CWAC local plan reaches final stage

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Cheshire West & Chester Council is set to approve the adoption of its local plan which will guide development in the borough for the next 20 years, subject to the inclusion of changes made by a government planning inspector.

The council has called a special meeting on Thursday 29 January to discuss the amends, with a recommendation to approve the adoption of the local plan.

The plan supports the provision of 22,000 homes in the area and around 14,000 additional people in employment. The strategy is to locate most new development in Chester, Northwich, Ellesmere Port and Winsford. According to the plan, there will be "sensitive release" of green belt land to the south of Chester around Wrexham Road to allow for 1,300 homes around the city.

A draft plan was submitted by the council for examination in December 2013, with an examination taking place in June and July 2014. Following the hearing, planning inspector Kevin Ward recommended non-adoption unless changes were made. The changes were consulted on in September.

The council received a report from Ward on the 15 December which ruled that the plan met "all the relevant legal requirements and provides an appropriate basis for the planning of the borough subject to a number of main modifications being made".

Legally the council cannot adopt the plan without making the recommendations made by Ward.

Alterations to the strategy include increasing planned housing at Ledsham Road in Ellesmere Port from 1,500 homes to 2,000, allowing flexibility for the redevelopment of employment sites into other uses, and clarifying geographical scope of the Northgate and Barons Quay schemes.

In a report ahead of the council meeting on Thursday, the plan process was described as "relatively smooth", with just over a year between submission and implementation of the plan.

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