Spatial Planning Update

This page provides regular updates on planning policy matters affecting Cheshire East, including:

  • Progress on the council's Local Plan
  • Other research, guidance and projects carried out by the council's Spatial Planning Team, and
  • Neighbourhood planning activity taking place across the borough.

September 2018 bulletin

Welcome to the thirteenth edition of Spatial Planning Update, keeping you informed about planning policy matters in the borough.  If you need any further information or explanation, our contact details are at the bottom of the page.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions or matters that you would like to discuss.

During 2018 the council has continued to progress work on various planning policy-related documents. This includes the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document, the second part of the Local Plan. The introduction of a Community Infrastructure Levy also moved an important step forward earlier this month when the council’s proposals were scrutinised through hearings by an independent examiner in light of the feedback from a range of interested parties during the last round of consultation on the Draft Charging Schedule. 

In this edition:

Local Plan Strategy

Just a reminder that in the interests of reducing the need for printed copies of the  LPS , electronic copies can be downloaded for free.  Please see the Local Plan Strategy page for further information.

You’ll also find a link there to an interactive adopted policies map.  This map includes policies from the LPS and saved policies from the three plans prepared by the former borough councils.

Printed copies of the LPS  can be purchased on request for £40.00 each (plus postage of £2.50). Alternatively, copies can be purchased and collected from Westfields.  Discounted copies are available for town and parish councils. Please e-mail localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk.

Revised National Planning Policy Framework

A revised National Planning Policy Framework was published on 24 July 2018 setting out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. This revised framework replaces the previous NPPF  published in March 2012.

The new framework largely reflects the consultation version published earlier in the year and incorporates the policy proposals previously consulted on by the government in its February 2017 housing white paper and its September 2017 planning for the right homes in the right places consultation.  The framework seeks to make it clearer what constitutes a strategic versus a non-strategic policy in plans and shifts the role of viability assessments to local plans from the planning application stage. A new housing delivery test is introduced to gauge recent levels of housing delivery against housing requirements. The results of the test will be significant in determining whether or not ‘the presumption in favour of sustainable development’ should be applied and whether councils should add in a 5% or 20% buffer to their 5 year housing land requirement. There is also a renewed emphasis on achieving good design. 

Site Allocations and Development Policies Document 

The SADPD is the second part of the council’s Local Plan and will include more detailed development management policies as well as identifying additional sites to ensure that the overall development needs of the borough are met, as set out in the LPS .

Following consideration by the council’s Strategic Planning Board meeting on 29 August 2018, a first draft of the SADPD  was approved for public consultation by the council’s Portfolio Holder, alongside its Sustainability Appraisal and Habitats Regulations Assessment.

The draft policies and proposals have been prepared taking into account the feedback we have received to date, including responses to the SADPD  Issues Paper published last year. They also reflect the output from a very substantial amount of ‘evidence base’ work – studies and reports that provide the background and justification for particular policies and proposals.

Consultation is now underway and you will be able to submit your views up until 22 October.   Following the consultation and when we’ve had the opportunity to consider all of the feedback and carry out any further ‘evidence base’ work as required, we will then publish the final draft plan (called the ‘publication’ version) for a further six weeks of public consultation. The step after that will be the submission of the plan for public examination before an independent inspector. We would hope to both publish the final draft plan and have it examined in 2019 to enable its adoption in early 2020. You can view the consultation documents and submit your response using the First Draft SADPD consultation page on our consultation portal.

Two further drop-in engagement sessions for town and parish councils on the first draft SADPD  are being held in the north and south of the borough in early October.  All town and parish councils have been sent an invitation to book a meeting slot at one of these sessions.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The council submitted its CIL  Draft Charging Schedule for independent examination in July. The examination took place on 12/13 September at Macclesfield Town Hall and if the CIL  charge is approved, it should become operational in early 2019.

Further details on CIL , including the proposed charges and accompanying viability information can be found on CIL webpage.

Local Development Scheme

An updated Local Development Scheme (PDF, 231KB), to take effect from 01 October, was agreed and published by the council at the end of August. The LDS  sets out the timetable for the preparation of Local Plan documents. Councils are required to prepare one and keep it up to date. The latest LDS  covers the period 2018-20. Importantly it highlights the council’s intention to prepare a Crewe Station Hub Area Action Plan which, as this title suggests, is centred on the Crewe Station area. It will aim to help support and manage the development of the new HS2 station and its immediate surrounding area. It also updates the timetable for the preparation of the SADPD  and Minerals and Waste Development Plan Document.

Statement of Community Involvement

The Statement of Community Involvement describes how the council will involve the community and other interested parties in the preparation of new Local Plan documents and in the consideration of planning applications. A draft, revised SCI  was approved for public consultation at the end of August. It is also currently subject of six weeks of public consultation alongside the First Draft SADPD  through to 22 October 2018.

You can view and comment on the updated SCI using the Statement of Community Involvement consultation page on our consultation portal.

Annual Housing Monitoring Update

Each year the council makes an assessment of the deliverable supply of housing land in the borough.  This assessment is employed to guide planning decisions, specifically on whether or not a five year supply of deliverable housing sites can be demonstrated.  During October, the council will publish a fresh assessment with a base date of 31 March 2018 which will be available to view on the council's housing land supply page.

Neighbourhood planning

Congratulations are in order to a number of our communities who’ve made excellent progress on their plans – Knutsford and Wilmslow have completed formal consultations on their plans, Middlewich have launched theirs and Calveley and Wrenbury plans are under examination. Plan makers at Chelford, Hankelow, Eaton, Wybunbury and Gawsworth are making very good progress and we expect a raft of submissions across the autumn.

All this activity means the council remains in the top five most popular areas in the country for neighbourhood planning and our two most recent plans to reach examination stage, Calveley and Wrenbury both include site allocations for new development, a great achievement in what we all recognise as a very contentious area of plan making. In particular Calveley neighbourhood plan includes a ‘mini-master plan’ which sets out a development framework for new homes, employment land and the creation of a canal-side focus to the village, you can find out more by taking a look at the Calveley neighbourhood plan

With the publication of the council's draft SADPD , now may be an opportune time to begin reviewing your neighbourhood plans, particularly if they were produced or completed some time ago. Additional funding is available (up to £9,000) to help you modify your plan and the neighbourhood planning team are on hand to advise too.

To keep an eye on progress around the borough, news of new resources and national policy, do sign up to our fortnightly neighbourhood planning update via our neighbourhood planning website.

Further information

For further information on any of the items in this bulletin, please contact the Spatial Planning Team by email at localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk or by telephone on 01270 685893.