Inspector agrees to resume Local Plan examination

Having submitted additional evidence to the Inspector at the end of July, Cheshire East Council has received confirmation that he is prepared to formally resume the Local Plan examination.

Last month, CEC submitted their additional evidence and suggested amendments to the Planning Inspector to address and rectify his criticisms - which resulted in the suspension of the Local Plan Examination at the end of last year. They also requested that he formally resumes the examination.

The Inspector confirmed on Friday, 14th August, that he is prepared to formally resume the examination but he has requested further information and clarification from the Council before making the arrangements to progress with the examination and resume the hearings.

Inspector Stephen Pratt has requested presentations and notes from the technical workshops and meetings which were held with stakeholders and Parish/Town Councils to discuss the additional evidence, as well as confirmation as to whether the concerns raised by other local authorities have been addressed.

The Inspector has also requested some clarification about how the increased housing and employment land requirements will be addressed in the Local Plan, particularly in terms of any additional or amended strategic sites.

The amendments to the Local Plan which were submitted to the inspector last month include increasing the overall housing requirement figure from 27,000 to 36,000 dwellings, the economic growth rate from 0.4% to 0.7%, the number of jobs from 13,000 to 31,400, and the amount of employment land from 351 to 380ha.

The suggested revisions include increasing the number of new homes proposed for Wilmslow from 400 to 900 and the provision of 10 rather than 8 hectares of employment land.

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, with the potential for 200 to 300 new homes.

Inspector Pratt is proposing that the resumed examination should commence with a Procedural Meeting towards the end of September, in order to discuss procedural and housekeeping matters relating to considering the additional evidence and progressing the examination.

He anticipates that the first stage of the resumed hearings would then take place in late October or early November.

Cheshire East Council, Local Plan


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

Pete Taylor
Wednesday 19th August 2015 at 3:21 pm
200-300 homes to be built at Alderley Park?

Was it only back in may 2014, when the site was sold to a company (of which Michael Jones is seemingly a director- ) that these fine sentiments were expressed:

At the end of the presentations John Patterson, Nether Alderley resident and former director at AstraZeneca, asked "We've heard a little about housing, but nothing specific, would you like to comment about the Green Belt? For most of the local residents the Green Belt is sacrosanct will you keep it that way?"
Chris Oglesby responded "We will be engaging very shortly with local residents on our plans and we recognise that the physical beauty of this site is one of its key attractors and it's vital that we maintain that."

Cllr Michael Jones added "We are not going to allow the Green Belt to be encroached unless it's the absolute last real opportunity we have and here there no need for it. You don't need to go anyway near the Green Belt to develop what I consider to be enabling housing. You can have that assurance from me."
Wednesday 19th August 2015 at 3:54 pm
It is quite clear that Cheshire East regard Wilmslow and Handforth as one place and not two. It means that, in effect, there will be 3100 additional homes built between Stockport and the southern most part of Wilmslow. In addition, there will be a further 200 - 300 at Alderley Park. In contrast, stand alone Knutsford will get 950 and stand alone Poynton will get 650. Meanwhile, the A30 is jammed at all important times, and the local schools are full. Still, the good side will probably be a transfer of Wilmslow into Stockport, much like Cheadle and Bramhall were absorbed into it from Cheshire.
David Lewis
Thursday 20th August 2015 at 8:19 pm
It is not clear exactly what the Inspector is proposing or the timetable for future hearings. On the one hand he acknowledges the importance of involving local communities and there being consultation on the revised proposals but on the other he seems prepared to resume the examination without these consultations having taken place. The NPPF requires early and meaningful consultation.
The changes to the Plan are far from minor and revisions to the spatial strategy mean that in some centres housing numbers are to be more than doubled. There will be far more residents who will wish to participate in a consultation than those who submitted views on the original Plan before it was revised, simply because more people will be affected by the revisions. Cheshire East talk of ‘suggested’ revisions to the Plan – how can ‘suggested’ revisions be examined by the Inspector?
Has there been a proper dialogue with Greater Manchester on the complex cross boundary interplay with Cheshire East.
Are some of the employment and housing needs being counted twice in adjacent boroughs? Is there too much employment land being allocated? Existing unused employment land is being allocated for housing, for example, locally the BAE site at Woodford is to be used for housing.
Jack Pink
Thursday 20th August 2015 at 9:44 pm
Jackie, why don't you mention the numbers Congleton, Crewe, Sandbach and Middlewich are going to get?
Thursday 20th August 2015 at 10:06 pm
Jack - because they are classed as being in the south of the borough. I suggest that you read the Inspector's Interim Views.