Neighbourhood plans for Sandbach and Audlem have been given the green light by a planning examiner, and will now move to the referendum stage in the spring.
Sandbach Town and Audlem Parish councils are among the first in Cheshire East to take up the new neighbourhood planning powers and, following an independent examination, the examiner declared their plans meet and pass all the relevant tests.
If the referenda are successful, the policies in each plan will be brought into full effect and used when Cheshire East Council considers planning applications in Sandbach and Audlem.
The Audlem and Sandbach neighbourhood plans contain a number of policies designed to shape local development.
The Sandbach neighbourhood plan focuses on delivering local employment and protecting wildlife and green spaces around the town, while the Audlem plan emphasises good design and meeting the housing needs of local residents.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council’s Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said: “It is excellent that we are now at a stage where there will be a democratic process to decide if the proposed plans are robust and appropriate for the communities of Audlem and Sandbach.
“Sound and robust neighbourhood plans can allow communities to take ownership of planning policy, which directly impacts on their lives. They enable local people to develop policies to address those planning matters that affect not only their interests but also wellbeing.
“The next steps are to put the Sandbach and Audlem neighbourhood plans to their local residents and ask if they would like it to be used to inform and shape planning decisions. If half or more of those that vote are in favour of the plan, Cheshire East will formally ‘adopt’ it and bring it into force.”