Hearings resume into Cheshire East draft Local Plan

The public inquiry into Cheshire East’s revised draft Local Plan resumes next week, two years on from when the examination into the strategy was put on hold by the planning inspector.

The authority has presented its amended Local Plan, following comments and submissions during six weeks of public consultation earlier this year.

The blueprint, which aims to shape development across the borough up to 2030, will now be examined in a series of public hearings by inspector Stephen Pratt.

The hearings start in Congleton on 13 September and are due to finish on 21 October.

The draft Local Plan includes a range of new development sites to support an increased target of 36,000 homes needed in the borough by 2030.

When first published in 2014, the plan proposed a minimum of 27,000 houses between 2010 and 2030, averaging 1,350 homes a year. The first examination began in September 2014, and by the start of October had been adjourned by Pratt to allow for further research, after he expressed concerns about the legal compliance and soundness of the plan.

During the work of the past two years, the council increased the number of dwellings proposed by 33% to 36,000. The requirement for new jobs has gone up from 13,900 to 31,400 on 930-acres of land.

The Council received a total of 19,572 representations from 4,679 members of the public or groups during the most recent consultation.

Cllr Ainsley Arnold, who is overseeing the Local Plan process, said: “This revised Local Plan Strategy is the Council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East up to 2030 and we now look forward to moving forward towards its examination and formal adoption.

“All told we have received a total of more than 60,000 responses in the various consultations to arrive at our draft LPS. This represents an unprecedented level of interest in a council consultation process and I’m sure this additional period of consultation has allowed everyone to feel they have had time and opportunity to have their say.

“I am pleased that the revised document is going forward and I am confident that the LPS is comprehensive and robust. Cheshire East’s LPS includes a comprehensive suite of development sites to accommodate the larger scale of growth now expected and planned for in the borough.”

Updated evidence, completed during the earlier suspension of the inspector’s examination, necessitated revisions to the main strategic policies relating to housing, economic growth, development and green belt. The wording of policies was amended to reflect the outcome of the new evidence. This has now been publicly consulted on and further changes made.

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