Cheshire East Council Backtrack of Neighbourhood Area Decision
Cheshire East Council have been forced to backtrack on their decision to remove a proposed garden village out of the Handforth Neighbourhood Plan Area.
The Neighbourhood Plan which is being created to enable local residents to influence and to some extent determine the development in their locality was dealt a blow when Cheshire East Council objected to the inclusion of the emerging Local Plan allocation being included within the Neighbourhood Plan boundary and stated that the garden village is; “a completely separate entity and it makes sense not to include the scheme within the proposed Neighbourhood Plan”.
Understandably, Handforth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, who are tasked with creating the plan, were unhappy with the decision of Cheshire East Council and sought advice from DCLG. Subsequently, they were advised that new regulations brought in regarding the designation of a Neighbourhood Plan Area meant that the council must designate the whole parish.
The Neighbourhood Planning (General) and Development Management Procedure (Amendment) Regulations 2016 state that where a local planning authority receive an area application from a parish council, and the area specific covers the entirety of the parish boundary and does not extend into neighbouring parishes, the council must designate the whole of the area.
Following this advice from DCLG, Cheshire East Council have reviewed their initial decision, with the formal notice now reading as follows:
“My earlier decision to exclude the site from the Neighbourhood Plan area was consistent with the Government’s recent white paper which seeks to streamline planning procedures to ensure the delivery of new garden villages such as the North Cheshire Growth Village. However, I am pleased to confirm that the whole of Handforth parish, including the garden village, is now to be designates as the Handforth Neighbourhood Area.”
The benefits of the scheme being included within the Neighbourhood Area are not being lost on the Parish Council, with the area potentially set to receive £2.5 million receipt from the garden village scheme through the Community Infrastructure Levy, efforts will be stepped up to ensure that a Neighbourhood Plan is in place as soon as possible.