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Strategic 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 Strategic Planning Team, and
  • neighbourhood planning activity taking place across the borough.

February 2020 bulletin - edition 17

Keeping you informed about planning policy matters in the borough. 

Six weeks of public consultation took place during August and September 2019 on the 'Publication Draft' version of the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD). The council received over 2,700 responses and these are currently being carefully considered.   

Because of the high volume of representations received about the Plan, it is now expected that decisions about its policies and proposals will be made over the summer of 2020. If this results in any significant changes to the Plan, a further round of public consultation would be needed prior to its submission to the Secretary of State for examination. If this arises, it is anticipated that this consultation would take place in the autumn of 2020. 

You can find out more about the range of reports and studies that were published alongside the Publication Draft Plan on the site allocations and development policies document webpage.

The SADPD is the second part of the council’s Local Plan. The first part, the Local Plan Strategy (LPS), containing strategic policies and proposals, was adopted in 2017. Linked to the strategic policies of the LPS , the SADPD sets out more detailed, ‘non-strategic’ development management policies as well as a number of additional, smaller-scale site allocations.

Once adopted, the SADPD will fully replace the Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton and Macclesfield Borough Local Plans.

Since the last consultation on the Crewe Hub Area Action Plan (CHAAP) a lot of work has been done to consider the feedback, amend the plan and finalise the masterplan for the area. The plan addresses a number of themes to improve the environment, connectivity and design quality of buildings around Crewe Station and sets out how the arrival of  HS2 could trigger high demand for new development in the area. Improving the local highways network is a key component of the approach and, importantly, in October 2019, Cabinet approved a preferred route for the Southern Link Road Bridge (the secondary road crossing south of Crewe Station) and have given authority to carry out further work on the project.

The  AAP  is currently being finalised ahead of submission to Cabinet in March 2020 after which a further round of 6 weeks public consultation will be held with feedback considered by full council in the summer of 2020. If the council endorses the plan it is expected to be submitted to government for examination by an independent planning inspector, later in the year.

In line with the council’s adopted Local Plan Strategy (LPS), a development framework (masterplan) supplementary planning document (SPD) has been prepared to support the delivery of the strategic development location at Brooks Lane, Middlewich (reference  LPS 43).

An initial draft of the development framework was consulted on in January and February 2019. A final draft version of the SPD  has now been prepared which also incorporates a report of consultation summarising the comments received to the initial draft  SPD  and amendments to it in the light of this feedback.

The council is now seeking views on the final draft SPD  prior to it being considered for adoption and the report of consultation. As a SPD , its guidance would need to be taken into account as a material consideration in deciding relevant planning applications affecting the site.

The consultation runs between 22 January and 4 March 2020.  Further information can be found on the Local Plan Consultation Portal.

There has been great news for Wilmslow, Chelford and Poynton neighbourhood plans that all secured local support in referendums in the autumn last year. There has also been a lot of progress from many of our communities with 5 referendums being held on 27 February 2020 for Wybunbury Combined Parishes plan, Acton, Alsager, Newhall and Church Minshull.

Over Peover, Hankelow and Eaton Parish have completed their plans and submitted plans for examination, with Alderley Edge, Shavington and Gawsworth completing their regulation 14 consultation stages on draft versions of their plans; Little Bollington are about to do the same.

Congratulations to all of the communities making progress on their plans and as much as we might like it to, planning doesn’t stay still for long. So if you think it’s time to update your neighbourhood plan then please bear in mind that Government funding is available. If you think it is time to update things or to move quickly on a policy you think could make a difference, please do get in touch for some advice (and watch out for Sandbach and Marton in particular who are considering how to update their plans).

Should you wish to find out more, contact our neighbourhood planning team for advice.

To stay in touch on progress around the borough, news of new resources and national policy, do visit our Neighbourhood Planning page.


The Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 require local planning authorities to prepare, maintain and publish a Brownfield Land Register. Brownfield Land Registers list previously developed (or brownfield) sites that have the potential to accommodate residential development. The council’s Part 1 Brownfield Land Register 2019 was published in December 2019. It contains:

  • Brownfield sites with extant planning permission or a resolution to grant planning permission as at 31 March 2019;
  • Brownfield sites allocated for residential development in the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy;
  • Sites subject to Local Development Orders; and
  • Sites submitted to the council for inclusion within the register and assessed as being suitable, achievable and available for residential led development in accordance with the council’s published brownfield land register methodology.

The production of the next annual update in 2020 will commence following the publication of the council’s annual housing land monitoring report, which will be to a base date of 31 March 2020.


On 3 December 2019, Cabinet decided that all proposals to convert existing family homes into houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in three areas of Crewe should require planning permission. Under national ‘permitted development’ regulations, only the conversion of a family home into a larger  HMO currently requires planning permission. The council proposes to remove these permitted development rights for smaller  HMOs through the introduction of Article 4 Directions in the areas around Nantwich Road, West Street and Hungerford Road.

These areas already have a concentration of  HMOs and the Article 4 Directions, once they take effect, would enable to council to manage the development of any further HMOs  within them. However, the council is required to first consult on the proposals and confirm whether it intends to bring the Directions into effect in the light of consultation feedback.     

The consultation will be widely publicised around the three areas and is expected to be completed by the summer. Progress with the Directions will be reported in future editions of the Strategic Planning Update.

You can find more information about the Article 4 Directions (including the background evidence that justifies them being made) from the agenda and minutes of the 03/12/19 Cabinet Meeting under item 85.


National planning policy requires local planning authorities to identify and update annually a supply of deliverable sites sufficient to provide a minimum of 5years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement.

The council has published its latest housing land supply position (at a base date of 31 March 2019). The 2019 Housing Monitoring Update (HMU) identifies a 7.5 year supply of deliverable housing land, up from the 7.2 years supply identified in the 2018 HMU .

Having a minimum 5year supply of housing land best ensures that planning decisions about new housing development are plan-led. Falling under this 5 year threshold can trigger a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ which can reduce the council’s ability to manage the location of new housing development in line with its Local Plan.

The council also recorded that 3,062 new homes were constructed in the borough in 2018/19. This represents a 32% increase in housebuilding compared to the previous year’s figure of 2,321 homes. The latest figure represents the sixth year in a row that housing completions have increased. 

The housing monitoring update for 2019 can be viewed on our housing land supply webpage.

For further information on any of the items in this bulletin, contact the Strategic Planning Team by email at or by telephone on 01270 685893.