Policy PG 2: Settlement Hierarchy

Principal Towns

In the Principal Towns of Crewe and Macclesfield, significant development will be encouraged to support their revitalisation, recognising their roles as the most important settlements in the borough. Development will maximise the use of existing infrastructure and resources to allow jobs, homes and other facilities to be located close to each other and accessible by public transport.

Key Service Centres

In the Key Service Centres, development of a scale, location and nature that recognises and reinforces the distinctiveness of each individual town will be supported to maintain their vitality and viability. The Key Service Centres are Alsager, Congleton, Handforth, Knutsford, Middlewich, Nantwich, Poynton, Sandbach and Wilmslow.

Local Service Centres

In the Local Service Centres, small scale development to meet needs and priorities will be supported where they contribute to the creation and maintenance of sustainable communities. The Local Service Centres are Alderley Edge, Audlem, Bollington, Bunbury, Chelford, Disley, Goostrey, Haslington, Holmes Chapel, Mobberley, Prestbury, Shavington and Wrenbury.

Other Settlements and Rural Areas

In the interests of sustainable development and the maintenance of local services, growth and investment in the other settlements should be confined to proportionate development at a scale commensurate with the function and character of the settlement and confined to locations well related to the existing built-up extent of the settlement. It may be appropriate for local needs to be met within larger settlements, dependent on location.


8.32 The Determining the Settlement Hierarchy paper considered existing settlements in Cheshire East and set out the structure and definition of the settlement hierarchy. This approach has been tested at various consultation stages in the development of the Local Plan Strategy.

8.33 Locating the majority of new development needs in, on the edge of, or close to the borough’s Principal Towns and Key Service Centres will enable the maximum use of existing infrastructure and resources and allow homes, jobs and other facilities to be located close to each other. This has the potential to reduce the amount of people reliant on travel by car and can support existing public transport modes. The Principal Towns and Key Service Centres also have the greatest potential to generate economic growth.

8.34 In Local Service Centres and other settlements and rural areas, the Local Plan Strategy approach is to support an appropriate level of small scale development that reflects the function and character of individual villages. Small scale growth may be appropriate where it supports the creation of stronger local communities and where a clear need exists, which is not more appropriately met in a larger nearby settlement. Development will be restricted to locations well related to the built-up extent of these settlements. The identification of such sites will achieved through the allocation of suitable sites and / or the designation of settlement boundaries addressed as part of the Site Allocations and Development Policies Development Plan Document and / or in Neighbourhood Plans, where these come forward. In the case of Goostrey which adjoins Holmes Chapel, a larger Local Service Centre, it is anticipated that development needs will largely be provided for in Holmes Chapel.

8.35 The Local Plan Strategy also includes the North Cheshire Growth Village at Handforth. This new village will be designed to the highest environmental standards, acting as best practice examples for future design and construction. It will embody sustainable development principles including: High quality amenities including shops, schools and sports facilities A network of green open spaces, parks and gardens Employment opportunities close at hand Renewable on-site energy production capable of supplying heat and power to every home where appropriate User-friendly public transport systems, encouraging people to use buses, cycles and walkways Efficient recycling and waste management

8.36 The National Planning Policy Framework states 'the supply of new homes can sometimes be best achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or extensions to existing villages and towns that follow the principles of Garden Cities. Working with the support of their communities, local planning authorities should consider whether such opportunities provide the best way of achieving sustainable development. In doing so, they should consider whether it is appropriate to establish Green Belt around or adjoining any such new development'.

8.37 The Local Plan Strategy also includes Other Local Plan Strategy Sites at Wardle Employment Improvement Area and Alderley Park Opportunity Site. At Alderley Park Opportunity Site, residential development may come forward where it is demonstrated to be necessary for the delivery of the life science park, in accordance with Local Plan Strategy Site LPS 61.

Key Evidence

  1. Determining the Settlement Hierarchy

Policy information


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