Revised local plan includes big increase in new homes for Wilmslow

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.

Cheshire East Council, Local Plan


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Woodcock
Tuesday 14th July 2015 at 5:48 pm
I am really glad that I don't live in Wilmslow anymore. My families roots are there for the past few hundred years and it used to be a beautiful place to live and Fulshaw at least was a good community but the whole place is now just a huge dormitory town with no soul.
Toni Fox
Tuesday 14th July 2015 at 7:07 pm
As a ward councillor I have formally objected to this being decided by the select members of the Cabinet and have made my views known to the Inspector.

Given the substantial increase in the proposed housing and employment figures and the implications these will have for residents across the borough the revisions should be subject to a fully informed and open public consultation and debated by Full Council.

Cllr Toni Fox - Independent
Dean Row Ward
Manuel Golding
Tuesday 14th July 2015 at 7:38 pm
Democracy is not at work here in Cheshire East!
The suggested "revisions", strategy, call it what you wish, will ONLY be going before the cabinet (no doubt well briefed & ordered into line) but NOT to the full council. The political leadership does not believe our elected representatives are to be trusted with such a vital part of the council's long term plans for its residents.

Why no consultations with the public on its revised plans?
Is this democracy at work, Cheshire East style?

CEs growth plans and numbers for the borough are staggering -
Housing - a 33.33% increase; Employment growth - 122% increase;
Employment land - 27% increase

In CE's mind set these are classed as "minor" alterations to the original failed plan! Minor?

Look at the increases, do you believe these are minor changes?

Where does CE believe this growth is coming from?
What methodology has been used to arrive at these figures?
Show us how you have arrived at these "minor" increases? Show us your workings?

RoW will be asking all these questions and more of Cllr Jones & his cabinet again and again until we get substantive and credible answers.
Why do you not ask Cllr Jones your own questions? And again if you do not receive credible answers.
Ryan Dance
Tuesday 14th July 2015 at 7:51 pm
For a prosperous, desirable , affluent and successful town. This is the right decision. We should embrace change rather than reject it!

Let's hope for 3 things: -

1) The developments are appropriate to housing needs
2) The developments are supported by appropriate improvements to local services
3) We get on with it ...rather than procrastinating for another 10 years

let the debate begin!
Tuesday 14th July 2015 at 11:23 pm
Ryan - you have asked for the "debate to begin". That is what everyone wants, but, to date, there has been no indication that there will be a debate other than with a select few.

