CEC Response to Local Plan Inspector Increases Housing Numbers (Jul 2015)
There is some important news about the Local Plan. Cheshire East Council has now produced its response to Inspector Pratt and this involves increasing the economic growth forecasts and the housing supply figure for the borough to 36,000. This entails the need to supply even more land for housing.
Congleton’s share of these houses has been increased to 4,150 and to accommodate these it has been suggested that land at Tall Ash Farm, off Padgbury Lane, off Waggs Road and off Canal Road should be considered as suitable for development.
Over the last three years we have tried hard to keep you all up-to-date with planning matters in Congleton and we are aware that these areas form cherished green space in the eyes of many people in the town. Indeed, most of our green space, other than that in the greenbelt to the east of the town, will now vanish. There have been allocations in the northern towns, in response to the Inspector’s view that those are the areas that require more housing, but the constraints of the greenbelt in the north mean that CEC apparently felt they could not allocate most of the increase in those areas. The southern towns, including Congleton are, therefore, again bearing the brunt of this decision.
Developers have already received permission for much off-plan development outside the designated sites in the southern towns and now it seems that their view of how the towns should develop has been adopted by CEC. Quite how the Borough justifies its claims for economic growth predictions, or indeed how it will achieve these targets is unclear. It is also unclear why our councillors have agreed to go along with these proposals for Congleton when they are aware that the town is developing a Neighbourhood Plan. It appears to us that all choice has now been taken away from Congleton people.
The proposals are due to go before CEC cabinet on 21st July. We should like to hear your views quickly so that we can respond to this.