Tuesday, 20 May 2014
Cheshire East Update: Fighting the good fight
"Whilst it is important that we do deliver on housing, it is also crucial that we continue to fight developers who put profit ahead of people, and development ahead of our countryside." So said, Michael Jones of Cheshire East in his Leader's Speech a couple of weeks ago.
The council certainly is fighting against the schemes that it considers will deliver the wrong kind of housing. It was confirmed yesterday that it will be challenging the Elworth Hall Farm, Sandbach appeal decision, another where a planning inspector has found that a five year supply of deliverable housing land cannot be demonstrated.
There is at least a consistency to this approach, but coincidentally I understand that at the same time as the Council was confirming this challenge a judge at the Administrative Court in Manchester was dismissing the challenge it made in December to the Congleton Road, Sandbach appeal decision, which also found that there was not a demonstrable five year supply.
Mr Jones is clearly so confident of the soundness of the Submission Draft - Local Plan Strategy that proposals that do not accord out with it but could otherwise be said to be sustainable are being dismissed as "unwanted", and at some point the Council will have a five year supply of deliverable housing land (the council has resolved to approve 3,800 units since October 2013).
If that supply cannot though be demonstrated prior to the examination of the Submission Draft - Local Plan Strategy, which Mr Jones expects to take place this summer, there has to be a more than distinct possibility that the examination inspector will recommend that the Local Plan Strategy document will be, at best, delayed and, at worst, withdrawn. In that scenario the council will rightly have to be asked whether it fought the right fight.