Having approved its revised Local Plan Strategy, which will shape development across the Borough up to 2030, Cheshire East Council will now be forwarding this to the Planning Inspector for consideration.
Following a six week of public consultation a number of changes were made to the draft document, however there are no changes to the proposed sites for Wilmslow, much to the disapointment of Wilmslow Town Council.
Speaking about the final site selection, Martin Watkins, Chairman of Wilmslow Town Council told wilmslow.co.uk "The Town Council made it very clear in its response to the latest consultation on the Local Plan that it opposed the removal of land from the green belt for housing use, whilst identifying that, if green belt land had to be used for housing, the Prestbury Road site was a better option than the sites selected by Cheshire East Council.
"I believe that the argument put forward by the Town Council for this site was not only rational but also reflected public opinion. I am very disappointed that the final site selection does not begin to reflect the Town Council's views nor in any way that of local opinion."
The Local Plan Strategy now proposes 10 ha of employment land and 900 dwellings over the Plan period in Wilmslow as well as an indicative requirement for 24 ha of safeguarded land.
According to the Site Selection Final Report for Wilmslow between 1st April 2010 and 31 March 2016, 97 additional dwellings were completed in Wilmslow and as of 31 March 2016, there were 305 dwellings considered as commitments in Wilmslow (including sites with planning permission and sites under construction).
Between 1st April 2010 and 31 March 2013, no employment land has been taken-up in Wilmslow and at 31 March 2013, there were 0.07 hectares of committed employment land in Wilmslow.
Taking into account the above completions and commitments, this leaves an overall remaining requirement for the provision of 9.93 ha of employment land, 498 dwellings and 24 ha of Safeguarded Land over the remaining Plan period in Wilmslow.
All the potential strategic sites being promoted around Wilmslow are in the Green Belt. Exceptional circumstances are required to release this site from the Green Belt, which include the inability to meet Wilmslow's needs without removing land from the Green Belt,
The sites recommended for inclusion in the Local Plan Strategy for Wilmslow are:
- Royal London including land west of Alderley Road - 27.5 ha, including existing developed area, for for a mixed use scheme including 175 new homes and 5 ha of employment land.
- Wilmslow Business Park - 6.3 ha of employment land for a new Business Park located behind Royal London between the railway and the bypass.
- Land at Little Stanneylands - 6.8 ha A development of 200 new homes
- Heath field Farm - 15.0 ha site for a development of 150 new homes and an additional 9ha of Safeguarded Land
- Land at Upcast Lane / Cumber Lane - 15ha of Safeguarded Land
The sites recommended for inclusion in the LPS for Wilmslow are capable of providing 525 dwellings, 11.3 ha of employment land and 24 ha of Safeguarded Land
The 36,000 dwelling requirement identified within the revised LPS is the minimum requirement for housing development within Cheshire East across the Plan period. The Council needs to be sure that the 36,000 dwelling requirement will be completed by 2030.
Therefore an additional amount has been included for each site, referred to as a 'flexibility factor' so the total level of housing provided in each settlement will normally be higher than the expected level of development.
The sites recommended for inclusion in the LPS for Handforth are:
- North Cheshire Growth Village - 103.7 ha site for a new settlement with a mix of uses including 1,500 new homes, 12.0 ha of land for employment uses and a new local centre
- Between Clay Lane and Sagars Road - 8.5 ha for a development of 250 new homes
- North Cheshire Growth Village Extension – a smaller 14.0 ha site for safeguarded land
The sites recommended for inclusion in the LPS for Handforth are capable of providing 1,750 dwellings, 12 ha of employment land and 14 ha of Safeguarded Land.
The draft version of the LPS identified Handforth as providing sites for in the order of 10 ha of employment land and 150 dwellings over the plan period, and the North Cheshire Growth Village as providing sites for up to 12 ha of employment land and 1,850 dwellings.
However, in the revised policy the figure for Handforth, including the North Cheshire Growth Village, is for 12 ha of employment land and 2,200 dwellings over the Plan period.
Between 1st April 2010 and 31 March 2016, 70 additional dwellings were completed in Handforth. As of 31st March 2016, there were 323 dwellings considered as commitments in Handforth (including sites with planning permission and sites under construction).
Between 1st April 2010 and 31 March 2013, no employment land has been taken-up in Handforth. As at 31 March 2013, there were 9.72 hectares of committed employment land in Handforth.
Taking into account the above completions and commitments, this leaves an overall remaining requirement for the provision of 12.28 ha of employment land, 1,807 dwellings and 10 ha of Safeguarded Land over the remaining Plan period. Some of these requirements could be provided for through the Site Allocations and Development Policies Development Plan Document (SADPD) and / or Neighbourhood Plans.
Alderley Park also remains in the revised Local Plan Strategy as an allocated site, as a life science park with the opportunity to provide 200 to 300 dwellings.
The Final Site Selection reports can be downloaded from the Cheshire East Council Local Plan Examination Library, which also include details of the all the sites considered in the site selection process and the reasons for their decisions.