Cheshire East targets faster planning decisions

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Cheshire East Council has launched a new initiative which aims to fast-track planning applications for large schemes, in order to deliver planning decisions “at an appropriate point in the development timetable”.

A report ahead of the council’s cabinet meeting on 10 November outlines progress in establishing a new team within the development management service, made up of two planning officers who will work with developers on planning performance agreements.

Developers behind large projects will pay an additional fee to cover what the council described as “additional resource costs required to deliver the application decision within the set timeframe”.

The timetable will be agreed with the developer and will vary according to the size of the project.

The projects will be mainly in urban areas but will also include a small number of schemes that support rural communities.

The type of applications that are eligible will be “those types of projects that are of the greatest significance in Cheshire East in terms of generating new jobs and/or new houses”.

The criteria are:

  • projects creating more than 200 jobs that are new to Cheshire East
  • Housing schemes for more than 500 houses
  • Council disposal applications for major schemes that unlock other sites or directly deliver new jobs and/or houses
  • A small number of other schemes that release grant aid

According to the council, the team is already in discussions with the developers behind plans for a new quarry site in Goostrey, the 400-acre Alderley Park, and a 1,100-home development at Kingsley fields in Nantwich.

In a report ahead of the cabinet meeting, Caroline Simpson, executive director of economic growth and prosperity at the council, said: “Cheshire East Council is committed to supporting economic growth and prosperous communities. The planning process plays a major role in both supporting appropriate development and it is essential that the Council has a dynamic and proactive approach to planning which serves our local residents and businesses.”

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