At the Cheshire East Council meeting on Thursday 14th December, Labour Councillor Sam Corcoran will propose
That this Council notes that:
1) in a recent planning appeal case the Inspector considered whether Cheshire East Council had a 5-year housing land supply and said, “To my mind, even though the calculated supply includes a 20% buffer, the 5-year supply should be considered to be marginal and, potentially, in doubt” and said “I conclude that it would be both cautious and prudent in the circumstances of this case to regard policies for the supply of housing to be considered not up-to-date, thus engaging the tilted balance of paragraph 14 of the Framework.”
2) the Local Plan assumes a housing need of 1800 p.a.
3) a recent government consultation included a figure for housing need in
Cheshire East of 1142 p.a.
4) if the 5-year housing land supply calculation were based on a housing need
of 1142 p.a. then Cheshire East would have a secure and robust 5-year
housing land supply
5) in order to take advantage of the lower figure for housing need in
calculating a 5-year housing land supply, the Local Plan will need to be
This Council requests that a report be presented to the next Cabinet meeting setting out the work required to refresh the Local Plan to ensure that Cheshire East has a secure and robust 5-year housing land supply.
In July 2017 Conservative-controlled Cheshire East Council finally adopted a Local Plan. The Conservatives claimed this would end the flood of speculative housing applications on greenfield sites that have been blighting towns in south Cheshire. However, a loophole in the Local Plan means that council officers can recommend for approval any planning application for ‘affordable’ homes around towns in south Cheshire.
The Cheshire East Local Plan has controls on affordable homes in open countryside around Local Service Centres and Other Settlements (small towns and villages), but NOT for Key Service Centres (such as Sandbach, Alsager and Congleton).
Cllr Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South said “Whether this was an oversight or a deliberate attempt to allow a loophole for developers to exploit this unfortunate flaw in the Cheshire East Local Plan needs to be rectified as soon as possible.”
Sam Corcoran said, “At the Council meeting in July when the Local Plan was adopted I warned the Council that without a 5-year housing land supply the Local Plan would be as effective as a chocolate fireguard in stopping speculative housing applications. I proposed then that work should start immediately on a new Local Plan. Sadly that amendment was voted down by the Conservatives. I am being proved right and the Conservatives have wasted 5 months. We now need to act swiftly to ‘refresh’ the Local Plan if we are to stop a developer’s free-for-all.”
“The five police investigations swirling around Conservative-controlled Cheshire East Council should not be allowed to distract attention from the ongoing problems over speculative housing developments caused by national Conservative Party policies and local Conservative incompetence. Developers are making millions out of housing on greenfield sites and local communities have to suffer increasing traffic congestion and overloaded services.
We need proper local government planning to ensure that houses are built in the places where they are needed and that appropriate infrastructure improvements are provided.
Under the Conservatives private developers build houses in the places and styles that make them most money, without regard for local residents.”