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Feeding frenzy at county hall

31st October 2013 @ 6:06am – by Audlem reporter
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As our local MP prepares for a public meeting on planning issues this Friday, next month's meeting of Cheshire East's Strategic Planning Board makes sobering reading.

The predicted 'feeding frenzy' of developers looks well under way with no fewer than seven planning applications for major housing developments on the agenda.

Cheshire East planning chiefs warned earlier this month of an unprecedented number of planning applications and appeals in the pipeline as developers exploit the loophole left by the council's failure to get a Local Plan in place.

Among applications to be heard at the Strategic Planning Board on November 6th are proposals for 275 dwellings at Shavington; up to 400 new houses at Leighton; 80 homes at Holmes Chapel; 175 residential dwellings at Wilmslow; 22 houses at Willaston; 44 homes at Haslington and an application to approve plans for 91 homes at Bollington.

The recent rejection of Cheshire East's housing supply figures in the Local Plan will have given developers confidence that, even if Cheshire East refuses applications for new homes, they can get their planning approval on appeal.

Until Cheshire East can get its Local Plan in place, planning applications will be tested against the government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which has a presumption in favour of building on greenfield sites.

Councillors have already been told that it will take at least another year to get a workable Local Plan signed off, leaving the local authority in its own words "increasingly vulnerable to speculative planning applications for major housing and employment sites".

Local MP Stephen O'Brien and Audlem ward councillor Rachel Bailey could face difficult questions at a public meeting on Friday to discuss "planning issues" with local residents.

Audlem is currently fighting two applications for major housing schemes in the village and rumours of at least one more to come.

Earlier this month Audlem Parish Council was told that Cheshire East was "under siege" from speculative developers.

Senior borough planners described the current spate of planning applications as an "opportunistic feeding frenzy".


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