Revised Local Plan Strategy consultation begins

March 3, 2016

The front cover of the Local Plan Strategy Proposed Changes (Consultation Draft)Cheshire East Council is holding a six-week consultation on its revised Local Plan Strategy – to allow the public to have their say.

The finalised blueprint will shape development across the Borough up to 2030.

The consultation will run from March 4 to April 19 2016, and follows the plan’s approval by full Council on Friday, February 26.

The focus will be on the changes the Council now proposes to the plan it originally submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2014. This includes additional and amended strategic site allocations.

A significant amount of detailed research and evidence has been gathered to inform the amended document and this round of consultation seeks to capture the views of the public on the changes made.

The Council is then due to submit the Local Plan Strategy, with any amendments, to the Planning Inspector in the summer (2016).

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cabinet member in charge of the Local PlanCouncillor Ainsley Arnold, who is now overseeing the Local Plan process, said: “The Local Plan Strategy is the Council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East up to 2030.

“The very positive views expressed by the Planning Inspector have enabled the Council to make amendments to our Local Plan with confidence and publish these for public consultation. This includes a comprehensive suite of development sites to accommodate the larger scale of growth now expected and planned for in the Borough.

“The Inspector has confirmed that he is content with the Council’s proposed arrangements for public consultation on the proposed changes to the submitted plan.

“Following a period of full consultation during the next six weeks, further examination hearings are expected to be held in early autumn.

“There has been a tremendous response from residents and other stakeholders during nine previous rounds of public consultations on our Local Plan proposals.

“To date, we have received more than 40,000 responses to our draft Local Plan. This is an unprecedented amount of interest in a council consultation process and I hope this additional period of consultation will allow everyone to feel they have had time and opportunity to have their say.

“This must be one of the most-consulted on Local Plans in the country. However, given the changes made and the significance of the plan, it is only fit and proper that people are given a full opportunity to reflect on this document and give their views.”

The updated evidence completed during the suspension of the Inspector’s examination necessitated revisions to the main strategic policies relating to housing, economic growth, development and green belt. The wording of policies was amended to reflect the outcome of the new evidence. The key points included:

  • Revisions to reflect a revised housing requirement of 36,000 homes (up from 27,500 and now including accommodation for older people);  -
  • Increased employment land requirement, up from 300 hectares to 380ha, to reflect the stronger anticipated jobs growth rate of 0.7 per cent per annum (up from the original anticipated rate of 0.4 per cent);
  • Revised spatial distribution of development, incorporating both the uplift in overall development and the need for additional growth in the northern towns;
  • Increase in the amount of safeguarded land within green-belt areas to 200ha;
  • Replacement of the new green belt between Crewe and Nantwich with a revised strategic green-gap policy.

These revisions were endorsed by the Council’s strategic planning board and Cabinet before being voted through by full Council on February 26.

To register your views on the Local Plan Strategy Proposed Changes, and see the Local Plan documents suite, visit the Cheshire East Local Plan page.

Alternatively, you can fill in a comment form at your local library, Cheshire East Council’s headquarters in Sandbach or customer service points at Macclesfield Town Hall and the Municipal Buildings in Crewe.