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.

February/March 2018 bulletin

Welcome to the eleventh 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 will be developing and consulting on various planning policy-related documents. Headline amongst these are the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD) and a Masterplan for the North Cheshire Garden Village.  The latter will be brought forward as a Supplementary Planning Document.  The introduction of a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will also move forward through the public examination of the council’s Draft Charging Schedule and, subject to that, it could be adopted in the autumn.

In this edition:

Local Plan Strategy

The application sought by Muller Properties to legal challenge the adoption of the Local Plan Strategy was rejected on 16 January 2018.

Muller’s claim against the adoption of the Local Plan was related to the issue of air quality data. In rejecting Muller’s application, the judge backed the council’s position, that the air quality data did not affect the content of the Plan and therefore the claim by Muller was not arguable.

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 and collected from Westfields.  Please e-mail localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk.

Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework

On 5 March 2018 the Government commenced a consultation on proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and also a consultation on changes to developer contributions.  The consultation closes at 11.45 pm on 10 May 2018.  Town and parish councils may want to respond to these, including the proposed changes to national planning policies relating to neighbourhood plans.  The consultation documents and details of how to respond can be viewed on the gov.uk website (external link).

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, as set out in the LPS , are met.

A number of studies and draft reports are now being completed.  These will inform the draft policies and proposals that will go into a first draft of the SADPD . This first draft of the Plan (also called the ‘Pre-publication’ version) will be published later this year for public consultation; we expect late summer/early autumn.

There will, of course, be a full opportunity to feed back views as part of this consultation.  However, in advance of that, we would like to invite town and parish councils to meet with members of the Spatial Planning team to informally discuss our evidence work.  We would particularly like to meet with those local councils which cover Local Service Centres and those currently preparing neighbourhood plans.  However, our invitation is open equally to all local councils.  Please look out for the separate invitation that is being sent to all town and parish clerks.

Minerals and Waste Development Plan Document

The Council has published its 2017 Local Aggregates Assessment (LAA) following sign off of the document by the Regional Aggregates Working Party. This provides an assessment of the demand for and supply of aggregates in Cheshire East and will form part of the evidence base that underpins the MWDPD . The 2017 LAA can be found on the minerals background evidence webpage.

As previously reported, the resources of the Spatial Planning Team are currently focussed on bringing forward CIL and the SADPD in 2018.  It is anticipated that a draft MWDPD will be consulted upon in the Spring of 2019.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Following two rounds of consultation in 2017 on the proposed charges for CIL in Cheshire East, the Council is finalising its review of the comments received and currently anticipates submitting its proposals for independent examination in April 2018.  The examination is likely to take place in the Summer and, if the CIL charge is approved, will become operational this Autumn.

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

Neighbourhood planning

The recently proposed changes to the NPPF are significant across the piste for planning and include some really important changes to how neighbourhood plans should be used. Broadly, there’s a greater emphasis on delivering development through neighbourhood plans but also some important protections from speculative planning applications in those areas that take this on. We’ve produced a handy guide to the key changes and what it means for neighbourhood planning which you can see on our website in the Toolkits section.

With the government looking ahead to how plans will be used in the future, we’re taking stock of progress made to date and where we’re up to. Councillor Ainsley Arnold has recently confirmed that the Stapeley, Somerford, Hulme Walfield and Somerford Booths neighbourhood plans have been made following successful referendums and that the Bollington Neighbourhood Plan will proceed to referendum in May. Disley and Handforth are making great progress and expected to complete shortly which will take the total number of completed plans in the borough to 17 and mean that Cheshire East remains in the top five most active authorities for neighbourhood planning in the country.

But that’s not the whole story – many of our communities are busy making plans across the Borough: Congleton, Poynton, Wilmslow, Knutsford and Calveley have completed their draft plans, Middlewich, Wrenbury, Moston and Newhall are close to publicising draft plans and there are a further 25 communities out there working away at earlier stages of the process.

We’re also seeing our first land allocations coming forward through neighbourhood plans too, at Calveley, Poynton, High Legh and Wrenbury. These communities will be able to access the protections set out in the revised NPPF and give us certainty about what housing will go forward and where it will be, all led by residents.

We’ve developed some really useful new tools, including a cycling toolkit and searchable national database of completed neighbourhood plans. This resource is especially useful to find similar sized communities to your own and see how they’ve approached their local issues, particularly whether they’ve allocated sites for development. This resource will be published on our website shortly (but contact the neighbourhood planning team directly for a copy ahead of time) and eventually expanded to cover a wider range of policy issues.

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.