Spatial Planning Update

This page provides regular updates on planning policy matters affecting Cheshire East, including:

  • Progress on the council's Local Plan
  • Other research, guidance and projects carried out by the council's Spatial Planning Team, and
  • Neighbourhood planning activity taking place across the borough.

August 2017 bulletin

Welcome to the eighth edition of Spatial Planning Update, keeping you informed about planning policy matters in the borough.

If you need any further information or explanation, please feel free to get in touch.  Our contact details are at the bottom of the page.

In this edition:

Local Plan Strategy

Just a further reminder that the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy was adopted at a council meeting on 27 July 2017 and it now forms part of the statutory development plan. The final, adopted Local Plan Strategy is now available on our website.

A legal challenge has been made against the adoption of the Local Plan Strategy by Muller Strategic Projects Ltd. Muller Properties are claiming that the council failed to take into account the issue relating to incorrect air quality data when adopting the LPS . The proceedings have been issued ‘protectively’, pending Muller Properties’ consideration of a response by the council, in which the authority explains that this issue had no effect on the plan process. It is important to emphasise that the lodging of the legal challenge does not change the legal status of the LPS . The plan will continue to be the starting point and fully applied in deciding planning applications. It also continues to provide the strategic planning context for the preparation of neighbourhood plans. The council is firm in its position that the incorrect air quality data would not have resulted in any changes to the LPS .

Site Allocations and Development Policies Document 

A Report of Consultation summarising the feedback we received to the  SADPD  Issues Paper earlier this year is available on the Council’s web site. A total of 1,478 responses were made to the questions posed in the Issues Paper, from 183 different parties.

With this feedback in mind, the Council is continuing work on the preparation of the SADPD with public consultation on a first draft currently anticipated in the Spring of 2018.

A number of studies/reports are underway which we expect will be completed by the end of the year.  These include (not an exhaustive list):

  • Green Belt Villages Study responding to paragraph 86 of the  NPPF
  • Landscape Strategy including Local Landscape Designations
  • Local Wildlife Sites updates
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment update
  • Housing Mix Study
  • Town Centre and Shopping Impact Thresholds Study
  • Apportionment of development requirements to individual Local Service Centres
  • Site Assessments

We are keen to have further informal discussions with town and parish councils later this year to discuss some of the issues that arise from the initial findings of this and other evidence work, particularly with those local councils covering Local Service Centres and those currently preparing neighbourhood plans. That said we would, of course, be happy meet with any local council should they wish to. This reflects our continued commitment to fully engage local councils in the preparation of the SADPD .

Housing Land Supply

In line with the requirements of national planning policy, the Council has recently published its Housing Monitoring Update giving the most up to date position regarding housing delivery and housing land supply as at 31 March 2017.

In terms of key headlines:

  • 1,762 homes (net) were built in Cheshire East in 2016/17. This is a 20% increase in the level of housebuilding in the borough compared to 2015/16 and continues the positive trajectory of housing growth. There is every expectation that housing delivery will continue to rise through the adoption of the Local Plan Strategy and the plan-led release of additional sustainable development opportunities.
  • It shows that the Council has a 5 Year Housing Land Supply, specifically a 5.45 year supply.

In Appendix 4 of the Monitor you’ll be able to see the latest level of completions and commitments for each of the Principal Towns and Key Service Centres, along with the Local Service Centres (as a whole) and Other Settlements and Rural Areas (as a whole). You can find the completions and commitment figures for individual Local Service Centres in Appendices 1 and 3 respectively.

Minerals and Waste Development Plan Document

The  MWDPD  is the third part of the council’s Local Plan.  The MWDPD will contain any site allocations necessary to make sure that the requirements for meeting appropriate minerals and waste needs in the Borough are met for the plan period to 2030.  It is being prepared within the context of the strategic priorities and policies set out by the Local Plan Strategy.

The Council has prepared a report of consultation that summarises the main responses received on the Issues Paper which was published earlier in the year. This will be available on the Spatial Planning pages of the Council’s website shortly. Work will also begin on assessing the sites submitted as part of the ‘call for Minerals and Waste sites’ exercise which was undertaken at that time. In addition, an up-to-date Local Aggregate Assessment is expected to be published in the coming months which, alongside a refreshed Waste Needs Assessment, will inform the Council’s approach to key mineral and waste policy development. It is the intention of the Council to be in a position to consult on a first draft of a Minerals and Waste Plan early next year.

Further information is available on our Minerals and Waste page.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The  CIL  is a charge that the council can make on certain new developments to raise funds to invest in infrastructure in the borough. 

Six weeks public consultation will take place on a Draft Charging Schedule between Monday 25 September and Monday 6 November. This updated draft takes account of the consultation feedback received earlier this year during public consultation on the initial draft (called the ‘Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule’) and also additional evidence prepared by the council.

Following this consultation, the council will consider the responses received together with the promised changes proposed by the government to CIL when they are announced in its Autumn Statement on Wednesday 22 November before making a decision on whether to proceed with finalising and submitting its proposed CIL charges for examination by an independent inspector. It is envisaged, if CIL proceeds, that it could be adopted and operational around spring 2018.

Brownfield register

Work is progressing on a brownfield register for Cheshire East which is required to be published by 31 December 2017. This is a new requirement for all local planning authorities introduced by the government and is intended to provide up-to-date information on brownfield land that is suitable for housing.

Neighbourhood planning

The adoption of the Local Plan Strategy will give the council a solid platform on which to make planning decisions across the borough. This does not alter the status of neighbourhood plans made prior to Local Plan adoption – your neighbourhood plans still form part of the statutory development plan for the purposes of deciding planning applications. We worked closely with groups and carefully considered the relationship between emerging neighbourhood plans and the emerging Local Plan, following the good practice that national planning guidance recommends in such situations. We’ve 47 active neighbourhood planning groups in Cheshire East, making us the fifth most active borough in the country and many of you are making excellent progress toward submitting your documents to examination. Most recently both Goostrey and Astbury Neighbourhood Plans were accepted at referendum (17 August 2017) to become ‘made’ plans and will be used by the council as part of the development plan Weston and Basford, Willaston, Wistaston, Stapeley and Buerton parishes all have submitted plans to us. Disley and Bollington recently launched their regulation 14 consultation Somerford and Hulme Walfield are currently at regulation 16 draft plan stage and open for consultation. Please visit our neighbourhood planning page for more details on our plans.

It’s great that so many of our communities now have ‘made’ plans or are reaching an advanced stage in their development - on top of the six completed neighbourhood plans in Cheshire East, in 2017 we’ve had seven neighbourhood plans submitted to us so far…… and we are looking forward to helping many more of you complete (and start!) your work across the year ahead.

Royal London Development Framework consultation

A draft ‘Development Framework’ for the Royal London site in Wilmslow has been prepared to shape future proposals for the site.  The acceptability of development on the site has been established through policies in the Local Plan Strategy, and this ‘Development Framework’ adds detail to those policies, aiming to make sure a high quality development scheme is achieved.

Public consultation on the draft Framework has now been completed (Friday 23 June to Friday 4 August 2017) including a drop-in event on Tuesday 4 July at Wilmslow Leisure Centre.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us their feedback.  The responses received have been considered and the document amended accordingly.  The cabinet will consider the final version of the framework in the light of consultation feedback on 10 October 2017.

Further information

For further information on any of the items in this bulletin, please contact the Spatial Planning Team by email at localplan@cheshireeast.gov.uk or by telephone on 01270 685893.