"Local Plan fails to meet the test of localism"


Wilmslow Town Council has submitted its comments for the Planning Inspector who will consider the Cheshire East Local Plan saying that, despite all the consultation responses, the plan does not reflect many of the local priorities.

The letter to the Inspector says:

"Despite CEC going through three major consultations which engaged Wilmslow residents in numbers not seen previously, the submitted plan contains very little of the local priorities.

"Wilmslow is surrounded by greenbelt and the creative use of brownfield, windfall and previously developed greenbelt land is critical to retaining the character of Wilmslow, yet the local plan gives relatively little attention to the use of this land and appears to proactively direct developers to greenbelt and greenspace. If there is a requirement on Cheshire East Council to ensure effective local consultation, then the Local Plan fails to meet the test of localism despite the number of consultations entered into.

"The Town Council, aware of local feelings towards greenbelt, has tried within the process to apply a common sense approach. We accept the need for some development and that the safeguarded land at Adlington Road should be developed, albeit later in the term of the Local Plan when critical infrastructure issues could be effectively overcome.

"Whilst residents have opposed greenbelt development in all forms the Town Council recognises the Royal London site as having potential to develop further at little detriment to the town and allowing for the growth in commercial capacity over the duration of the plan. The determination of Cheshire East Council to add residential development on this site reduces the commercial capacity of the site and results in the need for the local plan to identify a second commercial site between the A34 and the railway line that reduces significantly the visual greenbelt gap separating Wilmslow from Alderley Edge.

"The proposed new settlement at Handforth East is to all intent and purposes in Wilmslow and is due to provide c1650 homes over a phased period, despite this and with land on the same site being safeguarded for an additional 500 homes beyond the life of the proposed plan. The Local Plan tells us that Wilmslow has been identified for significant areas of safeguarded land, disproportionate to that seen across the Cheshire East area. It is felt that the people living in Wilmslow in 2030 should be the ones to have the say as to where development should be placed and as a result believe that safeguarding for a maximum of 200 homes is sufficient for the proposed Cheshire East Local Plan, these being best accommodated in the well screened site at the junction of the A34 and Prestbury Road.

"The houses built, under construction and with full planning permission, since 2010, the potential brownfield developments, the safeguarded land at Adlington Road and the huge Handforth East development (new settlement) that sits literally adjacent to the Wilmslow parish boundary, more than satisfy the housing need in this part of Cheshire East over the next 20 years.

"To summarise:

  • The Royal London site should be commercial development only
  • CEC should prioritise brownfield and windfall sites for development in their 5 year supply
  • The Adlington Road site should not be part of the 5 year supply but developed later in the plan period
  • The proposed commercial site adjacent to the A34 should remain as a visual greenbelt barrier between Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.
  • The safeguarded site west of Upcast Lane should maintain its status and be removed from the Local Plan as a safeguarded site. This piece of land forms a key part of the green belt in separating Wilmslow from Chorley Village.
  • The safeguarded land off Prestbury Road should be reduced in size take up only the western aspect of the proposed site and accommodate no more than 200 houses."

The deadline for submitting comments on Cheshire East's Local Plan before it goes to Secretary of State is 5pm today (Friday 25th April).

Local Plan, Wilmslow Town Council


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

Graham Jackson
Friday 25th April 2014 at 9:49 am
In other words - ram in all the development for Cheshire East in Wilmslow/Handforth. We don't give a monkeys because a) it will only effect this area and we won't have to upset the rest of the County and b) we own the land and so we will get plenty of money and c) the area will be taken over by Greater Manchester any how. So it's win win for all of us except the residents in question - but that's fine as we won't be responsible any longer, we will have banked the money and our developer mates will still be happy bunnies.
Mario West
Saturday 26th April 2014 at 2:51 pm
Stockport Council are even more critical of the Local Plan.

Stuart Redgard
Sunday 27th April 2014 at 2:05 am
Stockport Councils representations are very interesting and very well put. Lets hope the inspector listens to what they have to say.
Terry Roeves
Tuesday 29th April 2014 at 7:29 pm
Turing Drive SK9 2ST is a classic example of a CEC site, a former school, crammed now with 15 houses, cars parked on the pavements and more so at school run times. And they will have to contend with even more school traffic IF 193 houses are built on Adlington Road, planning reference 14/0007M. Residents of Turing Drive really do need to look at the plans very carefully and comment as they see fit.
It was optimised for council profit and what does Wilmslow get in return? I really do not know. Sorry but I really really don't know.
Now IMO Handforth East is continuing along the same path, but on a larger scale. Wilmslow and Handforth residents views were ignored. Stockport MBC views were ignored. The project engineers for the Airport Link Road, A555, had traffic volumes that excluded Handforth East, it's inspirational apparently, so all in all we count for little.
I frequently refer to my WTC Councillor, Phil Enstone - I have found him to be most helpful. I struggle with CEC - I wish that I didn't.