Cheshire East Strategic Plan Concerns

There is a new page on the website called Cheshire East Strategic Plan, which contains the detail in this post and more.

Unfortunately, the Town Council could not accomodate a presentation and debate of what we consider to be ‘important issues with the Cheshire East Strategic Plan’.  We have produced a summary paper of our concerns and it is included below.  Also the e-mail sent to the town clerk is included.  

E-mail

Thank you for you responses to our request to have an emergency item on the Agenda for tonight’s meeting, we understand some of the difficulties which have prevented a rapid response.

In order to save the Council’s time and not take up valuable ‘Public Participation’ time, which, may be needed to raise other important public issues, I have attached a truncated version of the Presentation we would have made for circulation to your Members.
We assume that you can do this by reporting it as an urgent item of correspondence. We will not be attending the meeting.

I should emphasise that the truncated version is backed up by extensive research, and detailed source references, and that every issue identified is factually correct and will be, I am sure, of great concern to Members.
Sadly, we are of the view that delaying a formal meeting, until we are into the New Year, will mean that we will be too late to achieve essential amendments to the Cheshire East Draft Development Strategy before it goes out for consultation!

We look forward to dealing with this in the near future. 

Report

Alsager Residents Action Group Issues with the Draft Cheshire East Strategy and Alsager Town Plan.

 

  • On Saturday the Residents Action Group received information from Fiona Bruce that indicates that the Alsager Town Plan will count for nothing unless it is embedded accurately and consistently in the Cheshire East Development Strategy. This is not an insignificant issue, Fiona Bruce cites the specific example of Hind Heath in Sandbach which has been approved on appeal for development although it was discounted in the Town Plan which ‘carries little weight’ until it is fully embedded in the Cheshire East Local Plan. In other words we can reject Developments such as Hall Drive, Dunnocksfold, Close Lane, Hassall Road and all the rest but this will count for nothing when Developers appeal to the Inspectorate based upon inconsistencies in Cheshire East representation of the Alsager Town Plan.

 

  • We have attended a meeting of the Cheshire East Planning Board and carefully analysed its draft documentation. In this process we have uncovered a number of ambiguities, inconsistencies, loopholes and disparities in how the Alsager Town Plan – regarded in the process as an ‘evidence base document’ – is currently represented in the Cheshire East documents. These are so serious, potentially, that they will constitute a Developer’s Charter to ride roughshod over the expressed views of Alsager residents. It is, therefore, a matter of urgency that these issues are addressed before the Consultation on those documents commences.

 

  • It will not be adequate to suggest that these corrections can be made during that consultation. As we have found with the passage of the draft Alsager Town Plan, this will let the toothpaste out of the tube and the Town Council will not be in a position to get it back in. Therefore, there needs to be a formal process undertaken with urgency by the Town Council if these matters are to be satisfactorily addressed in ways that will reflect the views of the community.

 

  • To give you a flavour of the issues about which we are concerned:

 

    1. There are inconsistencies in the total numbers of homes to be built in Alsager during the Planning period; there are inconsistencies in the numbers of houses planned for Brown Field sites usually suggesting that there could be higher numbers

 

    1. It is one thing to record that the Town Plan process resulted in the consideration of a number of sites that were subsequently ‘discounted’ from that Town Plan; it is quite another to include those rejected sites under the Heading of Strategic Sites – Alternatives

 

    1. Cheshire East documents currently re-import Area J and Fanny’s Croft back into the frame for potential development where these sites were ‘discounted’ in the final approved version of the Town Plan. Furthermore the Cheshire East document makes no reference to the fact that the Fanny’s Croft site is in green belt. Additionally, and equally disturbing, Area J is referred to as ‘former MMU extension’ which is an erroneous and misleading term.

 

This is a Planning context in which we cannot afford inconsistencies whether caused by clerical error, administrative translation of the Town Plan by Cheshire East Planning Officers or even deliberate and calculated policy agendas. If these inconsistencies are allowed to stand we will be allowing speculative Developers the opportunity to exploit them for their own self-interested ends. The costs will be borne by the residents of Alsager.