Cheshire East Council has backed its revised Local Plan Strategy following comments and submissions during six weeks of public consultation.
The blueprint, which will shape development across the Borough up to 2030, will now be forwarded for consideration by Planning Inspector Stephen Pratt.
The focus of the last round of public consultation was on the changes the Council proposed to the plan it originally submitted to the Secretary of State in May 2014, in light of interim views by the Planning Inspector during examination. This included additional and amended strategic site allocations.
A significant amount of detailed research and evidence has been gathered to inform the amended document and this latest round of consultation aimed to capture the views of the public on the changes made and adopted by full Council in February 2016.
The Council has received a total of 19,572 representations from 4,679 members of the public or groups during the most recent consultation.
The Council had already received more than 40,000 responses to the original draft Local Plan Strategy during nine previous rounds of public consultation.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, who is now overseeing the Local Plan process, said: “The Local Plan Strategy (LPS) is the Council’s most important tool for shaping development in Cheshire East up to 2030.
“There has been a tremendous response from residents and other stakeholders during this latest – and nine previous – rounds of public consultations on our Local Plan proposals.
“This must be one of the most-consulted on Local Plans in the country. However, given the changes made during examination and the significance of the plan, it was only right that people have been given full opportunity to reflect on this document and give their views.
“To date, we have received a total of more than 60,000 responses in the various consultations to arrive at our draft LPS. This is an unprecedented level of interest in a council consultation process and I’m sure this additional period of consultation has allowed everyone to feel they have had time and opportunity to have their say.
“I am pleased that the revised document is going forward and I am confident that the LPS is comprehensive and robust. The LPS includes a comprehensive suite of development sites to accommodate the larger scale of growth now expected and planned for in the Borough.
“The Council is now looking forward to it being positively received and for the inspector’s examination hearings to resume in early autumn.”
Updated evidence, completed during the earlier suspension of the inspector’s examination, necessitated revisions to the main strategic policies relating to housing, economic growth, development and green belt. The wording of policies was amended to reflect the outcome of the new evidence. This has now been publicly consulted on and further changes made.
The changes are being shared with the inspector and full details will be made available on our website shortly.
The necessary changes have been shared with party group leaders, chairman and vice-chairman of the strategic planning board, and the portfolio holder Cllr Arnold. Now the revisions have been signed off under authority delegated to officers by full Council.
Cllr Arnold added: “The Council is confident this Local Plan Strategy is comprehensive, fully consulted upon and robust – and we look forward towards its successful adoption.
“We continue to work hard to bring the final adoption of the Local Plan a step closer and help provide Cheshire East with a blueprint to better shape future growth and prevent unplanned or unsustainable development in the Borough.”
Every comment, objection or expression of support for the Local Plan has been recorded on the Council’s consultation database – and so we have a clear picture about what has been said so far on the plan.
To see the Local Plan Strategy documents suite, visit the link: