A High Court judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Cheshire East’s Local Plan by Muller Strategic Projects, which was arguing that irregularities with the council’s air quality data affected the selection of sites and distribution of development in the plan.
The court ruled that Muller had no arguable case, with the judgement concluding that shortcomings in air quality data did not affect the substance of the Local Plan.
The creation and adoption of the Cheshire East Local Plan has been a long-running saga, which has seen a draft and re-draft, extensive examination by a Government planning inspector. It was formally adopted in July 2017, but shortly afterwards the council revealed that there were irregularities with its air quality data between 2012 and 2014, after discovering that the results had been manipulated to make certain areas appear cleaner in a “deliberate and systematic” way. An investigation by Cheshire Constabulary is currently ongoing.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: “I am delighted that the court has found in our favour and that the challenge to our local plan has been dismissed.
“We were convinced that acknowledged shortcomings in parts of our air quality data had no bearing on the Local Plan – and this view has now been confirmed by the court.
“We can now proceed with certainty to properly plan for the new homes, jobs and infrastructure this borough needs – whilst ensuring we have strong policies to protect the character and quality of our local environment.”
Muller has been contacted for comment.