Policy PG 6: Open countryside

  1. The Open Countryside is defined as the area outside of any settlement with a defined settlement boundary footnote 34.
  2. Within the Open Countryside only development that is essential for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, outdoor recreation, public infrastructure, essential works undertaken by public service authorities or statutory undertakers, or for other uses appropriate to a rural area will be permitted.
  3. Exceptions may be made:
    1. where there is the opportunity for limited infilling in villages; the infill of a small gap with one or two dwellings in an otherwise built up frontage elsewhere; affordable housing, in accordance with the criteria contained in Policy SC 6 ‘Rural Exceptions Housing for Local Needs’ or where the dwelling is exceptional in design and sustainable development terms;
    2. for the re-use of existing rural buildings where the building is permanent, substantial and would not require extensive alteration, rebuilding or extension
    3. for the replacement of existing buildings (including dwellings) by new buildings not materially larger than the buildings they replace;
    4. for extensions to existing dwellings where the extension is not disproportionate to the original dwelling;
    5. for development that is essential for the expansion or redevelopment of an existing business;
    6. For development that is essential for the conservation and enhancement of a heritage asset.
  4. The retention of gaps between settlements is important, in order to maintain the definition and separation of existing communities and the individual characters of such settlements.
  5. The acceptability of such development will be subject to compliance with all other relevant policies in the Local Plan. In this regard, particular attention should be paid to design and landscape character so the appearance and distinctiveness of the Cheshire East countryside is preserved and enhanced.

Provision of sufficient areas of open space to the south and east of Hollyhedge Farmhouse to maintain its open rural setting;Provision of a substantial landscaped edge to the south/south east of the development parcel immediately to the south of the railway line (on the opposite side of Main Road to Hollyhedge Farm).  This should combine a mix of copse and individual tree planting contained by a new native hedgerow.  At the point nearest Hollyhedge Farm in the south eastern corner, a copse should be created.  It should include woodland planting on the western edge of the parcel, tying in with the woodland buffer of the Basford East site; Provision of open space and appropriate parkland landscaping alongside the access/drive and to the south of Crewe Hall Farmhouse and associated barnProvision of an area of greenspace to the east of Stowford hamlet, retaining the existing pond, trees and other positive planting as a key space within the development; 


8.66 The Cheshire countryside is highly valued by residents, visitors and businesses alike. From the sandstone ridge, across the Cheshire Plain and up to the Peak District Fringe, the borough's countryside is cherished for its scenic, recreational, aesthetic and productive qualities. Much of the land is fertile and Cheshire East is a vital area for food production. It is the preservation of the countryside that is the key objective of this policy. 

8.67 The Open Countryside comprises that part of the Local Plan area outside of identified settlements. Development in the Open Countryside will normally be unacceptable unless it can be shown to be essential to local needs and the rural economy and cannot be accommodated within existing settlements.

8.68 As part of this policy, the gaps between settlements will be protected from inappropriate development, to make sure that the existing communities retain their separation and definition, along with their individual character, whilst the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside will be recognised and protected.

8.69 The spatial extent of Open Countryside is defined as the area outside of any settlement with a defined settlement boundary. Settlement boundaries are defined in the saved policies of the Borough of Crewe and Nantwich Replacement Local Plan, Congleton Borough Local Plan First Review and the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan; settlement boundaries will remain unchanged apart from where specific sites are proposed within this document (except safeguarded land), until detailed boundaries are established through the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document and / or Neighbourhood Plans. Table 8.3 shows settlements with a defined settlement boundary and any amendments to these settlement boundaries associated with the allocation of sites in this Local Plan Strategy.

Table 8.3 Settlements with a Defined Settlement Boundary (can be viewed in the Local Plan Strategy (PDF, 26.0MB) document)

8.70 For clarification, the Open Countryside policy will also apply to areas designated as safeguarded land in policy PG 4.

8.71 The National Planning Policy Framework recognises that there will be cases where exceptions can be made to countryside policies, including 'the exceptional quality or innovative design of the dwelling'. Criteria for meeting this test are set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.

Key Evidence

  1. Determining the Settlement Hierarchy
  2. New Green Belt and Strategic Open Gaps Study

(Footnote 34) Settlement boundaries will be reviewed and defined through the production of the Site Allocations and Development Policies DPD and neighbourhood plans. Until then, the spatial extent of settlement boundaries are those defined in the saved policies and proposals maps of the existing local plans for Crewe and Nantwich, Macclesfield and Congleton and amended to include sites detailed in this Local Plan Strategy, except safeguarded land. Table 8.3 shows settlements with a boundary defined in the saved policies and proposals maps of the existing local plans and where these are amended by sites detailed in this Local Plan Strategy.

Policy information


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