Cheshire East Local Plan – SHLAA

On Friday 8th February 2013, Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board received the latest update of the STRATEGIC HOUSING LAND AVAILABILITY ASSESSMENT (SHLAA) document.

This document forms a major part of the supporting data for the Cheshire East Local Plan and is therefore extremely important. It identifies the amount of identified house building land within Cheshire East over the next 15 years and Government National Policy states that if a Council cannot demonstrate a 5 Year Supply of Available Housing Land then in effect they must always say ‘yes’ to developers speculative planning applications on our Greenfield sites.

It is because the previous SHLAA document, issued 31st March 2012, showed that Cheshire East had only 3.9 years of Available Housing Land that developers have been able to make successful appeals against any planning applications that Cheshire East has refused.

The good news is that the new document, issued in January 2013, indicates that Cheshire East now has a 5 Year Supply of House Building Land. This should remove the main reason why Developers have been able to successfully appeal against any of their applications that had been refused by the Council.

However, we do not know when the effective date will be, for the application of the new housing land supply figure, to those applications currently under appeal. We have learned that if a Developer submitted an application before this new document is Formally Adopted, by Cheshire East Council, they may still win their appeal.

ARAG has produced a new schedule of land identified for house building, in Alsager, which shows that the new SHLAA document shows house building, on Alsager’s Greenfield sites, in the 15 year period with most of it in years 6 to 10. You can view it here.

We are strongly opposed to this and have asked Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board, via Councillor Derek Hough, to remove any Identified House Building on Alsager’s Greenfield sites within the Local Plan period up to 2030.
This is in line with the Adopted Alsager Town Strategy, which has the support of Alsager’s residents.

Cheshire East tell us, that they will be able to refuse applications for sites which are not in the ‘Cheshire East Local Plan’ which, when adopted, should state that house building in Alsager will be restricted to our identified Brownfield sites until the year 2030.

You will see that Cheshire East have introduced 3 sites which were not previously identified and also increased the number of houses to be built on 4 of the sites which had already been listed in their previous document.
The overall effect of these changes is to increase the number of identified dwellings, in Alsager, by 612 to a new total of 1930.

ARAG believes this SHLAA document is effectively an ‘open invitation’ for developers to raid our Greenfield sites.