CEC Cabinet Endorse Local Plan Revisions
Cheshire East Council Cabinet have, this afternoon, resolved to endorse the additional evidence and the suggested revisions to the submitted Plan to allow for its publication, additional stakeholder engagement, and submission to the Inspector.
The additional evidence and suggested revisions were unanimously endorsed by Cabinet and as such the additional information will be submitted to the Inspector at the end of July with the examination resuming on 1st August 2015. However, the Hearings are not expected to take place, should the Inspector consider this the appropriate course of action, until late autumn.
The Cabinet meeting was attended by a large number of local residents, a number of whom raised on-going concerns with the Plan. Additionally a number of local councillors were also in attendance providing various points on the emerging Plan and the process which has been undertaken.
Concerns from local residents and from local councillors included the lack on public consultation which has been carried out, with Cllr Brown defending the level by making the bold claim that this plan is ‘the most consulted on plan there has ever been in the whole of the country’.
Other areas of concern included the number of homes to be allocated to certain settlements and the fact that the additional work being undertaken seems to be a ‘patching up’ exercise rather than considering the situation afresh. The Council were urged by Cllr Newton (not a member of the Cabinet) to consider a contingency plan as he feels that they are in a position which may lead to the Plan being withdrawn.
It is unclear at present, and may remain the case for a while, as to how the outcome from discussions during the forthcoming Spatial Distribution workshops, scheduled to take place on 4th August, will be included within the additional evidence and suggested revisions to the Plan which will have already been submitted to the Inspector by the time the consultation event occurs.
A question must also be raised as to whether this is a true reflection of what the Local Plan is about. It is important to remember that the start date of Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan was 2010 and we are now heading towards the latter part of 2015, still without the shining light of adoption in sight at the end of a long dark tunnel, in which the Local Plan has found itself for a considerable period of time.
It is therefore clear that Cheshire East Council still have a number of matters to address, and considering past, recent experience, this is likely to remain the case as the examination resumes and progresses, however only time will tell as to the final outcome.