A public consultation has begun on the next phase of Cheshire East Council's development plan, which once finalised document will provide the framework for housing, employment, and other key infrastructure sites up to 2030.
The Local Plan Strategy, which was adopted in July 2017, allocated sites for development and employment land in the Key Service Centres (i.e. the main towns), The council has now launched a number of consultations, which will help identify further non-strategic sites for development, including housing. However, no final decisions will be made until the consultation process is concluded and all feedback considered.
The site allocations and development policy document (SADPD) follows a similar pathway to the Local Plan Strategy, with two rounds of six-week public consultations, supported by a range of evidence documents and followed up with a series of public hearings chaired by a government planning inspector.
When adopted, the SADPD will replace the policies of the three former borough local plans, covering Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe and Nantwich.
The majority of development needs have already been provided for through the Local Plan Strategy.
The sites in the SADPD will be non-strategic – generally sites of fewer than 150 homes or five hectares (12.4 acres) in size. Some will be focused in key employment areas in principal towns, or in smaller key service centres, including Alderley Edge.
The proposals included in this document for Alderley Edge are:
- allocation of site ALD1 (adjacent to Jenny Heyes) for approximately 10 dwellings*
- allocation of site ALD2 (adjacent to Ryleys Farm) for approximately 75 dwellings
- allocation of site ALD3 (adjacent to Ryleys Farm) of 2ha safeguarded land for housing**
- allocation of site ALD4 (Horseshoe Farm) of 0.75ha of safeguarded land for employment**
Councillor Craig Browne, ward councillor for Alderley Edge. said "Whilst the proposed housing allocation is slightly lower than expected and may yet fall further by the time a final version of the document is sent to the inspector, the proposed locations still represent a significant challenge for us if we are to ensure that the necessary investment in parking and green infrastructure is to be delivered concurrently. I would strongly encourage all residents to register their views via the official consultation portal."
The council must also meet its obligation to provide affordable housing, Gypsy and Traveller sites and sites for Travelling Showpeople and, as part of the consultation process, is now calling for potential sites to be identified.
A further element of public consultation is the review of planning boundaries, such as those for greenbelt and built-up areas. But there will also be measures to protect land regarded as important for biodiversity and recreation.
Consultations on sustainability appraisal and habitats regulations have now begun, which look at the SADPD's contribution to sustainable development and its impact on internationally-designated nature conservation sites.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: "I would urge all interested members of the community to get involved in this important consultation process.
"We know that Cheshire East is a truly great place to live, work, do business, raise a family and have access to good schools and quality housing. It is crucial that this next phase in the local plan process is open and transparent and that we encourage as many people as possible, including stakeholders and partners, to engage in this consultation process.
"Our Local Plan Strategy and the SADPD are absolutely central to the achievement of sustainable development in the borough – so I would urge people to get involved and have their say."
The council is also consulting on a revised and updated 'statement of community involvement', which sets out how the council will engage with stakeholders and the wider public when preparing planning policies and considering planning applications.
As previously announced, this week also saw the start of a consultation on the draft supplementary planning document for the Garden Village at Handforth, which includes a masterplan and design guide to inform development on this important site.
The council will hold a consultation drop-in session at Handforth Library on Tuesday 25 September from 3pm-7pm, where more information will be available on this draft.
The consultations run until 22 October 2018.
* this site is actually in Wilmslow, but in planning terms is considered part of Alderley Edge
** safeguarded for development during a future plan period, i.e. after 2030.