Warning for council over homes plan
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amended sites, may constitute the type of substantial amendment which might suggest that the submitted plan should be withdrawn and resubmitted when all necessary community engagement and public consultation has been completed.”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