Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has ruled against Cheshire East Council in two appeals, giving planning consent to almost 400 homes despite contradicting Neighbourhood Plans in Brereton and Sandbach.
The proposals by Gladman Developments, for 190 homes off London Road in Holmes Chapel, and 190 homes off Abbey Road in Sandbach, were refused by the council in 2015. In April this year, Government planning inspectors held public inquiries into both, and recommended that the council’s refusal be overturned.
According to the Secretary of State’s decision letters to Gladman, Cheshire East Council’s lack of five-year housing land supply was a major factor in his decision. While Cheshire East’s draft Local Plan is in the process of going through a public examination, “a number of significant issues remain unresolved” meaning that it can only be “afforded limited weight”.
Both the Brereton Neighbourhood Plan, which covers Holmes Chapel, and the Sandbach Neighbourhood Plan came into force in April this year.
Due to the absence of a Local Plan, the judgment letters advised that policies relevant to the supply of housing in the Congleton Local Plan, and Neighbourhood Plans, “should be regarded as out of date”.
Cheshire East Council has previously said that it is one of the most proactive boroughs in the country by encouraging communities to form Neighbourhood Plans for their area, which are intended to help local people to have greater influence over planning decisions and prevent “unplanned and unsustainable development.”