Cheshire East Council is launching a consultation on the second part of the Local Plan, which invites people to have their say on a number of important issues including whether adjustments are required to the Green Belt boundary around Wilmslow and where additional smaller development sites should be located.
The authority's Local Plan Strategy sets out the strategic framework for development until 2030 and has been broadly backed by a planning inspector, subject to some necessary changes. Now the council is seeking views on its 'daughter document' – the Site Allocations and Development Policies (SADP) – which provides much more detail.
The SADP will allocate additional sites for development, these will be smaller sites within town centres, the larger villages and rural areas and generally they will be sites of less than 150 homes or 5 hectares in size.
It will also set out more detailed policies to guide planning application decisions in the Borough. As part of this, boundaries will be reviewed or established around towns and villages to guide the location of new development at a local level, and around town centres to support investment in them. Land that needs particular protection will be designated, for example, because of its significance to biodiversity or the historic environment.
Whilst the first part of the Cheshire East Local Plan focused on Key Service Centres, including Wilmslow and Handforth, the second stage will look at the Local Service Centres. There are 13 of these - Alderley Edge, Audlem, Bollington, Bunbury, Chelford, Disley, Goostrey, Haslington, Holmes Chapel, Mobberley, Prestbury, Shavington and Wrenbury.
There remains 1125 homes and 3.56 hectares of employment land to be identified across the 13 Local Service Centres to meet the targets established in the Local Plan Strategy.
This second part of the Council's Local Plan will contain further site allocations as necessary to ensure that the overall development requirements, as set out in the Local Plan Strategy, are met.
The first step in preparing the SADPD is called the 'Issues Paper' which sets out key questions for residents, businesses and stakeholders to respond to.
Some of the issues raised in this consultation include how the development requirement of the Local Service Centres should be apportioned and whether any further adjustments to the Green Belt boundary are required around Macclesfield and the Key Service Centres (Handforth, Knutsford, Poynton and Wilmslow) and around the Local Service Centres inset within the Green Belt (Alderley Edge, Bollington, Chelford, Disley, Mobberley and Prestbury).
The consultation on the Issues Paper is supported by a 'call for sites', providing an opportunity for landowners and developers to make the Council aware of sites that they consider to be suitable for development. This will include sites for additional housing, employment, retail and leisure and other types of development.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East cabinet member for housing and planning, said: "Now that the Local Plan Strategy is nearing completion we want to press on and complete the second, more detailed stage of the plan. This will provide our towns and villages with a greater depth of policies and proposals.
"At this point, it's very much 'early days' in this particular process and so we are encouraging all who have an interest in development and who care about the future of our borough to get involved in the consultation.
"The Local Plan is the council's most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East to 2030, so I would encourage people to take the time to share their views."
The Site Allocations and Development Policies' Issues Paper will be subject to a six-week consultation from Monday, February 21st until April 10 (2017). Following this, an initial draft plan will be prepared and further consultation will follow.
The document is accompanied by a 'call for sites' so the council can gain an up-to-date picture of what land is potentially available for future development. Landowners and developers with suitable sites are being asked to put them forward during the consultation process. This call for sites will replace previous versions.
The SADPD will be prepared throughout 2017 with a view to publishing the version that it intends to submit to the Secretary of State in the first quarter of 2018. The SADPD forms part of the Local Plan for Cheshire East, along with the LPS, and once adopted they will replace the three district Local Plans for Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton and Macclesfield.
As previously reported, a separate six-week consultation on 'main modifications' to the Local Plan Strategy, called by Planning Inspector Stephen Pratt, is already running and ends on March 20.