Major alterations to the Local Plan are to be discussed by a cabal in Cabinet and there is no indication it will be the subject of public debate. The Inspector has already queried the restricted nature of the "stakeholder workshops" and on the fact that he has received no minutes or notes from these workshops but only the slide shows given to the participants. Furthermore, he has queried whether parish and town councils have been consulted. Even a cursory look at the new documentation indicates that all the main documentation has significantly changed in scope and numbers. The Cabinet documentation includes an appendix indicating "changes" and a further note on changes omitted from the document on changes. It gets more kafkaesque by the minute.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 1:06 pm
As the advocates of “Concrete over Green spaces” and YIMBYS have now demonstrated ..... there is NO common ground for debate...... Perhaps they should consider a move into a City and not allow the City to move to them.... Some COGS’ YIMBY’s have previously demonstrated on these pages their wish to up-grade to 4-5 Bedroom house with their Children and 2 + cars (Not Eco friendly ones of course..that would dare venture them too close to protecting the environment and green spaces.....merely Clarkson-esque guzzlers), and although not considered by them as executive housing stock but a “basic need chateau” that outreached their budget, There is nothing here from this proposed govt. imposition that will assist theirs and many other peoples predicament..( particularly 1st timers).....Moving on....... Imposition in this manner has not been seen in English law since Henry VIII and his ‘Proclamation of the Crown Act’ (reformation)............ The resemblance to CEC leader is remarkable in many ways.......But who is his Cromwell ?....... (And remember the latter was posthumously executed 12 yrs after he was buried)..... The best way to agitate the electorate is imposition, and History always has a strange way of repeating itself.......Let Common sense be imposed upon CEC !!
Julie Green
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 2:15 pm
I remember the petition in the 1970's for Wilmslow to remain in Cheshire. Perhaps it's time to find out once and for all - do the people now living in Wilmslow want all this development and by implication, to leave Cheshire, or do the people want to retain the green space for them and future generations?
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 2:16 pm
I had hoped that the Inspector's comments regarding CEC's inadequate review of green belt vs brownfield, and its decision to remove green belt on Handforths' north side ( which it happens to own - what a coincidence) rather than fully considering whether other green belt sites within East Cheshire would be a better option, and rather less damaging to the original intent on green belt, would lead to less housing on this area. Instead of which we have rather more housing, and additional space earmarked for employment use when we have long-term vacancies on the local industrial estate. I see the inspector has not succeeded in imposing any common sense on CEC despite his fairly damning report. We are now apparently to accept that we will just become part of the greater Manchester conurbation - the only advantage is that at least we won"t have Michael Jones in our lives anymore!
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 2:52 pm
Ah, the days when Wilmslow was a Cheshire village with a few North Western buses in the garage in Water Lane! Now long gone. I too am glad I don't live there now.
David Lewis
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 3:43 pm
You can get in written questions today (Wednesday) to re the Local Plan report, which there should be a response to at the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday. There has to be 3 clear working days notice for written questions. The more the better!
Chris Wigley
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 3:45 pm
@Julie Green, I made the same comment some little time ago. I do feel that Wilmslow and Handforth have far more in common with Bramhall, Woodford and Cheadle Hulme. I suspect that if we were in a borough of Greater Manchester there would be far more commitment to keep this area special - this already happens in Trafford where Altrincham and Hale retain there character.

I welcomed the election of Toni Fox and her commitment on behalf of ROW, however whilst the ruling group on Cheshire East has such a big majority and is very unlikely to lose the support of the electorate in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge I suspect arguments will fall on deaf ears. Perhaps one day through the ballot box the electorate will say no more and we will be listened to.
John Featherstone
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 4:12 pm
only interested in one thing and that is MONEY MONEY MONEY thats what it all boils down to in the end
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 5:02 pm
Of the stated economic drivers for CEC, only one passes through Wilmslow and that is the Science Corridor, from Manchester University to Daresbury.
We don't do Radio Astronomy, Big Data, Nano Materials or Pharma here.
Nor does Handforth.
Our gross value added depends much on commuting, but that won't wash with the Local Plan Inspector, or our MP. The former wants facts on job growth only for the borough and employment/housing needs for local jobs, whilst last week's Productivity Plan document absolutely discourages commuting, ie housing and work close by.
And by making productivity gains, businesses do not need more employees.
Plus, brownfield sites are a priority for national government. Cllr Jones has repeated that.
So we can relax. What could possibly go wrong? Wilmslow Town Council and our CE Cllrs will ensure sensible levels of future development. Local jobs, local housing! Simples ........
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 5:12 pm
It would be good to here from the other Cheshire East Councillors - apart from Toni, about the Cabinet meeting and their opinion, particularly Councillor Stockton given that he is a member of the Cabinet and has responsibility for "Regeneration and Assets".
Craig Wilkinson
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 6:44 pm
Where are all the occupants of these homes going to send their children to school?
Jack Pink
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 8:32 pm
Why are the Council still hell bent on stuffing it all in the south? Those towns have 0000s and we get 900! I was hoping Wilmslow would go back up to the 1500 houses in the earlier version.
Ryan Dance
Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 11:17 pm
Not sure why the NIMBYs mob keep propelling conspiracy stories and pushing for a debate on the local plan (not sure the NIMBY crew want a local plan? do they?) well maybe, if it fits.....their idealistic pie in the sky aspiration to build 1 bedroom flats and 2 bedroom starter homes on brownfield sites....oh a lets not forget (how dare the developer make profit....scandalous)

Probably a little harsh and sure to stoke a venomous reaction! However the anti development mob (ADM) really do pontificate far too normally starts with "we are not against the right development blah blah". Despite challenging several of these contributors to actually clarify or rather substantiate the notion "we are not against the right development" whilst rejecting everything ranging from a pub refurb, to a car park at Royal London, to change of shop use, to petrol station refurbishments, to old disused council offices being redeveloped ....and and and! You get my point!

