CEC reject Inspector’s advice on sites consultation

Despite Inspector Stephen Pratt ‘s recommendation, CEC are not going to publish its final list of site allocations ahead of the next main consultation.

The Inspector suggested that CEC “may wish to consider publicising the final list of selected site allocations before public consultation, so that stakeholders and local communities can provide up-to-date information on availability and deliverability and ensure that all other potential sites have been assessed; this may help to reduce the time spent at any further hearing sessions considering the delivery of these and other “omission” sites.”

But Cheshire East replied last week that “Having considered that suggestion very carefully, we do not intend to undertake such a form of pre-consultation,  for the following  reasons:

  • The Edge of Settlement Analysis and Urban Potential work provides extensive information as to site options – this has been in the public domain for the past six months; 
  • The Council has contacted site promoters through the autumn to ascertain the latest position on site suitability and deliverability; 
  • Council officers have met with groupings of Town and Parish Councils during October and November 2015 to discuss the suitability and deliverability of candidate allocations for each of the Principal Towns and Key Service Centres; 
  • Council officers have briefed Cheshire East Councillors on an ongoing basis relating to progress on the LPS;
  • Sites have continued to be promoted and brought to the attention of the Council throughout this process; 
  • Experience to date suggests that it is the examination hearings that tend to be the focus of debate and many site promoters and objectors will wish to pursue their cases through to any such sessions; 
  • Advance consultation will add at least 4 months to the overall programme – it is not clear that this investment of time will be repaid by eventual savings to the examination process; 
  • Carrying out two rounds of consultation, one immediately after the other could cause confusion, notwithstanding every effort being made to clearly explain the purpose and scope of each process.  “

Cheshire East’s new provisional timetable :

CHESHIRE EAST LOCAL PLAN STRATEGY FUTURE PROGRESS OF EXAMINATION
Mid December 2015: Inspector issued Further Interim Views
February 2016:          Council Meeting to consider proposed amendments to the submitted Local Plan Strategy
March /April 2016:   Council publicises proposed amendments to the submitted Local Plan Strategy, including new and amended site allocations for public consultation
April – May 2016:     Council considers and responds to representations made
June 2016:                   Council formally submits amendments to the submitted LPS for examination
July – August 2016:  Preparation for resumed Examination hearings
September 2016  Resumption of Examination hearings to consider amendments to the submitted LPS and sites (including additional, amended and existing site allocations)

see the full response: REB013.

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