Cheshire East has received a report from the Planning Inspector providing his interim views on the soundness and legal compliance of the Council’s Local Plan.
The report outlines a number of areas that need further consideration and clarification before the Local Plan examination can continue.
The inspector has agreed that, in preparing the Local Plan, the Council has complied with its duty to cooperate and its strategy for towns and villages. He has, however, expressed concern as to whether the draft Local Plan provides for sufficient homes to meet future need by 2030.
The Council has agreed to pause the examination to allow further work to be undertaken to address the inspector’s concerns, which is likely to be completed within six months.
The Planning Inspector said in his interim report: “The proposed level of future housing provision seems inadequate to ensure the success of overall economic, employment and housing strategy.”
Adrian Fisher, head of planning at the Council, said: “We must now do further work to ensure that our housing requirements match up with the economic requirement. We need to integrate our overall assessment of housing needs with our economic strategy.”
Councillor David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council and Cabinet member in charge of the Local Plan, said: “It is regrettable that there will now be a delay in getting this finalised. However, we must justify our decisions with work on our objectively-assessed need and economic evidence.
“Our aim is to deliver the best housing, jobs and infrastructure for the people of Cheshire East and our future generations.
“Getting the Local Plan right is an absolute priority and we undertake to do this over the next six months.”
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This is a regrettable situation but my focus will now be on protecting the open countryside and our greenbelt from unplanned development.
“This means more neighbourhood plans and some interim policies put in place, as well as communications with the Government, which have already begun, to ensure that Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan is brought to fruition as soon as possible.”
George Osborne, MP for Tatton, said: “I very much regret that there will be a delay to the long-awaited Local Plan.
“I know Cheshire East Council have worked hard to put this in place and I’ve spoken to them about it.
“The key thing is that more work is now done over the next few months to get it absolutely right and I’m glad Michael Jones and Cheshire East Council are going to do that.”