Presentation on theme: "THE Local Plan and pressure on the Cheshire countryside"— Presentation transcript:
1 THE Local Plan and pressure on the Cheshire countryside Lillian BurnsPrestbury parish councillorChALC Board Member
2 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE The legal bedrock of the planning system is the Development Plan. Planning applications must be decided in accordance with the Development Plan ‘unless material considerations indicate otherwise’ (Planning System, General Principles, DCLG). The Local Plan is the key component of the Development Plan, although there are other planning documents that contribute to it as well.
3 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE The new National Planning Policy Framework has replaced a raft of former statutory planning documents at the national level but it is silent on many issues and non-specific on others. It gives limited guidance to principal authorities on how they should prepare their Development Plans. The principal authorities have much more freedom now in the modus operandi they adopt than they had previously, but they are required to prove to a planning inspector at an examination in public that their plans are ‘sound’. They can be challenged on the ‘soundness’ of their plans.
4 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Local Authorities have no direct control over:Changes to the planning system including the timescale for producing Local Plans if they are not to have to rely on the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as a defaultReductions in government funding, nor imposed caps on Council tax risesGovernment diktats to make the economy keyTreasury/ DCLG pressures to build more homes
5 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE What can Local Authorities do? They can:Set precedents in how they interpret the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) because, as yet, there is no case lawChoose to retain the best policies or partial policies from Regional Spatial Strategies – which have not yet been scrappedChoose to keep a balance in their Local Plans between the three tenets of sustainability - environment, social and economic issues
6 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE What can local authorities do (cont’d)? They can:Question often made assumption of an auto- matic link between building/economic growthGive due credence to environmental capacity constraints and resist being panicked into making decisions they will regret and future generations will suffer fromRefuse to let fiscal incentives like the Community Infrastructure Levy or New Homes Bonus set policyOpt for housing figures at the low end of market predictions - in line with RSS recommendations
7 NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND PLAN: REGIONAL SPATIAL STRATEGY TO 2021 Distribution, Regional Housing Provision for subsequent CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL areaDistrictTotal housingAnnual averageBrownfield land targetCongleton5,40030080%Crewe & N.8,10045060%Macclesf’d7,2004003 Districts:20,7001,15073%
8 NORTH WEST OF ENGLAND PLAN: REGIONAL SPATIAL STRATEGY TO 2021 Worth flagging up here is what the RSS says on Green Belt: “Overall the general extent of the Region’s Green Belt will be maintained … After 2011 the presumption will be against exceptional substantial strategic change to the Green Belt in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire or Merseyside”. (Policy RDF4). Supporting text says: “It is anticipated that future development in the North West as set out in this RSS can generally be accommodated without the need for strategic reviews of the Green Belt”. (Para. 5.25).
9 The LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE NW RSS housing figures extrapolated to 20 years:FOR CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL (CEC)Average: 1,150 pa x 20 = 23,000 (20,700 for 18 yrs.)In the Local Plan ‘Issues & Options’ paper CEC published and consulted upon in 2010 that figure of 23,000 houses was described as ‘Low Growth’. ‘Medium Growth’ figure canvassed was 26,950. ‘High Growth’ figure canvassed was 32,000.The 11 ‘Town Strategies’ being produced all have expansionist plans into surrounding countryside. Main challenge: to keep overall figures to RSS level.
10 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Other challenges:-Ensuring that, in the rush for growth, CEC does not lose sight of key legislation and White Papers which should overlay their work, such asThe 2008 Climate Change Act & the 2011 White Paper ‘Creating Growth, Cutting Carbon’ in addition to international carbon agreements orThe 2011 Natural Environment White PaperNor of the need to keep Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) and a local land-scape designation similar to Cheshire County Council’s Areas of Special County Value(ASCVs)
11 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Where does this leave the principal authorities?They have to comply with the NPPF which:Re-inforces the plan-led systemUpholds the intrinsic value of the undesignated countryside and says much about Green Belt - but will only help protect it when a Local Plan is in placeProvides a definition of sustainable developmentPresumption in favour of sustainable developmentRequires support for sustainable economic growthCalls for housing market assessment figures, a 5- yr. supply of deliverable housing sites + 5% buffer
12 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Cheshire East is coming up to its ‘preferred options’ stage which it is calling its ‘Development Strategy’. Feeding into that will be the Town Strategies which are purportedly about the market towns but which focus heavily on development possibilities around the towns themselves – often in adjoining parishes. To help Cheshire East draw these up, in each case, an ad hoc grouping of stakeholders were pulled together with input from the Town Councils where Town Councils exists. However, neither Crewe nor Macclesfield have Town Councils.
