Policy PG 7: Spatial Distribution of Development
- The Principal Towns are expected to accommodate development as shown:
- Crewe: in the order of 65 hectares of employment land and 7,700 new homes;
- Macclesfield: in the order of 20 hectares of employment land and 4,250 new homes;
- The Key Service Centres are expected to accommodate development as shown:
- Alsager: in the order of 40 hectares of employment land and 2,000 new homes;
- Congleton: in the order of 24 hectares of employment land and 4,150 new homes;
- Handforth: in the order of 22 hectares of employment land and 2,200 new homes;
- Knutsford: in the order of 15 hectares of employment land and 950 new homes;
- Middlewich: in the order of 75 hectares of employment land and 1,950 new homes;
- Nantwich: in the order of 3 hectares of employment land and 2,050 new homes;
- Poynton: in the order of 10 hectares of employment land and 650 new homes;
- Sandbach: in the order of 20 hectares of employment land and 2,750 new homes;
- Wilmslow: in the order of 10 hectares of employment land and 900 new homes;
- The Local Service Centres are expected to accommodate in the order of 7 hectares of employment land and 3,500 new homes.
- The Other Settlements and Rural Areas are expected to accommodate in the order of 69 hectares of employment land (figure including the 61 hectare Employment Improvement Area at Wardle) and 2,950 new homes (including Alderley Park).
The distribution of development between the various towns of the borough is informed by the Spatial Distribution Update Report. This has taken into account the following considerations:
- Settlement Hierarchy
- Various consultation stages including the Town Strategies, Development Strategy and Emerging Policy Principles
- Green Belt designations
- Known development opportunities including the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment
- Infrastructure capacity
- Environmental constraints
- Broad sustainable distribution of development requirements
8.75 The distribution also takes into account the core planning principles set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, which states that planning should take account of the varied roles and character of different areas, and actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling and focus significant development in locations that are or can be made sustainable.
8.76 Settlement boundaries for each of the settlements in Policy PG 7 are as 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, and are as amended by the sites detailed in this Local Plan Strategy document. Further amendments to settlement boundaries will be undertaken through the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document.
8.77 Cheshire East is a high quality place to live and work. The Local Plan Strategy seeks to manage change over the plan period to make sure that it reinforces the advantages the area already possesses, in a sustainable way. Table 8.4 presents an indicative distribution for the levels of the settlement hierarchy in the borough. The figure for Local Service Centres will be further disaggregated in the Site Allocations and Development Policies DPD and / or Neighbourhood Plans.
Table 8.4 Indicative Distribution of Development
|New Homes Total 2010 to 2030
|New Homes Average each year footnote 36
|Employment Land Total 2020 to 2030
|Employment Land Average each year
|Key Service Centres
|Handforth (including North Cheshire Growth Village)
|Local Service Centres
|Other Settlements and Rural Areas (including Wardle Improvement Area)
8.78 Appendix A provides further detail about the distribution of development in Cheshire East. It should be noted that the actual levels of employment land and housing development shown in Policy PG 7 are below the numbers proposed in the Spatial Distribution of Development Policy. This is to provide flexibility and to allow for a proportion of slippage, such as developments occurring after the plan period, or for sites coming forward at lower densities than currently expected.
8.79 The Housing Development Study suggests that, on the basis of migration, travel to work and other data, Cheshire East is an appropriate geography for planning purposes over which to assess and meet housing requirements and comprises two functional housing sub-market areas: one is focused on the former Macclesfield district and exhibits strong interactions with Greater Manchester market; the second is focused on the former Crewe & Nantwich district and Congleton districts, and has noticeable market interactions with North Staffordshire and Greater Manchester.
8.80 The council recognises the importance of Green Belt in the borough in terms of its function and the original reasons for its allocation. The Green Belt in the north of the Borough is drawn tightly around existing settlements. Additionally, the north of the borough is under pressure from development spreading out from the Greater Manchester conurbation. Despite this there remains an identified need in the north of the borough for both market and affordable housing to meet the Macclesfield functional housing market area and also to deliver employment land in the borough. The Local Plan Strategy therefore has allocated a small number of sites concentrated in particular areas to minimise the impact on the Green Belt.
8.81 The approach of the Local Plan Strategy has been to focus development in the Principal Towns of Crewe and Macclesfield, delivering the aspirations set out in 'All Change for Crewe' and meeting the housing market and employment requirements of Macclesfield, whilst limiting the impact on the Green Belt.
8.82 It is also appropriate to direct a significant proportion of development to the remaining higher-order centres (the Key Service Centres), which provide a good range of services and opportunities for employment, retail and education alongside good public transport links. New development in the Key Service Centres will help to sustain services and facilities in these settlements and assist in improving the vitality and viability of their retail centres against a backdrop of an ageing population and increased competition from out-of-town and online retailing. In the Key Service Centres, an appropriate level of new employment provision is planned, in order to allow for employment growth to meet local needs and reduce the need to travel.
8.83 Outside of the Green Belt areas, substantial development in the Key Service Centres recognises the role of these towns in the provision of essential services. For Key Service Centres surrounded by Green Belt, the scale of development proposed is limited so that the fundamental objectives of the Green Belt are not compromised whilst meeting an appropriate proportion of locally-arising needs. This is essential to provide new affordable housing and new jobs and to sustain services and facilities in the settlements.
8.84 The focus of development around Key Service Centres that are not surrounded by Green Belt has been to encourage future inward investment and sustain the vitality and vibrancy of those towns. Development in towns such as Congleton will result in additional investment, both in infrastructure and services, including the delivery of the Congleton Link Road, which will provide for additional land for development and investment into the town.
8.85 The North Cheshire Growth Village at Handforth East will:
- Provide access to services and employment opportunities located in Manchester
- Provide access to services and facilities in Handforth
- Effectively meet a significant proportion of the needs of the northern Green Belt towns, due to its closeness to a number of settlements
- Provide the funding to support the delivery of infrastructure improvements required to support the economic growth of Cheshire East
- Reduce the impact of the release of Green Belt on existing communities
- Allow the council to reflect the opinions of the local communities within the north of the borough who wish to see the general extent of the Green Belt around existing settlements to be maintained
- Maximise opportunities for beneficial development, due to the limited number of physical constraints to the site
- Determining the Settlement Hierarchy
- Housing Development Study
- Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment
- ‘Made’ Neighbourhood Plans including Sandbach, Audlem, Brereton and Bunbury
(Footnote 36) Annual averages have been rounded to the nearest whole number
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