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Our Local Plan is at least a year away

30th October 2013 @ 6:06am – by Audlem reporter
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Yesterday, in an article promoting this Friday afternoon's Planning meeting in the Public Hall, we said it beggared belief that it can take four and half years to produce a Local Plan and 5-year housing supply figure. But that was before we received this news!

It will take at least another year for Cheshire East to get a new workable Local Plan in place, councillors will be told.

Councillors meet on Friday to vote through details of the Core Strategy of its draft Local Plan before putting the document out to public consultation.

But a report to the council's Strategic Communities Committee warns: "The responsibility for adopting the Core Strategy will ultimately rest with the Council and it is hoped that this can be achieved by late 2014."

"The document will then provide the necessary strategic planning framework for determining planning applications."

Meanwhile speculative developers are queuing up to get appeals heard and building under way as government policy relaxes restrictions on building in the countryside.

Friday's meeting is only the start of a long process before the draft Local Plan can become a workable legal document.

If approved, as expected, it will be followed by a six week period to invite further comments and representations with any modifications implemented by next Spring.

Then there follows a further six week period to check the 'soundness' of the plan before it is sent to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

A Planning Inspector then holds a public examination to test the document's legal compliance and people or organisations can submit comments or request more changes before the Inspector arranges a Pre-Examination hearing,

"It is anticipated that the Examination will commence in the summer of 2014 with the Inspector's Report expected towards the end of next year," says the report.

The report admits the council's Core Strategy will need an overhaul to meet stringent tests. Population forecasts will have to be revised in the light of latest Census figures while the council's housing land supply figures have been called into serious question by recent appeal decisions.

The report says the original annual build rate of 1,150 houses will have to rise to at least 1,350 homes per year if Cheshire East is to now meet government targets.

Until the Local Plan is in place, planning applications for new housing estates will be tested against the government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which has a presumption in favour of building on greenfield sites.

It means that speculative developers will have at least another year to press ahead with housing proposals, confident they have a good chance of winning on appeal.

As the report points out: "The Council has made considerable progress in the production of a Local Plan ... but in the absence of a plan-led approach, the planning authority is becoming increasingly vulnerable to speculative planning applications for major housing and employment sites."

"The finalisation of an adopted Core Strategy is therefore of the utmost priority in determining a sustainable development strategy framework for the Borough."


This article is from our news archive. As a result pictures or videos originally associated with it may have been removed and some of the content may no longer be accurate or relevant.

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