Local Plan Delayed AGAIN
Cheshire East Council wrote to the Inspector on 2 April asking for a 1 month delay to the Local Plan timetable. The reason given for the request is that elections have unexpectedly delayed the process and that neighbouring councils are not responding as promptly as hoped. Labour Councillors have expressed alarm that the election was not taken into account when setting the timetable and are concerned that there could be other problems with the timetable.
The fact that neighbouring councils are not bending over backwards to help Cheshire East Council should not come as any surprise to the Conservatives. The Conservative Leader’s personal Twitter account has been used to make attacks on other councils and Council staff drafted some of the Tweets. Cheshire East Conservatives have repeatedly denigrated other councils and now they are trying to blame other councils for delays in their Local Plan.
Labour Councillors have urged the Council to write to local MPs asking for help in protecting the green fields of Cheshire from speculative housing applications. The Conservatives rejected this suggestion.
Labour Councillors have also questioned why Cheshire East Council has accepted 500 houses from High Peak Council’s housing requirement, but has not passed on any of its own housing requirement to Stoke.
Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “The Conservatives have let loose private developers, hoping that free enterprise will solve the housing shortage. As a result, planning is currently out of control in Cheshire East, with speculative housing applications being granted approval. The counter-balance to the new legislation (NPPF) is supposed to be a Local Plan saying where development should and should not take place. Cheshire East Council does not have a Local Plan and, under the Conservatives, the Plan process has been repeatedly delayed.”
Planning expert and Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Congleton, Dr Darren Price, said, “As I said in December, the timetable suggested by the Conservative leadership is looking ever-more optimistic. The importance of having an adopted plan cannot be over-stated. The Inspector clearly has concerns about the Cheshire East Local Plan. I would advise the Council to start making contingency plans in case the Local Plan cannot be fixed within the 6 month suspension period.”