Thursday, 10 January 2013

How committed is Cheshire East Council to it's Development Plan?

I highlighted in a tweet recently that Cheshire East Council, £132.3m in debt, owns or part owns seven of the strategic sites identified in it's Draft Development Strategy, including the proposed new settlement at East Handforth.

The Council has stated that as part of a wider approach to developing the economy it will directly promote employment and housing growth through the development of Council assets and land. This approach is logically enough given the Council's financial plight, but it is important that those Council assets and land are identified through the development plan process as being the most appropriate sites for development relative to other options.

It's interesting to see, therefore, that the Council is seeking a Development Executive to become Chief Executive designate of wholly Council-owned company that will be established to deliver "a number of strategic sites as well as two brand new settlements".

When confirming recently that Cheshire East Council is to take legal action to try to overturn the granting at appeal of planning permission for 200 homes on the outskirts of Congleton, Council Leader Michael Jones stated that:

"...we need to ensure developments are planned properly after listening to local people – and that they reinforce, rather than undermine, our Local Plan, based on a vision that we can all agree".

Councillor Jones clearly expects the development community to respect the development plan process, but I wonder whether the development community can expect the same of the Council?

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