EXAMINATION OF THE CHESHIRE EAST LOCAL PLAN STRATEGY
INSPECTOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE CLOSE OF THE HEARING SESSIONS ON FRIDAY 3 OCTOBER 2014
1. At the close of the hearing sessions of the examination of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy on Friday 3 October 2014, the inspector re-confirmed his previous announcement (made at the end of the previous week) that the remaining hearing sessions of the examination will be deferred for a short time. This is largely due to the need to consider and digest the unexpectedly large volume of statements and additional material submitted in relation to the Local Plan Strategic Sites and Strategic Allocations, along with the alternative/additional “omission” sites. This approach has been agreed by the Council’s representatives. The Council also submitted a suggested revised programme for the remaining hearing sessions, which envisage a slightly longer break, resuming the hearing sessions in early December 2014. During the adjournment of the hearing sessions, the inspector will need to consider the Council’s suggested revised programme and the arrangements for resuming the hearing sessions.
2. Furthermore, during the course of the hearing sessions, several legal submissions have been made by the Council and other participants about the examination process and the legal compliance and soundness of the submitted Local Plan. Since some of these legal submissions relate to the general process and procedure of examining development plans, the inspector has made the Planning Inspectorate aware of these legal submissions. During the adjournment of the hearing sessions, the inspector will need to consider these legal submissions and come to a view about the future progress of the examination. cont…
3. Consequently, the inspector may consider whether it may be appropriate to advise the Council of his interim views on the legal compliance and soundness of the submitted plan on the basis of the existing evidence, representations, submissions, statements and discussions at the hearing sessions so far, without prejudice to his final conclusions on the legal compliance and soundness of the submitted plan. The Council have indicated that they would welcome such communications with the inspector.
4. The inspector hopes to inform the Council of the approach he intends to adopt as soon as practicable, hopefully within the next few weeks; the Programme Officer will then inform participants accordingly. In the meantime, apart from completing and commenting on the additional information requested by the inspector during the course of the hearing sessions, no further material should be submitted by the Council and other participants. The Programme Officer will inform participants about the availability of this additional information, and set tight deadlines for any responses.
5. Finally, the inspector thanked the Council and other participants for their helpful and courteous approach to the hearing sessions and for their contributions to the discussion, and confirmed that he will carefully consider all the points raised. He also thanked the Programme Officer and her team for dealing with the administrative arrangements for the examination and the hearings, along with the note-takers. He then formally adjourned the hearing sessions of the examination.