A number of developers are calling for the examination of the Cheshire East Local Plan to be suspended.
A document submitted on behalf of Jones Homes, Redrow Homes, Royal London Asset Management and The Tatton Estate states that "the concerns in respect of the process of plan preparation are serious and substantial".
These concerns relate to the duty to co-operate (especially with regard to green belt, housing and highway infrastructure issues), the omission of an alternative in the Strategic Environmental Assessment which would deliver over 1600 houses per annum - which is described as "an egregious error which must be remedied before the examination can proceed - and the use of an employment growth rate of 0.4% "which is seriously below the consistent evidence base now available".
The report also describes the approach that has been taken in assessing where and how much land should be released from the green belt as "an evidential dogs breakfast which is manifestly an ex post facto exercise".
It continues "Based upon the eclectic evidence base as well as the profoundly flawed out-turn it does not comprise the sort of exercise that warrants a finding other than that the plan is unsound absent a root and branch reassessment."
The developers are calling for the examination to be suspended, for the Inspector to provide interim conclusions on the cases put to him so far and for CEC to be provided with sufficient time to seek to remedy any deficiencies identified by the Inspector. In order that CEC can prepare further evidence, further Strategic Environmental Assessment work, liaise further with adjacent local planning authorities and in due course make modifications "based upon a proper evidence base".
A document submitted on behalf of Haddon Property Developments, entitled "Pulling the Plug" also calls for the examination to be suspended saying "At this stage it would be premature to suggest how precisely the examination should proceed; but in the view of Haddon Property Developments Ltd, a "pause" in the scheduled sessions is indicated at the end of week 2 to consider these matters".
The Planning Inspector, Stephen Pratt has been appointed to conduct the examination of the Cheshire East Local Plan to determine whether the Local Plan Strategy is sound and can be adopted by the Council
Hearings began on Tuesday September 16th at Macclesfield Town Hall and are set to continue until the end of October, with a break during the week commencing October 13th.
For further information regarding the Local Plan examination check the Cheshire East Council website.