Cheshire East Council has proposed a number of revisions to green belt site allocations in the borough as it finalises its Local Plan Strategy.
The Local Plan was approved in 2017. The second part of the 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 changes would see larger villages in the borough including Bollington and Alderley Edge protected from further development as housing supply can be met elsewhere in Cheshire East without loss of green belt.
Cllr 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.”
However, in comments published on Place North West, Gary Halman from planning consultancy Avison Young, was critical of the changes. He commented that larger villages with ample local amenities, including Alderley Edge, Bollington and Mobberley would be ‘shrink-wrapped’ by the green belt, preventing any growth of these communities until the Local Plan expires in 2030, despite being able to offer more sustainable locations for development and suitability for affordable housing options.