THE leader of the borough council has written to the Government expressing his ‘deep concerns’ over ‘inconsistent’ planning appeals.
In a leaked letter to Communities and Local Government Mp Brandon Lewis, Clr Michael Jones highlights various cases where the Planning Inspectorate has overridden planning decision taken by Cheshire East Council.
“As well as a distinct lack of consistency with the decisions, it appears that the Inspectorate is giving far greater weight to the arguments being put forward by developers than those of the council and local residents,” says clr Jones.
The member for Bunbury points out that CEC’s forthcoming Local Plan will earmark where development can and cannot take place – a plan formulated with input from the borough’s residents.
“Since I became Leader of the council in May 2012, my cabinet and I have been very clear; delivering an adopted Local Plan which protects the borough against speculative development is an absolute priority,” he says.
“We have maintained a firm stance throughout as Cheshire East is a special place, home to some of the UKs most beautiful countryside. We are also a bastion of farming, home to a key industrial hub in Crewe and a vital component of the North’s Science Corridor.
“It is vitally important that we defend against all of those applications which do not meet with our criteria for sustainable development and that do not complement our plans for jobs-led growth.”
He adds: “While it is my responsibility to deliver the new homes the country needs, it is also my responsibility to represent the interest of the residents of Cheshire East.
“With more than 14,000 permissions and a further 1,500 anticipated over the coming months, this is one of the highest figures outside of the South East. It is simply not in our resident’s interest to build yet more homes that have not been identified in the Local Plan.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "The department does not comment on specific planning cases due to the quasi-judicial process. Planning Inspectors must give full consideration to all representations when producing their reports.
"This Government has been very clear that Green Belt protection continues, and it has been fortified by abolishing the last Government’s top-down Regional Strategies.
“Local Plans are now at the heart of the planning system, so councils decide where development should go. The sooner the council get their local plans in place, the greater the certainty developers and communities have about the development of their areas.”