Warn­ing for coun­cil over homes plan

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

APLANNING in­spec­tor has warned the coun­cil it may have to scrap its Lo­cal Plan.

Cheshire East has been draw­ing up its Lo­cal Plan, which will guide where homes and in­fra­struc­ture can be built in Mac­cles­field and around the bor­ough un­til 2030. It’s al­ready well over­due, af­ter the pre­vi­ous Lo­cal Plan ex­pired in 2011.

The draft of plans al­low for 250 homes on green belt owned by King’s School at Fence Av­enue, 150 homes at Gaw End Lane in Lyme Green and 300 homes on land off Con­gle­ton Road.

The coun­cil sub­mit­ted the draft more than a year ago for ex­am­i­na­tion by a gov­ern­ment plan­ning in­spec­tor and a se­ries of public ex­am­i­na­tion hear­ings took place while he an­a­lysed the plan.

But the in­spec­tor Stephen Pratt found ‘se­ri­ous fail­ings’ in the plan, say­ing it did not in­clude enough houses and the green belt had not been re­viewed cor­rectly.

In Novem­ber, he gave the coun­cil six months to sort the plan out and sub­mit amend­ments.

The coun­cil paid for re­ports which show there needs to be an ex­tra 7,000 homes and 31,410 new jobs by 2030.

How­ever, Mr Pratt has now warned the coun­cil in a re­cent email that the changes it in­tends to make may be too sig­nif­i­cant and that it is at risk of hav­ing to scrap the plan and sub­mit a new one. He said: “Con­sul­ta­tion on a sig­nif­i­cantly amended over­all hous­ing and em­ploy­ment land pro­vi­sion fig­ure, along with a set of new or amended sites, may con­sti­tute the type of sub­stan­tial amend­ment which might sug­gest that the sub­mit­ted plan should be with­drawn and re­sub­mit­ted when all nec­es­sary com­mu­nity en­gage­ment and public con­sul­ta­tion has been com­pleted.”

He states he will not set a date for the ex­am­i­na­tion to re­sume un­til he has more an­swers from the coun­cil.

Peter Yates, from Sut­ton, a for­mer chief plan­ner for Mac­cles­field Bor­ough Coun­cil who has been fol­low­ing the plan, said: “The in­spec­tor is ba­si­cally say­ing the in­crease in hous­ing and jobs is so great that there should be a new plan.

“It’s likely the plan will have to be aban­doned which leaves an ex­pen­sive mess.”

Coun­cil­lor Rachel Bai­ley, chair of the Lo­cal Plan Task Force, says the orig­i­nal plan may still be vi­able. She said: “The In­spec­tor is sim­ply re­mind­ing the Coun­cil that any re­vi­sions to the Lo­cal Plan Strat­egy should not give rise to a fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent plan. This re­peats his ear­lier ad­vice given with his in­terim views. We an­tic­i­pate that the re­vi­sions to the Lo­cal Plan will be within the tol­er­ances ac­cepted in other ex­am­i­na­tions around the coun­try. How­ever, we recog­nise that the In­spec­tor will need to form his own judge­ment on the mat­ter in due course.

“At present, we are fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion by the agreed dead­line of the end of July.”

●● Green belt Land to the rear of Fence Av­enue, Mac­cles­field. Pic­ture by Eileen Furr.

●● Pic­tured right, the Reach Out and Re­cover team

●● Sta­tion Street, Mac­cles­field. Pic­ture: Google Street View

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