Lovely words....very eloquent......admirable some would say! Seriously lacking in substance!
Toni Fox
Thursday 16th July 2015 at 10:59 am
Ryan the reason the Inspector suspended the Local Plan was because it was lacking in evidence, assessment and justification, or to put it in your words "substance".

Councillor Jones admitted prior to any public consultations that he wanted to "cash in" on the Green Belt in the north owned by CEC and the figures produced simply do not stack up. In addition there is no provision anywhere to provide any additional infrastructure, be it additional schools, improvements to the road network, or health services to support such proposed growth.

You may want to live in an area that will become a concrete jungle with roads that will the equivalent of a car park, where children have to be shipped miles to go to school and you have to wait weeks for a doctors appointment but I for one do not.

My "idealistic pie" is that we have a Local Plan that is based on actual need supported by non-prejudicial evidence and assessment, and, that is based on Government Policy to protect our Green Belt - not one that is based on the whims and desire of the current leader of Cheshire East Council.
John Rowland
Thursday 16th July 2015 at 12:02 pm
I'm really enjoying reading the debate on this emotive subject, suggest however those readers no longer living in the area need to move their lives on !!!!!
Thursday 16th July 2015 at 12:37 pm
Afternoon Ryan.

In the Soviet Union there were Stakhanovite medals for those who worked tirelessly in the interests of the State. Perhaps Cheshire East could have similar medals struck? - bearing the image of Councillor Jones on one side and your good self on the other, to commemorate outstanding effort to stifle debate, despite your exortations to the contrary.
Ryan Dance
Thursday 16th July 2015 at 7:45 pm
Jackie - we dont all share the anti development view. It may shock you to accept this....but we don't!

What i do that even the smallest reported change, planning application or development that changes, updates or improves 1950's wilmslow attracts widespread condemnation....its both ridiculous and absurd to keep propelling these conspiracy stories. The planning system is a joke (and for not the reasons you and your anti development mob offer)

It's bureaucratic, expensive, cumbersome, dated, restrictive, badly managed, time consuming needs to be completely reformed. White paper....local them what you will! The problems remain! What a joke!

The government should do more to tackle these issues. We may then get the houses and infrastructure the country so badly needs!
Jack Pink
Thursday 16th July 2015 at 7:46 pm
Why is it so wrong to support development?
Friday 17th July 2015 at 10:29 am
There is nothing wrong with supporting development - in the right place and at the right time - and those two factors should be up for discussion. What is wrong is a) simply dismissing arguments put forward by people who are trying to do their best for the town by labelling them "NIMBY's". b) Supporting proposals which diminish peoples' ways( and rights) to express those opinions by discussing major development proposals in a forum which is restricted to a few like minded people - namely the Cabinet at Cheshire East. At the very least the proposals should go to the full Cabinet meeting, with webcam showing the debate. The last full Cabinet meeting the webcam has still not appeared more than two weeks later. We get more pictures showing Pluto than what takes place at Cheshire East.
Ryan Dance
Friday 17th July 2015 at 11:32 am
Jackie - I did agree to stop using the NIMBY label but then one of your comrades (Nick Jones) started using the label(s) COGS & YIMBYs so i resurrected it!

what do you actually mean - the right place at the right time (lovely words)! can you explain to me what development, the nature of the development and location of such a scheme one would support? ......i would attached 3 prerequisites 1) developers exist to make a yes (hard to accept i know) but it would need to make a profit 2) Has to be economically viable 3) it has to be desirable to prospective purchasers & 4) it needs to be in Wilmslow.

