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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Brownfield first – not Greenfield siege

 

Cheshire East Council Leader Michael Jones has today called for a renewal of the ‘Brownfield First Policy’ to protect Cheshire East’s green fields.

He said: “Cheshire East is a green and pleasant land and I understand and fully support the strong community desire to keep it this way.   However, it is for this very reason that developers see Cheshire East as the most desirable place to build and sell houses.

“However development is a necessary reality if we are to keep Cheshire East a desirable and economically-vibrant place to live and work. It is heartening to note that a common trend emerging through the Draft Development Strategy is that residents recognise too that we must grow in order to thrive.

“However, by far the main theme developing in the comments we have received is that people want to see redevelopment of brownfield sites. I agree and wholly support this view, which is why I am calling for a renewal of this policy and for all brownfield sites that can be developed on, be brought forward as quickly as possible.

“This ongoing consultation has been very successful and has given us a clear view of what the people of Cheshire East want for the future. They have made their views plain and the Council is listening, which is why I am calling for the renewal of our Brownfield First policy.

“For every 12 houses built on brownfield land, one acre of greenfield is saved. That is a clear fact and one we must – and will - bear in mind at all times.

“Developing greenfield sites can be seen by developers as the easy option.  Cheshire East does not support this approach, and our draft development strategy proposes greenfield swaps and a wider green space strategy underlining our commitment to greenfield development.

“Time and time again I hear from residents that there is more brownfield land available, and I want to make it very clear that we support the development of these brownfield sites. This is land which has previously been used for any purpose but is no longer in use or is underused. If people can find enough brownfield sites, Cheshire East will support no development in green spaces

“This is a collective responsibility, for all of us to look for opportunities for developing on brownfield first.  I know this isn’t always easy, but we are here to help.  If you have sites and plans but are facing constraints in developing them - let us know. We won’t always have the answer, but together we can find a way.

“To date we have identified brownfield areas that will equate to 7,000 new houses.  However, we know there will be more sites out there. Whilst these figures show that we have made good progress, our area is changing all the time and we need to work together to identify more sites as they become available.

“Protecting the greenfields of Cheshire East is a number one priority for me, and I will stand by that commitment.

The draft Development Strategy document is available to see by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/localplan where there is also a chance to have your say and fill out a feedback questionnaire.

The Development Strategy document is also available to view at any of our libraries, or by visiting the Council’s Delamere House in Crewe; Macclesfield Town Hall; and the Council’s offices at Westfields in Sandbach.  The Local Plan consultation ends on February 26, 2013.

For planning advice and information contact: planningpolicyconsultation@cheshireeast.gov.uk or call 01270 658893

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