Cheshire East Development Strategy

First of all, we would like to wish our members a Happy New Year.

Lets hope it’s a good one.

Cheshire East Development Strategy

In January, the main activity which has an impact on building in and around Alsager, is public consultation on the Cheshire East Development Strategy. This is from 15th of January to 26th of February. The Development Strategy sets out the overall number of homes and employment land that will be needed in Cheshire East over the period to 2030.

You can find the Cheshire East documents here

The documents will also be available for inspection at the Alsager Town Council offices: 3 Lawton Road, between 10am and 1pm.

This is a substantial pdf document of around 250 pages but you will find the key references to Alsager in sections:

Page 11 Para 4.5

Page 23 Para 5.48

Pages 73 – 77  Paras 8.24, 8.25, 8.26, 8.27

Page 129 Table 8.2

Page 178 Figure E.3 & Page 179

One way to go through the document is to search for Alsager references ( enter ctrl f and this comes up with a search box)

Importance of the Cheshire East Development Strategy

This document is very important because it is a part of Cheshire East’s Emerging Local Plan. Although the whole Local Plan will not be complete until 2014, the Emerging Plan will be ‘given some weight’. The main point here is that if Cheshire East can not demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land, the centrally run Building Inspectorate can and do overrule Cheshire East decisions. We are told that the Inspectorate will consider Cheshire East’s emerging plan in their deliberations when it has completed public consultation and has been accepted.

The rules governing these decisions are contained in the Governments National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Clearly, entirely inappropriate decisions are being made because of these rules however, there is no intent or will in Central Government to stop this from happening.

There is a very good example of such a situation in Congleton, where Cheshire East correctly rejected a proposal to build 200 houses on Loachbrook Farm. On appeal, because Cheshire East did not have a 5 year plan ( even though the old Congleton Borough plan still was in force) the Cheshire East decision was overturned by the Building Inspector and Central Government. Cheshire East is challenging this decision ( using ratepayers’ money – a lot of it ) and Central government are defending their position ( using tax payers’ money – a lot of it). This is a huge amount of public money and distraction over something that everyone ( including the Building Inspectorate) knows is wrong in the first place. He said in his report:

 ‘although the development would “locally intrude into the character and appearance” of the area, this was outweighed by the need to secure a 5-year supply of deliverable housing land that would also contribute to providing affordable and low cost housing’.

As an aside, recent analysis of the 2011 census is suggesting that the “need” doesn’t exist.

 So there is a dilemma, we need the Cheshire East development plan in place for protection but we also need to object where we see things that are wrong.

 Concerns with the Cheshire East Development Strategy.

The Development Strategy document is not consistent with the accepted Alsager Town plan. There has been no consultation on changes made by Cheshire East. Our main concerns today are:

  1. The housing total on the MMU site has been increased from 300 to 400.
  2. The total allocation of houses for Alsager has increased from 1,000 to 1,100.
  3. Area J from the Alsager Town Plan is incorrectly referred to as “former MMU Extension”. It has never been accepted as that.
  4. The document contains a section named “Strategic Alternatives”. The two sites identified are Area J ( Dunnocksfold Road across to Hassall Road ) and Fanny’s Croft ( greenbelt, South Alsager but not identified as such). This section should be titled ‘ Areas previously considered and rejected’ and there should be text explaining that these sites are not Strategic Alternatives, they are simply not available for building.  Good news, we have just been informed that this proposed change has been made to the document.

 As matters progress, we will post more information. Currently, the following Town Council meetings are scheduled: (this information is an extract from a Town Council mail)

 Planning Committee Meeting – Monday 4th February 2013 – Alsager Civic 7pm

(re-arranged from Tuesday 5thFebruary)

Members of the public are invited to come and give their views on the 2 documents in an extended public participation period. We (Town Council) have requested the attendance of a planning Officer from Cheshire East Council but this has been declined as the adopted policy is not to attend any Town and Parish Council meetings on this issue.

Town Council Meeting – Monday 18th February 2013 – Alsager Civic 7pm

(re-arranged from Tuesday 19th February)

Alsager Town Council will approve their response to both documents.

Current Proposals.

 There are a number of proposals at the moment, all of them are detailed on the web site. We will post as events come up to keep you informed.

 Greenfield Sites.

Close Lane 86 Technically in Haslington but impacting significantly on Alsager.
Dunnocksfold Rd 95 Target decision date- 15th Feb. 2013
Hassall Rd 30 Refused-currently under appeal
Hassall Rd 34 Awaiting planning meeting
Hall Drive 150 target decision date- Jan. 30th2013
Tilly Fields Target decision date-Dec.28th 2012
Sandbach Road North      155 Pre submission. No of dwellings 155


Brownfield Sites.

White Moss 1000 This too is in Haslington on the border with Alsager. As such it is outside our area but will have a significant impact upon Alsager, particularly its road system.
Twyfords site 335 Approved.
MMU 300-400 Numbers under discussion

Total proposed Greenfield houses is now 550.

Total Brownfield is now 1735.

Alsager’s quota in the town plan is 1,000 but currently increased by Cheshire East to 1,100.