It appears that Macclesfield and Wilmslow may be required to bear the brunt of a projected 33% increase in housing numbers in the Cheshire East Local Plan. Following the suspension of the Cheshire East Local Plan in November 2014, council officials have been beavering away behind the scenes in an attempt to address the Inspector’s concerns and gather more evidence to support their plan. No date has yet been set for a resumption of the examination but some key findings have been published.
The final draft version of the Objectively Assessed Housing Needs Report has now been published. The report concludes that the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) for housing in Cheshire East is a figure of 36,000 dwellings over the 20-year period to 2030. This is a massive 33% increase on the figure previously proposed by the council and raises the inevitable question of where this extra housing land will be found.
Green Belt Assessment
In conjunction with the review of housing numbers, the Council has had to reassess the Green Belt within the Borough against all five purposes for including land in the Green Belt identified in national policy. Not all parcels listed as maker a lesser contribution to the Green Belt will be released for development but it is expected that sites identified as making a lesser contribution to the Green Belt will be considered as having the greatest potential to ‘top up’ non-Green Belt sites, in locations where demand is demonstrated as exceeding supply of non-Green Belt sites.
The assessment has resulted in the importance of numerous parcels of land being downgraded (in Green Belt terms) and shows that parcels of land which make a lesser contribution to the Green Belt are clustered around Macclesfield and Wilmslow in the north of the district, and Scholar Green further south, raising the prospect of controversial and unpopular further releases of Green Belt land in these areas.
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