Cheshire East announces timetable for local plan

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

A timetable has been released for the Cheshire East local plan examination which takes into account the forthcoming local and national elections and allows the council until the end of July to submit additional evidence.

Importantly, the timetable allows the council to hold engagement sessions after the elections. Staging these during the pre-election period is problematic because of the communication restrictions that apply to public bodies.

During the pre-election period, local authorities are barred from organising meetings at which candidates may make political statements.

A letter from the planning inspectorate said that Stephen Pratt, the inspector leading the examination, 'fully understands the difficulties that the Council may have in convening engagement meetings with neighbouring authorities (and others) during the forthcoming election period'.

The public examination into Cheshire East's local plan was suspended in November after Pratt asked the council to supply further evidence into its housing supply estimates and co-operation with neighbouring authorities.

The local plan sets out the council's case for sustainable economic growth and is the strategy the council wants to adopt to manage development in Cheshire East up to 2030.

When Pratt released his interim views in November he highlighted 'serious shortcomings with the council's objective assessment of housing need and future provision'.

Caroline Simpson, executive director of economic growth and prosperity, said: "We welcome the agreed timetable because it avoids conflict with the busy election period.

"We look forward to submitting our revised evidence base in July and resuming the examination at the end of the summer."

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