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Council proposes to remove green belt site allocations

Cheshire East Council is taking the next steps towards finalising the second part of its Local Plan Strategy.

The Local Plan was approved in 2017. The second part of the local plan – known as the site allocations and development policies document (SADPD) – is now progressing and the latest draft contains up-to-date planning policies and new, small-scale, potential sites for housing and employment development.

The proposed revisions include:

● Removal of housing allocations around designated local service centres, most of which would have involved taking more land out of the green belt;

● Revised policies for retail development and town centres, reflecting reduced demand for new retail floorspace and a need for diversified uses in town centres to support their vitality; and

● Higher environmental standards for new homes to help tackle climate change.

The revised document will go before the council’s strategic planning board on 23 September followed by cabinet on 6 October. If approved the updated SADPD will be re-published to allow further representations to be made.

The SADPD will require approval by full council, scheduled for spring 2021. The representations will then be submitted to the government, alongside the supporting evidence, and will be considered by a planning inspector during an examination.

Councillor Toni Fox, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for planning said: “We promised during the public consultation last year that we would carefully consider all the comments that were made. These revisions demonstrate that we have fully considered and reviewed the 2,700 responses submitted alongside the latest evidence and information.

“Planning always involves balancing a range of issues – facilitating new homes, jobs and other investments that are needed, whilst protecting our local environment and the health and wellbeing of our residents. The revisions we have made reflect all of these considerations.

“We are conscious that central government is consulting on proposals to radically reform the planning system, including the way in which councils prepare their local plans.

“This inevitably raises some uncertainty for councils currently preparing plans, and residents.

“However, until we have more detail it is impossible to gauge how these may affect the emerging SADPD. At this time therefore it is important to progress this document to its next stage.”

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