‘New challenge’ beckons for Cheshire East
The imminent adoption of Cheshire East’s Local Plan means greater investor certainty and a firm foundation for the borough’s key projects, the local authority’s senior planner has told Place North West.
Cheshire East announced last week that a planning inspector had declared its plan sound. Speaking to Place, Adrian Fisher, head of strategic and economic planning, said: “It’s a major milestone for the council – we’ve been under examination since 2014 and it’s been a long and complex process. The plan has had a thorough going-over and will be a better plan for it.”
In welcoming the decision last week, HOW Planning managing partner Gary Halman noted that “’planning by appeal’ is not good for developers or communities,” but in response, Fisher maintained that developers haven’t turned away from the borough during the process.
“We’ve got great developer interest,” he said. “Sites dependent on the green belt have had to wait in the wings, but there should never be too high an expectation with any green belt development, which is far from easy at any point. What we now have is investor certainty. With the large projects we have, that’s welcome.”
Fisher referred specifically to the South Cheshire Growth Village close to Weston and the North Cheshire Garden Village near Handforth, one of a tranche of garden villages proposed by government at the turn of 2017. The key landholder is the Duchy of Lancaster in the former case, and the council in the latter.
Fisher said: “With adoption of the Local Plan due, one challenge is over, but a new challenge begins. We need to make sure our exemplar projects are delivered in the right way, with the quality everyone hopes for.”