Plan re­veals more green belt at risk

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

CAM­PAIGN­ERS are fight­ing to pro­tect the town’s green belt af­ter new swathes of un­spoilt land were ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment.

Save Mac­cles­field Green Belt is cam­paign­ing against pro­pos­als in the lat­est draft of Cheshire East’s Lo­cal Plan, which dic­tates where homes and in­fra­struc­ture will be built in Mac­cles­field and the bor­ough un­til 2030 and be­yond.

An ear­lier draft pro­posed 3,500 houses for Mac­cles­field. This in­cluded 250 homes on the King’s School site at Fence Av­enue, 150 homes at Gaw End Lane in Lyme Green and 300 homes off Con­gle­ton Road - all green belt.

Now the lat­est draft in­cludes ex­tra green belt for de­vel­op­ment and an in­crease to 4,250 homes by 2030.

There is also an­other large swathe of green belt in south west Mac­cles­field at risk.

The site ca­pa­ble of tak­ing more than 2,200 homes has been ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment af­ter 2030 - known as ‘safe­guarded land’.

MP David Rut­ley said: “While I un­der­stand it’s im­por­tant for the Lo­cal Plan to be ap­proved in the near fu­ture, I’m dis­ap­pointed with aspects of the lat­est ver­sion in re­la­tion to im­pacts on the green belt. Along with many res­i­dents I’m par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about the pro­posed safe­guarded land in South West Mac­cles­field which has been sig­nif­i­cantly en­larged. I will be writ­ing to the Plan­ning In­spec­tor and call for this safe­guarded land to be re­duced and its place in the town’s wider eco­nomic, in­fra­struc­ture and de­vel­op­ment strat­egy to be fully ex­plained.”

The new sites in­cludes 200 homes south of Chelford Road, an ex­tra 150 homes at Gaw End Lane and 150 homes be­tween Chelford Road and Whirley Road. There will be a link road con­nect­ing Chelford Road and Con­gle­ton Road.

Tim White­ley, from Save Mac­cles­field Green Belt, urged res­i­dents to ob­ject to the coun­cil.

He said: “We’re talk­ing about Mac­cles­field los­ing hun­dreds of acres of green belt. There is not the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port all the new homes. We’re not against de­vel­op­ment in the right place on the right scale.”

The lat­est draft comes af­ter a govern­ment plan­ning in­spec­tor iden­ti­fied ‘se­ri­ous fail­ings’ in the ear­lier plan and asked the coun­cil to re­draft it. The re­vised plan will go be­fore strate­gic plan­ning board to­mor­row (Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 18), be put to Cab­i­net on Fe­bru­ary 23 and for ap­proval by Full Coun­cil on Fe­bru­ary 25 be­fore a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Coun Rachel Bai­ley, who is ex­pected to be­come coun­cil leader and is in charge of the Lo­cal Plan, said: “The pos­i­tive views ex­pressed by the in­spec­tor have en­abled the coun­cil to make amend­ments to our Lo­cal Plan and pub­lish th­ese for con­sul­ta­tion. We pro­pose to take a re­port to a full meet­ing of the coun­cil at the end of Fe­bru­ary set­ting out pro­posed amend­ments in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ment sites to ac­com­mo­date the larger scale of growth now planned for the bor­ough.”

●● Protests were held by green belt cam­paign­ers in Mac­cles­field against pro­pos­als shown in the first, now scrapped, draft of the Lo­cal Plan

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