Spatial Planning Update

This page provides regular updates on planning policy matters affecting Cheshire East, including:

  • Progress on the council's Local Plan
  • Other research, guidance and projects carried out by the council's Spatial Planning Team, and
  • Neighbourhood planning activity taking place across the borough.

September / October 2017 bulletin

Welcome to the ninth edition of Spatial Planning Update, keeping you informed about planning policy matters in the borough.

If you need any further information or explanation, please feel free to get in touch.  Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.

In this edition:

Local Plan Strategy

Adopted on 27 July 2017, the final, adopted Local Plan Strategy is now available on our website.

The August edition of the update highlighted that a legal challenge had been made against the adoption of the Local Plan Strategy by Muller Strategic Projects Ltd. Muller Properties claim, in summary, that the council failed to take into account the issue relating to incorrect air quality data when adopting the LPS . The legal challenge process is ongoing and there is nothing more to report at the moment. Papers have been submitted to the court by Muller and by the council and we are currently seeking to establish what the next steps will be and the timing.

The council remains firm in its position that the incorrect air quality data would not have resulted in any changes to the LPS  - that the content of the LPS would be no different. The lodging of a legal challenge does not change the legal status of the LPS and it continues to be the starting point a fully applied in deciding planning applications. It provides the strategic planning context for the preparation of neighbourhood plans.

Site Allocations and Development Policies Document 

The council is continuing work on the preparation of the SADPD with public consultation on a first draft anticipated in the first half of 2018.

A range of studies and other work streams are underway and we will have the draft output from most of them by the end of the year to enable the first draft of the SADPD to be prepared. This includes addressing the individual development requirements of Local Service Centres and, where further site allocations need to be made, the assessment of site options through the council’s site selection methodology to gauge their availability, suitability and achievability.

As noted in the last update, we remain committed to fully engage local councils in the preparation of the SADPD . We are keen to have further informal discussions with town and parish councils to discuss some of the issues that arise from the initial findings of our evidence work, particularly with those local councils covering Local Service Centres and those currently preparing neighbourhood plans. That said we would, of course, be happy to meet with any local council should they wish to. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything you would like to ask us or discuss with us.

Minerals and Waste Development Plan Document

Work continues on the  MWDPD  which is the third part of the council’s Local Plan.  The MWDPD will contain any site allocations or area designations necessary to make sure that the requirements for meeting appropriate minerals and waste needs in the borough are met for the plan period to 2030.  It is being prepared within the context of the strategic priorities and policies set out by the LPS .

The council has prepared a Report of Consultation (PDF, 1.1 MB) that summarises the main responses received on the Issues Paper that was published earlier in the year.

Work has started on assessing the sites submitted as part of the ‘call for Minerals and Waste sites’ exercise which was undertaken in parallel with the Issues Paper consultation. An up-to-date Local Aggregate Assessment is expected to be published in the coming months which, alongside a refreshed Waste Needs Assessment, will inform the Council’s approach to key mineral and waste policy development.

Further information is available on our Minerals and Waste page.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The  CIL  is a charge that the council can make on certain new developments to raise funds to invest in infrastructure in the borough. 

A six weeks public consultation on the Draft Charging Schedule commenced on Monday 25 September and will conclude on Monday 6 November.

Following this consultation, the next steps would normally be to consider the responses received and submit the Draft Charging Schedule for public examination. However we are expecting the government to make an announcement about the future of CIL as part of its budget statement on Wednesday 22 November. The council will need to consider whether it proceeds with submitting the Draft Charging Schedule for examination, particularly if radical reforms to CIL are proposed by the government. If the council does move forward with CIL , it is anticipated that it could be adopted in the first half of 2018.

Secretary of State backs Local Plan in planning appeal

The Secretary of State has dismissed a major planning appeal involving up to 900 homes because it conflicted with Local Plan policies. The contested scheme on the former Gorsty Hill golf course was for a major residential-led mixed use development.

In his decision letter dated 10 October 2017, the Secretary of State gave ‘significant weight’ to the policies of the council’s adopted Local Plan for the protection of the countryside. He also found that, through the Local Plan, the council was able to demonstrate a five year supply of deliverable housing land.

In an appeal decision two days later, on 12 October, it was found by an Inspector that settlement boundaries and policies relevant to the supply of housing were not out of date. In dismissing the appeal proposal for residential development on the edge of the village of Aston, the Inspector gave significant weight to Local Plan policy that sought to protect the countryside.

Neighbourhood planning

There’s great news for communities as the government confirms £22.8million funding over the period 2018-22 for groups preparing neighbourhood plans. This means that if you’ve not claimed your funding yet, or are just starting out, then finance will be available to support your plan making.

We’ve currently two plans under examination, Somerford and also Hulme Walfield and Somerford Booths. Stapeley has recently completed its examination. Four plans are heading toward referendum - Weston and Basford (16 November), Buerton (23 November), Willaston and Wistaston (both 7 December). Bollington have recently submitted their regulation 15 draft plan to the council for public consultation, and Congleton and Handforth are currently consulting on their regulation 14 draft plans; and we’re looking forward to receiving more submissions shortly.

If you’re preparing a neighbourhood plan and need advice or support then please do get in touch with our team or ‘drop-in’ to one of our weekly Wednesday meetings. Please visit our neighbourhood planning page for more details on the support we can offer and neighbourhood plans across Cheshire East.

Royal London Development Framework approved

The Royal London Campus at Wilmslow is a significant existing employment site, home to a number of companies. It encompasses a variety of buildings in a wooded setting. The site covered by the Development Framework is part of the wider site LPS 54, which was removed from the Green Belt upon adoption of the Local Plan Strategy on 27 July 2017. Following a decision by the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, public consultation on the draft Framework took place from Friday 23 June to Friday 4 August 2017, including a drop-in event on 4 July at Wilmslow Leisure Centre.

The draft document was updated in light of comments received during the consultation and on 10 October 2017, Cheshire East’s Cabinet endorsed the revised Royal London Development Framework to help guide future planning applications for development within the site. The revised Royal London Development Framework can be found on the Planning Guidance and Development Briefs page on our website.

Further information

For further information on any of the items in this bulletin, please contact the Spatial Planning Team by email at localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk or by telephone on 01270 685893.