategies Frequently Asked Questions

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These frequently asked questions were issued for the first round of Town Strategies for Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich and Sandbach.

What is a Town Strategy?

The Town Strategies are being prepared by the local community with support from Cheshire East Council to set out the vision and strategy for the future development of the town over the next 20 years. The Strategies consider how new development can help to deliver the Vision for the  town, how the environment is to be enhanced and what improvements to infrastructure, such as schools, are needed.

The Town Strategies are being prepared to enable local people to have a greater say in planning the future of their town and to make sure that local issues and concerns are taken into account as the Local Plan is prepared.

Who has prepared the Town Strategies?

The Town Strategies have been prepared by Cheshire East Council in partnership with an Advisory Stakeholder Panel for each town.

The Panel members were selected by the relevant Town Council to represent a wide cross section of the community and business interests in each town. They were drawn from Town and Parish Councils, Town Partnerships, business and community organisations.

How have the Town Strategies been prepared?

The Advisory Stakeholder Panels attended three workshops with an independent facilitator to develop the Vision, Strategy, Development Options and Infrastructure Priorities for their town. Cheshire East Council provided support in drafting the Town Strategies. The Town Strategy documents were then agreed by the individual Panels and Town Councils.

Are the Town Strategies part of the Local Plan?

The Town Strategies have been prepared as part of the community engagement on the Cheshire East Local Plan. They will form part of the evidence base for the new Local Plan alongside other evidence such as housing, employment, transport, environmental and town centre studies. The Council will use the Town Strategies to help to develop the overall strategy for the Borough and the site specific policies and proposals for each town that will be included in the Local Plan.

How were the Development Options selected?

These are areas identified by the Advisory Stakeholder Panels during their workshop sessions as having potential for development to deliver the Vision for their towns.

Have the sites and areas identified as being Development Options been fully assessed?

No, further work will be carried out over the next few months to fully assess their suitability for development.

Does Cheshire East Council support the sites that have been selected?

No decision has been taken about whether any sites shown as Development Options are to be allocated in the Local Plan. The sites and areas have been identified by the Advisory Stakeholder Panels as potential development options. Your views are sought on their suitability.

Can I suggest a new site for inclusion in the Town Strategy?

Yes, it is possible to provide information on new, or alternative, sites and areas that could offer potential for development.

These can be sent by email to ldfconsultation@cheshireeast.gov.uk or by post to Spatial Planning, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ.

How will infrastructure be provided?

Infrastructure will be provided through monies raised from Section 106 Agreements, private development, grant funding, through infrastructure providers and, in the future, through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a levy that Local Authorities can choose to charge on new developments in their area, to provide infrastructure such as roads, schools and open space.

The questionnaire gives you the opportunity to identify the infrastructure that you think is most important for your town.

Will the Town Strategies have weight in the decision making process for planning applications?

The Town Strategies will have limited weight as they are not part of the Development Plan, but they will be a material consideration.

How were the housing numbers determined?

The Council set out a range of options for future housing and employment growth for each town in the Core Strategy Issues and Options Paper (November 2010). The Panel in each town considered their vision for the future of the town and selected a level of growth that they considered would deliver the vision, taking into account the opportunities for development and the environmental constraints. Each town looked at how to provide sustainable growth that would revitalise the local economy and help to provide the housing needs of the local area.

Why do we need to plan for growth?

The Government have stated that ‘Britain has lost ground in the world’s economy, and needs to catch up. If we do not act now, jobs will be lost, our country will become poorer and we will find it difficult to afford the public services we all want. If we do not wake up to the world around us, our standard of living will fall, not rise’.

We want to plan to deliver sustainable growth throughout Cheshire East. We need to revitalise the economy and to replace the jobs lost in many towns over the last ten years or so. Providing new homes in the right places is also vital to attract and retain our workforce and young people.

The numbers of people wanting to live in Cheshire East is growing due to:

  • increased birth rates;
  • more people living longer and staying in their own homes longer;
  • an increased number of people living alone and in smaller households; and
  • more people choosing to move into Cheshire East than moving out.

Through the new Plan we want to make sure new development is well designed and helps to improve the appearance of our towns. We also want to make sure that new development has little or no impact on the environment, with the most energy efficient buildings being built. Through the new Plan the Council will make sure that new facilities such as schools, parks, transport and water supplies are provided.

Will there be Town Strategies for the other towns and villages within Cheshire East?

The towns of Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich and Sandbach have been selected as part of an exciting Government project to pilot an innovative approach to involving local communities in the planning process.

Town Strategies will also be prepared for the towns of Crewe, Macclesfield, Handforth, Knutsford, Nantwich, Poynton and Wilmslow.

Parish Councils elsewhere have been asked to think about whether there are any new developments they would like to see in their villages included in the Local Plan for example small scale housing schemes including affordable homes, new open spaces or community facilities.

How can I comment on the Town Strategies?

  • A questionnaire can be completed online using our consultation portal
  • A paper copy of the questionnaire can be completed and returned
  • in the marked box at libraries in Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich and Sandbach
  • by hand to the Council offices at Sandbach
  • by post to: Freepost RSRX-YYYE-AYRS, Spatial Planning, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Middlewich Road, SANDBACH, CW11 1HZ

When can I comment on the Town Strategies?

The consultation period for the Town Strategies is from 2nd March to 2nd April 2012.

What happens to my comments?

A summary of the comments received will be made available on the Council’s website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan.

Where appropriate, amendments will be made to the Town Strategies in light of comments made.

What happens next?

The documents will be amended and updated following the public consultation. The document will then be agreed by each Town Council and put on the Council’s website.

How can I contact the Spatial Planning Team?

You can contact the Spatial Planning Team by:

  • Email: ldfconsultation@cheshireeast.gov.uk
  • Telephone: 01270 685893
  • Post: Spatial Planning, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ

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