Cheshire East Council is leading the way supporting communities’ efforts to prevent unsustainable and unplanned development.
The Council has now formally working towards the preparation of 24 Neighbourhood Plans from across Cheshire East – with four already at an advanced stage.
In terms of active plan making, Cheshire East is leading the way in the north of England and is the eighth most active Borough in the country.
And an application has been made which will create the largest joint neighbourhood area in the country – 10 parishes at Wybunbury.
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.
Each plan goes through a final six weeks of public consultation before being scrutinised by an appointed independent examiner.
A positive examiner’s report would 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 an adopted Neighbourhood Plan are then given their full weight in deciding planning applications.
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of housing and planning, said: “It is great to see Cheshire East is leading the way. Neighbourhood Plans are vitally important tools to enable local people to develop policies to address planning matters that affect not only their interests but also their wider health and wellbeing.
“These plans allow communities to take ownership of local planning policy, which directly impacts on many aspects of their lives.
“Neighbourhood plans are a key part of Cheshire East’s real commitment to putting ‘residents first’ and being ‘a listening authority’ – and we fully support communities in putting them in place.”
The Council has been actively working with 27 communities to bring forward neighbourhood plans and is encouraging many more to do so.
Specialist planning support provided by Cheshire East is paying dividends with four plans currently proceeding to independent examination. Moreover, Sandbach, Audlem and Bunbury all finalised their draft Neighbourhood Plans within a year.