Disappointment that final sites proposed for development don't reflect local opinion

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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.

Local Plan, Local Plan Strategy


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

Graham Shaw
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 10:26 am
As usual CEC ride roughshod over everyone - Town Council and residents alike. What is Wilmslow going to be like when all the houses are built at Handforth Village and the traffic spills out onto the A34? Will there be any Green Belt left in another 20-30 years?

This is not the area I moved into and love being part of.
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 11:00 am
Substantially written obo developers. We know that WTC have no ability to alter anything. A neighborhood plan won't make a scrap of difference either.
WTC do some good work for us, where they can get it done. This isn't one of them.
With the IMF forecast of a downturn in economic growth, it's stupid that CEC put forward numbers that are not post Brexit.
Roger Bagguley
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 11:29 am
Here are the housing figures produced by Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) up to date to 14th July 2016. Completions will go well above 100 when we next visit all of the sites currently on the under construction list.

Completions 98
Under construction 281
Approved 75
Committed 454

Registered 90

Committed in draft LP 551

Total committed 1005

RoW brown site urban potential 66
RoW Brown sites edge of urban potential 64

The above figures are taken from the Cheshire East Planning website weekly updates and are confirmed by RoW visiting approved sites on a regular basis. The figures Cheshire East have used throughout the Local Plan process have always lagged behind the actual. Thus, they are allocating more Green Belt for development than they need to. The required 900 houses is already exceeded with some 14 years to go in the Plan period. Windfall rates will take the actual figure by 2030 to well over the required figure at a cost to the Green Belt. It is clear that the build on brown site only policy that is at the core of what RoW is seeking to do is well worth sticking to. RoW will put the case very strongly that at least one of the sites allocated to housing can be removed from the Plan and that the Green Belt land allocated to jobs is well above the amount justified by the figures.

Cheshire East has once again chosen to ignore real evidence given to them within the public consultation. We are still positive in our belief that Mr Pratt, Government Inspector, has listened throughout and will make his final judgement accordingly.
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 11:57 am
Is anyone surprised that Cheshire East are pressing ahead in the face of local opinion? As someone who has actually read all the background evidence in the Local Plan Examination Library it has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. They will argue that all the "evidence" was done by "independent" organisations. Even a cursory look reveals that these Companies simply aim to deliver the "remit" given to them by Cheshire East. You only have to take a look at the number of "revisions" they have been through to know that, some even carry joint authorship with Cheshire East, - roughly translated this means that these Companies were not prepared to put their entire reputation at stake for the sake of Cheshire East.
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 12:17 pm
... given that the council has already commissioned an outside company to start working with the public on proposals for the aesthetics of NCGV ( which makes all the difference to me - I don't mind 2500 new houses on my green belt as long as the brick is the right colour), it was always going too be a whitewash. Handforth will have no green space left - building on north, west, south and east if we look at the Wilmslow sites that abut Handforth borders.

Well never mind, perhaps Cheshire East will lay on buses for us to go and look at green belt elsewhere is the county while we disappear into south Manchester.

The actions and arrogance of Cheshire East are a betrayal of the communities they are meant to be supporting. Please, let's all remember this at the next local election and vote for a different way
Chris Boothman
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 7:02 pm
Clearly the words Green Belt and Safeguarded Land mean nothing to Cheshire East. None of this does anything for affordable housing and young people trying to get a start in property. Developers, speculators, estate agents, buy to let, short term gain buyers will be rubbing their hands. Those of us who actually want a quality of life and love the place they call home, see loss of green space and overcrowded areas with no additional infrastructure plans. Cheshire East want all that extra council tax revenue without putting anything back into the community. What about saving Lindow peat bog, I guess not, nothing in it for Cheshire East. I agree Jackie, "betrayal of the communities" they should be serving. I wish I had the confidence in people to believe they would vote with a conscience and not just think about money like our council.
Sheila Rovira
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 10:27 pm
Why did we waste our time objecting to the clay lane ,sagers road site it was a done deal before we knew about it .build more houses in other parts of the country not on our patch enough is enough I could not print my thoughts on all these houses being built in Handforth
Estelle Lewis
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 10:42 pm
Why bother asking for local opinions when all the plans are a fait accompli?

As someone stated above, how much green belt is going to be left in a few years from now?

Something stinks here. Stinks of backhanders.

Publish this and be damned!!!
Nick Jones
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 6:53 am
26/2/16 Local Plan debate; Conservative councillors Including Menlove, elected to protect the green belt did quite the opposite…
28/2/14 Menlove, Barton and Whiteley party whip vote. NOT to protect Green belt...
Not aware of any explanation ever being proffered for either ..... Perhaps that can now be done on this forum ?

Of all the political sins, hypocrisy is worst, but then history does have a strange habit of repeating itself… Lyme Green ??
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 8:18 am
Estelle - it is the government paying out cash which is the real issue. It was estimated that the Adlington Road site would deliver to Cheshire East "up to £3 million" in "New Homes Bonus". That was for 204 dwellings. You can now see why Cheshire East want so many homes in the North of the Borough. The developers can make more profit there, the Council makes more profit from increased Council Tax + they get the new homes bonus. There is no incentive for them not to build on greenfields. That is the crux of the problem.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 9:27 am
From the RoW figures above it is clear there is over provision of housing within the Plan period with still 14 years until 2030.

Turning to employment, 10 hectares are required, 0.7 hectares are said to be in existence,11.3 hectares are allocated so now only 9.93 hectares are required. Since 2010 Waters has appeared as has Brybour Kennels, also on Altrincham Road but these do not seem to feature in the figures. I guess it will come down to mathematics with a deal of spin but RoW will present them to Mr Pratt in due course. The over allocation for both housing and employment must be addressed. It is Green Belt we are caring for here as per NPPF.

24 hectares of safeguarded land seems to be based upon a hunch. We are told that any needs 2030 - 2050 will have to be met on this safeguarded land; houses, offices, hotels, industry etc. So neighbours of Upcast Lane and Heathfield Farm beware, the nightmare not only continues but gets much worse. Politicians need to get a grip and I suggest the only ones who will will be Independents. All should play chess with the future before putting a cross on a voting paper.
Clive Cooksey
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 11:07 am
These little tin pot do gooders "experts" should take a hike.
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 12:54 pm
"take a hike" - preferably into the vanishing greenbelt?
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 21st July 2016 at 3:04 pm
No expert Cooksey. Just deal in facts.