Strategic Planning Board – 26/09/2013 – Additional Sites

Strategic Planning Board – 26/09/2013 – Additional Sites

Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board (SPB) had an all day meeting to consider the Cheshire East Local Plan – Report of Consultation and Core Strategy. As the result of a “soft” 1 month consultation over additional sites for the Local Plan, Cheshire East has identified a number of sites and made changes to proposed allocations in its Local Plan.

The key areas affecting Alsager are:

  • White Moss
  • MMU
  • Twyfords and Cardway Cartons
  • Radway Business Park.

The main impact on Alsager is the addition of the White Moss Quarry Site, where it is suggested that at least 900 additional houses should be built. Because this is an additional site, it would effectively double Alsager’s allocation of housing, with no consultation. The site in question is now much larger than the original quarry and it also includes Greenfields.

Alsager was well represented by ARAG, residents and Councillor Fletcher. Councillor Hough is the Vice Chairman of the Strategic Planning Board and he made strong representations about the issues surrounding White Moss and the “flawed consultation process”. You can view his notes here.

Alsager presentations were given by:

Derek Bould (ARAG ) you can view his presentation here.

Chas Howard (ARAG ) you can view his presentation here.

Ian White ( Resident ) you can view his presentation here.

Cath Mainwaring ( Resident ) you can view her presentation here.

Mike Allot ( Resident ) you can view his presentation here.

Sylvia Dyke ( Resident )

Councillor Rod Fletcher ( Alsager and Cheshire East )

All of the presentations were good and made strong points against the White Moss, in line with the Town Councils statement that it strongly objects to the White Moss Development.

Our understanding is that the Strategic Planning Board will make no decisions about any of the sites, it will simply pass on the information on additional sites and the comments made in the meeting to the Cabinet who will decide and make recommendations to full Council.

If this is the case, it is very disappointing and vindicates Cnclr Hough’s objection about the consultation process being flawed. Without transparency of the decision making process, it is difficult to see how or believe that the strong views expressed will be taken into account.

It is possible to see all of the indicated presentations above. The key points are:

  • It is acknowledged by Cheshire East that Alsager is unsustainable as a Key Service centre, yet Cheshire East intends to at least double Alsager’s housing allocation with no justification or consultation.
  • Including White Moss in Alsager’s Allocation contradicts many of the arguments used by Cheshire East in the recent Alsager appeals. This will be used by Developers’ legal teams and will undermine Cheshire East’s position in current and future appeals as well as the Local Plan itself. This could lead the way to 3,000 houses in Alsager.
  • The White Moss contravenes a number of Cheshire East Policies, this will undermine future appeals and presents a risk to the success and acceptability of the Local Plan.
  • This development would also create infill areas which could mean even more housing as Alsager expands ( sprawls ) right up to the M6.
  • White Moss is adjacent to the M6 and Cheshire East does not know if this presents dangerous levels of Air and noise Pollution to anyone living there. Some mandatory National and EU limits are not being monitored by Cheshire East and specifically, the pollution levels are not known for this site.
  • The impact of White Moss on the nearby RAMSAR site, the local environment and the abundant wildlife is not known.
  • For a range of reasons, this proposal is not sustainable, the roads and traffic are a particular concern. 

The detail of these issues can be seen in the presentations.

The new MMU proposal is for 350 houses with some land being protected. This level is still 50 above that of the Town Plan, so it needs to come down and we would argue that more land needs to be protected including: some Sports fields and the Sports and educational buildings

ARAG will take every opportunity to object to the proposed approach on the White Moss and the load imposed on our Town. As the outcome of this SPB meeting becomes clear, we will Post again and also suggest action we can all take as residents.