Examination of plan for future development of Wilmslow gets underway

An independent examination of the draft Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan is currently underway to ensure it is in compliant with planning and European regulations and is acceptable as a planning policy document applicable to Wilmslow.

Examiner Wendy Burden has confirmed that she is satisfied with the copy of the draft plan and accompanying documentation, which will enable her to undertake the examination.

She wrote "Subject to my detailed assessment of the Plan, I have not at this initial stage identified any very significant and obvious flaws in it that might lead me to advise that the examination should not proceed."

Ms Burden will be carrying out an unaccompanied site visit to the neighbourhood plan area to assist her assessment of the draft plan, including the issues identified in the representations.

She added "At this stage, I consider the examination can be conducted solely by the written representations procedure, without the need for a hearing. However, I will reserve the option to convene a hearing should a matter or matters come to light where I consider that a hearing is necessary to ensure the adequate examination of an issue, or to ensure that a person has a fair chance to put a case."

The intention is to conduct the examination, including the site visit, with a view to providing a draft report (for 'fact checking') within 4 to 6 weeks of submission of the plan. However, if the examiner has to request additional information then the examination timetable would be extended.

Following inspection, and any alterations if required, Cheshire East Council will open a six week period of consultation before arranging a local referendum at which the residents of Wilmslow will be asked to vote for or against acceptance of the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan has been drawn up by the working group over the last three years. During this time three consultations with the residents and businesses in the town have taken place which have contributed to and influenced the development of the policies and aspirations contained within the plan.

The objectives outlined in the Neighbourhood Plan include: sustaining Wilmslow as a desirable place to live, work and play by providing new homes for all ages which address local needs; promoting Wilmslow as a thriving and diverse business community; promoting Wilmslow as a destination rich in community and leisure facilities and promoting a healthly community which has excellent access to green and open spaces.

Additionally it aims to enhance and protect Wilmslow's designated and non-designated heritage assets; creating new opportunities for biodiversity; maximising the visual quality of the town centre and creating a safe, pedestrian friendly environment and support the improvement of public transport.

Images: Artist's impressions of how the town centre could be developed: improved public realm and pedestrian connections along The Rex frontage; improved parking and pedestrian environment with enhanced link to the library and potential for a transformed Alderley Road and Green Lane junction with residential apartments overlooking the new public space.

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Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan
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Comments

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

David Wood
Thursday 18th April 2019 at 11:11 am
If Brexit finally happens will the independant board refund the cost toWilmslow for wasted time and effort complying with European legislation ????
Sam Cummings
Thursday 18th April 2019 at 2:40 pm
From what I can tell from these abstract pictures... there would be a lot of changing pavements and roads for the sake of it looking 'prettier'.

I love Wilmslow, I love living here and yes I think the town needs a spruce up but these pictures look like a hell of a lot of money for more pavement space that I don't think anyone has asked for.

Why not just make use of what's already there? You want a nice tree area for people to sit? Why not use that little slice of land at the end of Grove street which is in desperate need of having something done to it - a market, picnic tables, anything really.

I honestly can't think of anything worse than having to drive through or wander around Wilmslow whilst these kinds of giant changes take place.
David Smith
Monday 22nd April 2019 at 1:18 pm
This all sounds too much like a BREXIT style referendum - and we all have pretty strong views about HOW with hindsight it was presented to us. The sort of referendum I want is NOT a choice of YES or NO to whatever cunning plan has been devised on our behalf, by persons we do not know and have no idea of their suitability to produce a plan. What I want is the ability to vote Yes or NO to the many aspects of the plan so that I can agree with parts of it and disagree with other parts of it. This way a better idea can be obtained as to how WE the residents want our town to be 'messed about with' or put politely - 'tinkered with' by well-meaning persons who may have the right sort of ideas that WE residents would like. Or then again - perhaps they might not. Only a properly constructed referendum will give a useable response. Surely we should all agree with that sort of referendum by now?
Roger Bagguley
Monday 22nd April 2019 at 9:08 pm
The Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan is born out of what the people of Wilmslow told the group they like and dislike about Wilmslow, and how they would like to see our town develop into the future. It has been a fully democratic process carried out over a period of two years or more.

An example of how peoples' wishes can happen, as a result of the very first consultation the Rex Cinema is now returned to the town.

As for Brexit the choice was in or out. It was not in or out if we like a deal. It is those playing politics who are disenfranchising the people. The Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan is for the people by the people with no politics involved at all. Refreshing I will say.
David Jefferay
Tuesday 23rd April 2019 at 10:23 am
@David Smith, my understanding is that the referendum for the Neighbourhood Plan is mandated as yes-no by the legislation. I think the input you are talking about should have been addressed during its compilation and the consultation phases carried out over the past couple of years.

I would say that if there are parts of it that you really don't like and can't live with, your vote has to be no.

One final point is that although it is owned by the Town Council, the Neighbourhood Plan has been compiled by a group of volunteer residents...it genuinely isn't a political thing and the Town Council (or Cheshire East Council for that matter) hasn't interfered with the content. If you need further reassurance on that I would encourage you to contact the Neighbourhood Plan Group itself for a chat (contact details on the website i would imagine).