The Cabinet will be considering the suggested revisions to the submitted Local Plan Strategy at their meeting on Tuesday, 21st July, which include a significant increase in the number of proposed new dwellings for Wilmslow.
In November 2014, the Inspector appointed to examine the Local Plan Strategy (LPS) provided the Council with his interim views on the soundness and legal compliance of the submitted document. The Inspector then formally suspended the examination of the LPS to allow the Council to undertake the additional work to address the "serious shortcomings" he raised in his interim views.
The additional work has been undertaken and, as previously agreed, it is now necessary to inform the Inspector of the outcomes of that work and provide him with the related documentation, including the suggested revisions to the submitted Local Plan Strategy to address and rectify the Inspector's criticisms, by the end of July.
These changes include increasing in the number of new homes from 27,000 to 36,000 between 2010 and 2030 and the provision of 380 hectares for employment land, up from 300 hectares, to support 31,400 new jobs by 2030 - this represents a jobs growth rate of around 0.7% per annum. The new homes will be delivered at an average of 1,800 per year.
The number of new homes proposed for Wilmslow has increased from 400 to 900 and the provision of employment land has increased from 8 to 10 hectares.
Whilst in Handforth, including the North Cheshire Growth Village, the number has been revised from 2000 to 2200 dwellings with 22 rather than 10 hectares of employment land.
Alderley Park is also included in the revision, where there could be potential for 200 to 300 new homes.
Should the Cabinet decide to accept the recommendations, the additional evidence and the suggested revisions to the submitted Local Plan Strategy will be sent to the Inspector by 31st July. In addition, the Council is proposing to further engage with stakeholders upon the outcomes of the additional work, including the suggested revisions to the submitted Local Plan Strategy.
However, the Inspector's comments on the Council's latest update (May 2015) state that he remains concerned about the lack of engagement with other parties, including town and parish councils, community and interest groups who he says do not seem to have been involved in decisions about the amount and distribution of new development.
The Inspector also raises a concern about the possible scale and nature of amendments to the submitted plan arising from the work undertaken during the suspension period, particularly as a result of increasing the overall amount of housing and employment land. He also raises the issue of cross-boundary implications and the need to engage with neighbouring authorities.
The report prepared for the Cabinet meeting on 31st July, along with additional evidence can be accessed via the Cheshire East Council website.