Cheshire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Local Plans update

An update on Local Plans from around the county.

Cheshire East Council

Cheshire East’s Local Plan, which was finally adopted on 27th June 2017, has received another setback in that an application for judicial review has been made within the six-week window following its formal adoption.

Regular readers will be aware that the plan has been in development for about seven years, and was re-drafted after Planning Inspector Stephen Pratt questioned its soundness. The adopted plan includes provision for a minimum of 36,000 new homes over the plan period, and underwent thirteen separate public consultations during its development.

As well as being in the news for systematically falsifying air quality data between 2012 and 2014, leading to a number of planning applications needing to be reassessed in at least five towns, the authority was also named the second worst in the country for complaints about its planning department in a report by the Local Government Ombudsman.

Warrington

Cheshire Branch is disappointed that Warrington, having completed its Local Plan in 2014, has been forced to reconsider its housing figures despite having been found to have an over-provision of housing. New proposals for 9000 homes in the Green Belt cannot be sustainable, and the land is currently either farmland or in other employment use for rural businesses.

CPRE opposes building on agricultural land because of food security issues, and this is more pressing following food price rises in light of the Brexit result. Additionally, it is much more appropriate and sustainable for new housing to be as close to existing infrastructure as possible. Building in the town centre encourages use of public transport and local businesses.

CPRE also queries the need for the amount of employment land allocated as this is already oversupplied in Cheshire. Consideration needs to be made of the local plans of adjoining boroughs, particularly when considering the important Green Belt aspiration of preventing the coalescence of settlements.

The road networks around Warrington are already overused and although Warrington is described in the ‘Local Plan Preferred Development Option’ as ‘well served by motorways’, frequently the motorways are blocked by accidents or simply high volumes of traffic.

A response to the ‘Preferred Development Option’ was submitted by Jacqui Johnson on behalf of the Branch on 28th September.

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Dunham Massey in summer