Cheshire East local plan hearings begin next week
The final examination hearings for the Cheshire East local plan strategy for housing development will begin on Tuesday 16 September before a planning inspector at Macclesfield Town Hall.
Members of the public and any organisations are welcome to attend the hearings, but the inspector will only hear statements from those parties who made representations on the submission version of the plan.
The hearings are set to continue until the end of October. The Government-appointed planning inspector is Stephen Pratt, and the programme officer is Kerry Trueman.
The local plan strategy document sets out the council's case for sustainable economic growth and is the strategy that the council wants to adopt to manage development in Cheshire East up to 2030.
The local plan and all associated documents, including the comments received during the representation period, were submitted to the Secretary of State for communities and local government in May.
The strategy has undergone nine rounds of public consultation since 2010, and the final six-week consultation in March and April 2013 attracted 3,500 responses from 650 individuals and organisations.
Following the submission in May, Pratt sent the council a list of clarifications required ahead of the examination hearings, including details of why certain sites were chosen to be released from the Green Belt, the location of employment land, and housing plans for the High Peak District. He also outlined concerns over the accuracy of data used to create the council's housing projection figures for the next two decades.
The local plan has repeatedly come under criticism from planning inspectors due to the lack of demonstrable five-year supply. In the last two years, Cheshire East Council has lost numerous planning appeals, where it had rejected schemes on the basis that they did not fit with the local plan. It said that the new houses were not needed in order to meet its five-year housing target. However planning inspectors have repeatedly ruled that Cheshire East will miss its target unless it increases its development pipeline.
Cllr David Brown, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "We are very much looking forward to presenting our case at these hearings and demonstrating that we have a properly prepared, thorough and sound plan."
For further information regarding the local plan visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan