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.

November 2018 bulletin

Welcome to the fourteenth 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 the  LPS can be downloaded and viewed on the council's website.

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  are still available on request at £40.00 each (plus postage of £2.50). Alternatively, copies can be purchased and collected from Westfields.

Please e-mail localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Planning Reforms

Following the publication of a new National Planning Policy Framework in the summer, the government, in October, published a consultation paper on further changes to national planning policy and guidance. The consultation ends on 7 December.

The government is also consulting on various changes to ‘permitted development rights’ and some other planning provisions. Permitted development enables certain types of development to take place without the need to submit a planning application. The latest consultation features greater flexibility to allow changes of use on high streets and the potential ability for buildings to be extended upwards to create additional homes, subject to design safeguards. The consultation period extends to 14 January 2019.

The final report of the Independent review of build out led by Sir Oliver Letwin  MP was published at the end of October on Budget day. It was commissioned by the government a year earlier to look into how to close the gap between planning permission being granted and houses being completed. The report concludes that the lack of diversity of housing types and tenures are at the root of the slow rate of build out. It makes a number of short-term and long-term suggestions. A response from government is expected in February 2019.

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 .

Thank you to everyone who gave us their views in response to the publication of the First Draft of the  SADPD during the six weeks of public consultation that ended on 22 October. We have received over 3000 individual comments from 755 separate respondents. We’ll be looking carefully at all of this feedback in preparing the next draft of the Plan which we anticipate consulting on for a further six weeks in mid-2019. This is expected to be the final version of the Plan which will then be submitted for examination before an independent Planning Inspector.

In the meantime, we’ll also be continuing work on the background evidence that will inform the policies and proposals in the Plan. Amongst other things, this will include taking account of out latest housing monitoring information that we have.

You can view the recent consultation documents and read the various comments received about it on the  SADPD consultation page.

Ahead of the publication of the next version of the Plan for consultation, we will be providing local councils with the opportunity to meet with officers from the Spatial Planning team again. Further details will follow about this in the New Year.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The council submitted its  CIL Draft Charging Schedule for independent examination in July. Two days of hearings took place on the 12 & 13 September 2018 in front of an independent Examiner. This was followed by the Council undertaking further work at the request of the Examiner on a number of specific matters which had been raised by objectors concerning the evidence base on apartments and general construction costs, as well as site viability on three specific sites. The Council’s additional work was subject to a further period of consultation to enable participants the opportunity to comment on the Council’s work. One of the objectors also produced further site specific viability work at the request of the Examiner.

This additional work extended the overall examination period and it is now anticipated that the Examiner’s report will be published during w/c 10 December 2018. Subject to those recommendations, it is anticipated that a report can go to Council in early 2019 to seek formal approval to introduce the charge, with the potential for it to become operational on or before 1 April 2019.

Further details on CIL , including the proposed charges and accompanying viability information can be found on the council's  CIL website.

Crewe Station Hub Area Action Plan

The council is developing an Area Action Plan to support and manage growth associated with the arrival of HS2. We’re currently consulting on an Issues Paper which sets out the matters we expect the  AAP to address and are seeking feedback on this until 5 December. We’re also attending a series of meetings to engage with community and other stakeholders, have hosted a business briefing for the local business community and are running a drop in session for the wider community on 29 November at Crewe Alex (4 to 8pm). You can find out more, read and comment on the Issues Paper on our  CSHAAP page.

Statement of Community Involvement

In the last Update we highlighted that a revised  SCI was being consulted on alongside the SADPD . The  SCI describes how the council will involve the community and other interested parties in the preparation of new planning policy documents and in the consideration of planning applications. A total of 38 comments were made by 5 separate respondents. The  SCI will now be finalised, taking this feedback into account. It is expected to be approved in its final form in December.

You can see the updated  SCI and view the feedback on the  SCI consultation page.

Annual Housing Monitoring Update

Each year the council makes an assessment of the deliverable (5 year) supply of housing land in the Borough. The existence or not of a 5 year supply of housing land is important in planning decision making involving new homes. The council’s latest assessment has a base date of 31 March 2018 and shows that there is a 7.2 year supply of deliverable housing land. The council has an up to date Local Plan and a 5 year supply of housing land which gives it the best chance to ensure that planning decisions on housing proposals are plan-led. You can read the latest on the Housing Monitoring Update page.

Neighbourhood Planning

Congratulations to Calveley, Wrenbury and Moston on successful examinations of their neighbourhood plans! Each of the plans have now passed examination and will be subject to referendum in the coming months. The Calveley and Wrenbury plans mark an important milestone for neighbourhood plans in Cheshire East and include our first site allocations for new homes and businesses.

Knutsford, Congleton and Middlewich have also now submitted their plans. The Knutsford and Congleton consultations have now closed, with the Middlewich consultation due to conclude on 30 November. The Chelford Neighbourhood Plan is now under consultation at the regulation 14 stage.

Over the past few weeks the council has welcomed enquiries from a number of our neighbourhood planners about modifying their existing plans. We look forward to supporting Sandbach, Holmes Chapel, Brereton, Weston and Marton in this process. As the wider policy framework for Cheshire East becomes more certain, now is a great time to access up to £9,000 to support the review of your made neighbourhood plan. So if you’re thinking about embarking on a plan review, do get in touch as we have support and advice to hand.

To keep an eye on progress around the borough, news of new resources and national policy, visit our Neighbourhood Planning page.

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.