A Planning Inspector has backed Cheshire East’s Local Plan for shaping future development.
It follows nearly three years of public comments and submissions on the council’s proposed strategic blueprint for the borough’s development to 2030. Most recently the Local Plan underwent a further six-week public consultation, which ended on October 20.
Planning Inspector Stephen Pratt has said the locations and extent of development proposed in the plan seem ‘appropriate, justified, effective, deliverable and soundly based’. He also said that issues relating to other strategic policies in the plan ‘seem to be capable of resolution by modifications’.
Mr Pratt added that the council’s further proposed changes to the Local Plan seem to address the changes ‘necessary to ensure that the revised plan is sound and legally compliant’.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, said today: “This is really good news for the people of Cheshire East and I am pleased that the inspector has recognised the thoroughness of our evidence gathering and public engagement.
“We are confident that our Local Plan, which is comprehensive and robust, will give the people of Cheshire East its best protection against unplanned and unsustainable development.
“I am really pleased that the incredible hard work of our officers and members has paid off and the revised plan has been supported by the inspector, subject to some necessary modifications.”
The focus of the recent round of public consultation was on the changes the council proposed to the plan it originally submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2014, in light of interim views by the planning inspector during examination. This included additional and amended strategic site allocations to accommodate the larger scale of growth now expected and planned for in the borough.
The Council received a total of 19,572 representations from 4,679 members of the public or groups during the most recent consultation. The Council had already previously received more than 40,000 responses to the original draft Local Plan during nine previous rounds of public consultation.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “The Local Plan is the council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East up to 2030 and we now look forward to moving forward to its formal adoption in the spring.
“There has been a tremendous response from our residents and other stakeholders during the extensive 10 rounds of public consultations on our proposals and I’m sure it has allowed everyone to feel they had the opportunity to have their say.
“All told, we received a total of more than 60,000 responses in the various consultations to arrive at our draft Local Plan. This represents an unprecedented level of interest in a council consultation process.
“The council is very grateful for the careful handling of the public hearings by Inspector Stephen Pratt, who acknowledged in his closing remarks that ‘this has been the most complex and challenging Local Plan I have ever examined’ – having completed 20 or so examinations to date.”
As is normal practice, the council will now be required to consult on the inspector’s draft recommended main modifications to the plan before its final amendment and adoption by the council. This formal six-week consultation is expected to begin in January and will be carried out under the direction of the inspector.
More information about the Local Plan