13 The local plan and pressure on the cheshire countryside The Draft Macclesfield Town Strategy invited feed- back on 10 potential development sites around the town including two in Prestbury Parish and two adjoining Prestbury Parish but no town centre sites. This is surprising and disappointing as the town centre re-development is very much a ‘live’ issue. It is hugely relevant to parishes round Macclesfield if plans to redevelop the centre do not include the provision of housing aimed at re-invigorating the centre. In fact the current planning application by Wilson Bowden proposes a net gain of only five housing units and none above shops.
15 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE The land identified as ‘D’ in the Macclesfield Town Strategy was intended for the extension of the Tytherington Business Park but, due to a slow take up, the proposal is to allow a change of use to housing for the land between the Silk Road to the east, Larkwood Way to the west and Tytherington Drive to the south. About 150 dwellings could be accommodated here. Prestbury’s S.E. boundary extends half way along Dumbah Lane, so this site is just outside it. Prestbury Parish Council said it approved of this as it would be in keeping with advice given to Cheshire by the RSS panel who told them to release excess employment land.
16 The local plan and pressure on the cheshire countryside The other areas in the Town Strategy of most interest to people living in NW Macc. & Prestbury are A, B & C. ‘A’ - described as ‘land to the north of Birtles Road’ -adjoins Prestbury’s boundary to the south, runs behind the Leisure Centre and abuts the Rugby Club. It is said it could deliver around 900 houses. ‘B’ -‘land west of Priory Lane’ - is in the parish, covers the Rugby Club land and could deliver 300 dwellings’. ‘C’ - ‘land north of Prestbury Road’ - in the parish is the land south of Willowmead, east of Macclesfield Road adjoining the Bollin Valley could deliver 360 houses. All these areas are Green Belt and ‘C’ is an ASCV.
17 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE
18 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Housing numbers and types are generated from a Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) but, it should be noted that this provides a ball park figure to aim for. Principal authorities have some flexibility as to whether they opt for the high or the low side of the figures that are produced. The up-dated SHMA is presently awaited. Where housing is placed comes partly from windfall and speculative sites but mainly from the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) which is also currently being up-dated following a recent ‘call for sites’ from CEC.
19 The LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Somehow we have to try to persuade CEC to:Go for less aspirational housebuilding figures, despite the fiscal incentives to do otherwiseConcentrate on consolidating/ re-invigorating town centres & providing more housing in themRe-allocate employment land where suitableSet targets for brownfield re-use and policies that require sequential land use, brownfield firstProtect key landscapes with local designationsNot go for Green Belt reviewDo more to bring empty housing back into use
20 THE LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE Site ‘C’ runs contrary to the five purposes of Green Belt identified in paragraph 80 of the NPPF:It would not “check the unrestricted sprawl of [a] large built-up area”It would not “prevent neighbouring towns [or in this case settlements] merging into one another”It would not “assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment”It would not “preserve the setting and special character of a historic town” andIt would not “assist in urban regeneration”
21 The LOCAL PLAN AND PRESSURE ON THE CHESHIRE COUNTRYSIDE The Town Strategy consultations have now closed but you are fully entitled to make your thoughts known to any elected member or officer. The consultation on the future of the town centre is still open (headed ‘Regeneration of the Macclesfield Town Centre’ under ‘Consultations’ on the CEC website home page: Please take part in it and emphasise the need to provide more housing in the town centre in order to revitalise it. And look out for the Development Strategy stage of the Local Plan consultation which will probably happen Dec 2012 or Jan 2013