Sandbach Road North Appeal

Sandbach Road Appeal.

After 9 days in Macclesfield, the Sandbach Road North Appeal has now ended.

You can see an analysis of the whole process and much more detail here.

The Inspector will make his recommendation which will be followed by a recommendation from the Secretary of State in the coming weeks.

It isn’t currently possible to judge the outcome.

Some interesting points came out of the appeal process, in particular:

  • Philip Major, the Inspector, conducted the appeal process very professionally and gave ARAG and other speakers every opportunity to air their views.  Nobody could now argue that in this appeal the opportunity to speak did not exist.  We do however need to make sure that as a Community, we maximise these opportunities in future appeals, where contributions from Residents in particular are welcome and an important input to the process.
  • Alsager itself is currently unsustainable as a Key Service Centre because of the very low level of employment opportunity ( less than the minimum requirement ) and an already overloaded infrastructure.  This begs the question: why then was Alsager allocated 1,000 houses over the next 20 years, with the subsequent allocation of numbers to particular sites being accepted as the basis for the development of the original Alsager draft Town Plan?
  • Great play was made on the fact that the Secretary of State on previous appeals, has stated that “little weight can be given to Town Plans”.  The Alsager Town plan reflects the expressed views of our Community and in particular, we only want development on the Brownfield footprint of our Brownfield sites.  It is very hard to understand how that view fits with the “Localism Act” promoted by the current government.
  • The bulk of the argument was about Cheshire East’s ability to demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing and the fact that the Local Plan has not yet been finally approved. The Secretary of State (Eric Pickles) knows that all of the proposed Greenfield sites are in inappropriate places but so far has refused to offer  protection when a Local Plan does not exist.  One of the main reasons for the delayed Local Plan is, of course, that Central Government forced the creation of the Unitary Authority, Cheshire East and then made no allowance or concession for the serious disruption to the planning process that would cause.  We hope the response from Cheshire East and the evidence we submitted on behalf of the residents of Alsager will prove to be enough  to convince the Secretary of State and the Inspector that this proposal and the others should be rejected.