Cheshire East’s Local Plan through the back door
With the Cheshire East Local Plan process now proposed to extend to at least the end of 2016, the Council has adopted a policy in the meantime which should make it easier for applicants who are proposing large schemes to have their applications fast-tracked.
Caroline Simpson, the Council’s executive director of economic growth and prosperity, said in the report regarding the policy that, ‘The planning process plays a major role in 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.’
Cheshire East Council is clearly keen to be seen as open to development, with the Leader of the Council, Michael Jones, being a strong supporter of the HS2 project and commenting favourably on the recent announcement of the Northern Gateway Partnership, which seeks to unlock growth and investment opportunities across Cheshire and North Staffordshire, including more than 100,000 new homes by 2040.
Despite the issues with the Local Plan process, the rhetoric from the Council, and the new policy to fast-track applications, demonstrates that it appears to want to attract developers as much as developers want to invest. The Council is coming under a lot of pressure from all sides to develop and implement a Local Plan, but these sides, in many cases, are at loggerheads. It will be interesting to see whether the latest plans to fast-track larger ‘appropriate’ applications helps the Council to direct investment where it believes it is needed, and makes life easier for developers as they wait patiently for the Local Plan.
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