I read a recent post from you & the anti development mob on the retirement development - complaints ranging from building height, parking issues, traffic issues , appearance , lack of transparency etc etc. This site is brownfield and ripe of investment!

The fact is - you and most of your comrades don't like change & don't want development of any nature. You use politics, conspiracy stories and intelligent angles to disguise the real intent. I dont fall for this clap trap! It is incorrect, misguided and idle rhetoric.

Feel free to correct me. Have a great day.
Manuel Golding
Friday 17th July 2015 at 4:23 pm
It is more than interesting, possibly food for concern, that ONLY ONE Wilmslow CE councillor has cared to express her thoughts on the current state of CECs Local Plan strategy.
Obviously, the Conservative CEC councillors have either no interest in Wilmslow's future or are brow-beaten to refrain from comment.
Which is it?
Saturday 18th July 2015 at 9:26 am
Manuel - I do feel that you are being a little harsh in your comment. Maybe the other Wilmslow Councillors have joined Cheshires Search and Rescue Team and are at this very moment out and about trying to find the missing 5 Year Housing Supply.
Mark Goldsmith
Saturday 18th July 2015 at 1:58 pm
900 new homes in Wilmslow will house 2.4 days worth of immigrants into the UK.

It's hardly going to help with the housing crisis now is it.

However, it could seriously damage the rural feel to the town that ensures it's an attractive place to live.

The bit that really stinks for me in all this though is the New Homes Bonus from the government.

This means councils are now in cahoots with developers, so they all make money building new homes. Thus removing the normal checks and balances to over development that the council should be providing.

No wonder people feel angry and powerless about this cosy stitch up with their money.
Manuel Golding
Saturday 18th July 2015 at 2:41 pm
Jackie, you may well be right. If they are in the search party for that long missing 5 year housing supply, they could well stumble upon a well constructed and acceptable Local Plan Strategy that Cheshire East is incapable of finding.
Saturday 18th July 2015 at 3:29 pm
They are not going to find it by insisting that land "adjacent to settlements", in the Green Belt in the North of the borough are "urban"!
Manuel Golding
Saturday 18th July 2015 at 9:45 pm
Fools gold or fools make believe paradise.
The real problem for all of Cheshire East's residents is that the Conservative leadership and its follower yes men, believe we still believe their "promises" and downright obfuscation that has been consistently uttered. We've heard it from the horses mouth time after time, it no longer washes. Just as does their continual harping about having a "robust" and a "5 year housing supply".
Hopefully, Wilmslow's deathly quiet Conservative councillors will have discovered both a truly robust 5 years housing supply together with an acceptable Local Plan Strategy somewhere in the long grass..
But don't hold your breath, Jackie.
Buster Wild
Sunday 19th July 2015 at 4:40 pm
It takes long enough to get an appointment to see my doctor now, what's it going to be like in ten years time with thousands of new families in Wilmslow and Handforth. Schools, dentists, child-care places, chemists etc. the list is endless. Maybe the people who stand to make lots of money from this local plan don't care as they will be able to pay for private schools and healthcare.
Drew Donaldson
Tuesday 21st July 2015 at 6:21 pm
Ryan I'm with you mate! I gave up trying to have a sensible discussion on development with these fanatics a while back. They don't change their mind and won't change the subject. It's the same old names article after article. Hurrah for free speech!
Jack Pink
Tuesday 21st July 2015 at 11:13 pm
It won't happen. The vast majority of people on here, despite what they say, detest the thought of any new development in the town. The tightly drawn green belt has constrained development for too long and any brownfield sites that were available are now developed. unfortunately fields are needed for the town to grow and with this we may get the additional facilities we all seem to want
David Lewis
Sunday 26th July 2015 at 10:30 pm
You can get in written questions today (Wednesday) to re the Local Plan report, which there should be a response to at the Cabinet meeting next Tuesday. There has to be 3 clear working days notice for written questions. The more the better!