draft CEC Local Plan report

A campaigner fighting to keep developers away from Stapeley and Nantwich says Cheshire East’s Local Plan delay will “inevitably lead” to more unsuitable developments.

Pat Cullen, who runs Protect Stapeley, has blasted council staff for failing after five years to get their Local Plan adopted.

He hit out after an interim report from a planning inspector shot down the Local Plan for not properly addressing housing needs for Cheshire East over the next 15-20 years.

It means at least another six-month delay in getting the plan adopted, and many more thousands of pounds spent.

Mr Cullen said: “I have seen the inspector’s interim letter to the council and to say that Protect Stapeley is disappointed would be a very English understatement.

“It seems that a lot of well paid people at the council have not been able to follow a brief, probably entitled, ‘How to Prepare a Local Plan’.

“We really can’t understand why, after five years of preparation, it is still not in a state that’s ready for examination.

“As we know, the delay will inevitably lead to more unsuitable developments being allowed.”

Mr Cullen did say one glimmer of good news is that the inspector has recognised the south of the county has “taken more than their fair share of development”.

“He questions why more development has not been allocated to towns in the north of the county, specifically Macclesfield and its local area,” said Mr Cullen.

“It is certainly something that Protect Stapeley has mentioned in a number of consultation responses in the past.

“Let’s hope that the council gets the message on that point.”

In the meantime, the Stapeley Parish Council is pushing ahead with developing a Neighbourhood Plan which, given recent events, may well be in place before the Local Plan.

Brendan Murphy, Independent councillor on Cheshire East Council, claims the draft Local Plan is now “dead in the water”.

“It is an absolute disaster for Cheshire East residents,” he said.

“And it is an unforgivable disgrace the council has got it so wrong, after spending six years and over a million pounds – with another million in the pipeline – trying to get it right.

“In getting it wrong, the Tory-Labour alliance has opened the doors for a speculator’s paradise.

“The Inspector now favours a big increase in housing development throughout Cheshire.”

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones last week called the delay “regrettable” when the inspector’s interim report was revealed.

One Comment

  1. In a letter about the Local Plan Examination, addressed to Town and Parish Councils on 13th November 2014, Councillor David Brown says ‘I am pleased to say that the Inspector has considered the Settlement Hierarchy which we drew up, is sound and robust. This means that the site allocations will be as recommended.’
    This doesn’t really support Mr Cullen’s ‘glimmer of good news’. I wonder which version is the correct one?

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