Cheshire East Council is backing Sandbach’s efforts to prevent unsustainable and unplanned development.
The Council has now formally received Sandbach’s Neighbourhood Plan – the first from a town in Cheshire East.
It follows Council Leader Councillor Michael Jones support for a programme to enable communities to deliver neighbourhood plans across the Borough – to help shape development in the local area.
Neighbourhood Plans enable local people to have a say in the development they would like to see in the area in which they live.
Sandbach Town Council, which covers a semi-rural area with a population of 17,976, successfully applied for designation, which was approved by Cheshire East Council in October 2014.
The plan will now be the subject of a final six weeks of public consultation before being scrutinised by an appointed independent examiner.
A positive examiner’s report will then mean the plan can progress to a local referendum, when local people will be given the opportunity to vote and bring the plan into effect.
The policies in the Sandbach Neighbourhood Plan will then be given their full weight in deciding planning applications.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said: “Neighbourhood plans are an important tool to enable local people to develop policies to address planning matters that affect not only their interests but also their health and wellbeing.
“Neighbourhood plans are a key part of our commitment to putting ‘residents first’ – which is one of the Council’s key priorities – and we fully support communities in putting them in place.
“These plans allow communities to take ownership of local planning policy, which directly impacts on their lives.”
The Council is working with more than 20 communities to bring forward neighbourhood plans and is encouraging many more to do so.
Town Mayor Cllr Gillian Merry said: “Sandbach Neighbourhood Development Plan has reached an important milestone as it progresses through formal planning requirements.
“Sandbach Town Council is grateful that the working group has pursued its project plan with enthusiasm and commitment. There is some way to go yet, but I am confident that in early 2016 we will have a Neighbourhood Development Plan we can all support.”