Policy SE 2: Efficient Use of Land

  1. The council will encourage the redevelopment / re-use of previously developed land and buildings.
  2. The council will manage development to protect previously developed land where it can be clearly demonstrated that either the landscape amenity or biodiversity value of the site has become of a high value and as such would be compromised through redevelopment of the site.
  3. All windfall development should:
    1. Consider the landscape and townscape character of the surrounding area when determining the character and density of development;
    2. Build upon existing concentrations of activities and existing infrastructure;
    3. Not require major investment in new infrastructure, including transport, water supply and sewerage. Where this is unavoidable, development should be appropriately phased to coincide with new infrastructure provision; and
    4. Consider the consequences of the proposal for sustainable development having regard to Policy SD 1 and Policy SD 2
  4. Development should safeguard natural resources including high quality agricultural land (grades 1, 2, and 3a), geology, minerals, air, soil and water.


13.15 The National Planning Policy Framework identifies the efficient use of land as one of the core land use planning principles which encourages ‘the effective use of land by re-using land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value’.

13.16 Not all areas of previously-developed land will however be suitable or appropriate for built development, nor for the whole curtilage to be developed. The council will therefore seek to resist inappropriate development where development would cause harm to the character of the surrounding area. The council recognises that there is a presumption in favour of sustainable development in accordance with paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework. The council will therefore seek to ensure that, where possible, development is making the best use of land and existing infrastructure, and that resources are being managed prudently and efficiently. It is not always possible to predict where sites and buildings will become available and therefore it is not always possible to allocate such sites for development. At the same time, the council would like to see these sites brought back into use, not only in relation to the prudent use of resources but also to make sure that an area is not blighted by dereliction and vacancy, and to reduce opportunities for any criminal and anti-social activity to take place on the site. The council recognises that good design is an important aspect of sustainable development and therefore when planning for any development, including windfall sites 'it is important to plan positively for the achievement of high quality and inclusive design for all development, including individual buildings, public and private spaces and wider area development schemes' (NPPF).

13.17 The NPPF states that "Local planning authorities should take into account the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land'". Cheshire is a major food producing county and fertile soil is a limited and finite resource that cannot easily be repaired or replicated. Accordingly whilst some reduction of agricultural land is inevitable if new development is to proceed, its loss should be minimised. The needs of future generations for all forms of development should be balanced against the inevitable requirement to provide food for future needs.

13.18 Cheshire East has a wealth of mineral resources; these must be worked where they are found (see Policy SE 10). The ability to access key minerals should be safeguarded.

Key Evidence

  1. National Land Use Database
  2. Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment

Policy information


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