Neighbourhood forums contribute to county plan

Town centre plans by pilot neighbourhoods forums in four Cheshire towns have been included in the draft Local Plan for Cheshire East Council, which opens for consultation this week.

There are draft town strategies for Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich and Sandbach in the plan, which has been drawn up by the forums in conjunction with the council as administrator of the pilots. Powers to create neighbourhood forums which could draw up plans for their local areas to influence development and encourage growth were included in the Localism Act.

The draft plans include development options for key sites and eyesores in each town, such as redundant land and vacant buildings.

In Alsager, the development options include a mixed-use scheme on 54 acres of former Manchester Metropolitan University campus.

In Sandbach, potential development areas have been identified that would accommodate 950 homes and provide 91 acres of employment land by 2030. Priority is given to existing town centre brownfield sites but greenfield sites in agricultural settings next to junction 17 of the M6 and west of the A534 Wheelock bypass are also suggested.

Cllr David Brown, Cabinet member with responsibility for performance and capacity, said: "We've put a lot of thought into how the environment of the various towns can be improved. We've looked at how new development can boost infrastructure, such as roads, open spaces and schools.

"The draft strategies include lots of ideas for future development in each town. But I want to make clear that no decisions have been made about any of the sites suggested – we want to know what you think about them first.

"We want everyone who lives or works in the four towns to look at the plans and give us their thoughts. I particularly want to encourage young people to tell us what they want their towns to be like.

"Once completed the Town Strategies will to be used to prepare the new Local Plan for Cheshire East."

  • The consultation period will last for one month from Friday 2 March. The proposals will be available to view online at There will also be exhibitions in the towns' libraries between 2 and 17 March, during normal opening hours. Paper copies can be completed and put in one of the marked boxes at libraries in Alsager, Congleton, Middlewich and Sandbach. They can also be handed in at the Council offices in Sandbach, or posted to: Freepost RSRX-YYYE-AYRS, Spatial Planning, Cheshire East Council, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach, CW11 1HZ. For further information contact the spatial planning team on 01270 685893 or email them at

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We’d just like to clarify that the draft Town Strategies have been drawn up by the advisory stakeholder panels and signed off by the relevant town councils. They do not form the draft Local Plan for Cheshire East as stated in the article. Once finalised, the Town Strategies will form part of the evidence base used to develop the draft Local Plan.

By Cheshire East Spatial Planning

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