Plan reveals more green belt at risk
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