Cheshire East Council's revised development framework for the borough has been declared 'sound' by an independent planning inspector.
The draft plan, known as the site allocation and development policy document (SADPD),
contained changes followingfourrounds of consultations with residents and local councils and had taken on board a wide range of comments from the public.
The SADPD supports the council's Local Plan Strategy, which was adopted in 2017, and subject to formal adoption by the council in December, would complete the approved framework for housing, employment and other key infrastructure up to 2030.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, told yesterday's meeting of full council: "I am pleased to say that the planning inspector has concluded in his report that the SADPD is 'sound' and capable of adoption, subject to some amendments, known as 'main modifications'.
"The receipt of the inspector's report marks the end of the examination stage and enables the council to adopt the plan. This will be considered at the next meeting of full council, on 14 December.
"Upon adoption, the SADPD would replace all of the remaining 'saved' policies in the local plans prepared by the three former borough councils. In their place would be an up-to-date suite of planning policies covering the whole borough, more closely aligned with our corporate priorities – policies that support the wellbeing of our residents and protect our environment, including measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change."
The document sets out revised planning policies to guide decisions on planning applications. It also identifies a number of additional smaller sites for future housing and employment schemes. However, most development needs have already been provided for, via the adopted Local Plan Strategy.
Revisions made to the SADPD, following extensive consultations, were:
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "The site allocations and development policy document will have a pivotal role in guiding planning application decisions and thus help shape and protect the quality of the places in which we live in our beautiful borough."
The first part of the council's Local Plan, the Local Plan Strategy, was adopted in July 2017. It sets out the vision and overall spatial strategy for the borough to 2030. It includes strategic policies and allocates 'strategic sites' for development.
The SADPD is the second part of the Local Plan. Its purpose is to make provision, where necessary, for additional, generally smaller sites to accommodate growth.
The inspector's examination assessed whether the plan had been prepared in accordance with legal and procedural requirements and if it is sound, well prepared, effective and consistent with national policy. The inspector considered evidence provided by the council to support the plan and representations put forward by local people and other interested parties.
A list of the main modifications to be made to the SADPD before adoption by the council are set out in the inspector's report. They cover a wide range of policies and are being made to improve their alignment with national planning policy and strengthen aspects of them, so they can be applied more effectively when deciding planning applications.
Very positively, key proposals in the plan have been supported by the inspector, which include:
For further information about the Local Plan and links to key documents, visit our website at: cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan
To view the inspector's report, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/sadpd