Cheshire East targets June for Local Plan resubmission

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

The revised Local Plan for Cheshire East is due to go out to public consultation in March and April, and is set to include new development sites to accommodate the 36,000 homes required in the borough by 2030.

The examination into the plan was suspended by inspector Stephen Pratt in 2014 to allow further work to be carried out on key evidence areas.

Pratt previously outlined “serious shortcomings with the council’s objective assessment of housing need and future provision”.

The Local Plan initially proposed a minimum of 27,000 houses between 2010 and 2030, averaging 1,350 homes a year. The council has now increased the number of dwellings by 33% to 36,000 by 2030, and has increased the requirement for new jobs from 13,900 to 31,400 on 930-acres of land.

In December, Pratt published interim views on the updated evidence put forward by the council, and said that while the council “has produced an impressive and comprehensive set of additional evidence” the revised figures would have “significant and wide-ranging implications for the submitted Local Plan”.

Pratt was wary about expressing his opinions on the plan too clearly in his interim statement, as he didn’t want to sway the results of “a full and unfettered” public consultation.

The proposed amendments to the plan are due to go before Cheshire East’s full council at the end of February for approval, and then will be put out to public consultation in March and April.

The council is aiming to present the amended plan to the planning inspector in June, with examinations hearings expected to resume in early autumn.

Cllr Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of the Local Plan, said: “The positive views expressed by the inspector have enabled the council to make amendments to our local plan with confidence and publish these for consultation.

“We therefore propose to take a report to a full meeting of the council at the end of February, setting out proposed amendments to the plan.

“This will include a comprehensive suite of development sites to accommodate the larger scale of growth now planned for the borough. Following a period of full consultation, during March and April, further examination hearings are expected to be held in early autumn.”

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