Housing Developments in Haslington

Questions and Answers

1 – There have been several applications or proposals for large residential developments around Haslington in the past few months, the questions and answers below may help you understand some of the background to what is going on.

2 – Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council has been invited by Haslington Parish Council to talk at a meeting on Monday 2nd September at the Yoxall Village Hall, between 19:30 and 20:30.  Cllr Jones would like to address residents about our planning concerns and will be able to answer questions. All residents are welcome to attend.

Am. 26/8/13

Who makes decisions on planning applications in Haslington? Cheshire East Council is the planning authority.  Decisions are made either by planning officers (employees) or planning committees (elected councillors).
What rules are there? There are National Guidelines and Policies that are enforced by the government in London and local plans and policies set up by Cheshire East Council.
Where does Haslington Parish Council fit in? Haslington Parish Council is asked to comment on all planning applications in the parish of Haslington which also includes Winterley and Oakhanger.  The parish council are also able to comment on applications outside the parish where this could impact our residents.
How are the rules set? Central government issues policies to control where development is to be spread throughout the whole country.  They are very keen for new development to take place to revive the economy; The government believes employment on building sites and buying construction materials can quickly improve the UK economy.
What is the “Local Plan”? This is a large document that contains rules for our local council area on what development should take place and where.  This takes account of where new jobs will be created, where schools, major roads, health facilities and new houses should be built in a carefully planned way so that land is used efficiently and development is spread fairly across all of Cheshire East.   This should protect open countryside and prevent smaller villages such as Haslington from merging into Crewe.  The plan will propose various strategic sites that will be developed in successive 5 year plan periods.

Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council had a Local Plan that has now expired.  A local plan takes a lot of effort to gather in requirements and the views of residents before it can be published, the Cheshire East local plan is not fully ready yet, though parts of it have been published as consultation drafts.

What is the five year supply and why is it so important? Central Government has decided that all Councils should have 5 years supply of land available with either planning permission or allocated in their “Local Plan”.  This is reviewed each year in a publication called the SHLAA, which considers sites all over Cheshire East and determines if they meet agreed policies and could be developed in the next 5 years (or 10 or 15 years).  Cheshire East Council believe the SHLAA provides more than 5 years worth of suitable development sites.   If councils do not have an agreed local plan, speculative developers can propose developments in the open countryside that do not need to match the draft plan policies.  Developers can take a refusal to allow development to a government inspector who is likely to grant approval if it meets central government policy.  There are a large number of planning “appeals” waiting to be considered by the inspector around Crewe and Sandbach.
What types of planning permission are there? (1) Full permission where everything is considered at once, allowing the builder to start work very quickly

(2) Outline, where the principle of development on an area of land is approved, this usually includes details of access to the site, is money required from the developer towards extending local schools, play areas and other local facilities.

(3) Reserved Matters, this upgrades an outline permission to full permission by agreeing all the missing details about the style of houses and the site layout.

How long does permission last? Generally three years, though once permission has been given it is likely that requests to renew will be granted.
Does planning permission force you to build? A developer has to comply with all the conditions in the planning permission, but they are not forced to start or finish building.  Developers may “bank” the permission waiting for house and land prices to increase before they start to build.
Where can be developed? The Crewe and Nantwich plan allowed development inside the settlement boundaries of certain villages such as Haslington and Winterley if certain strict conditions were met.  There were strict policies preventing most new building in the “Green Gap” between Crewe and the surrounding villages and open countryside/farmland.  Communities without settlement boundaries such as Oakhanger had even stricter rules restricting development.

Central Government wants to encourage developers to build on any land that is part of a sustainable community.  Sustainability is a measure of what facilities an area has e.g. how far to a Post Office, Supermarket, Cash point, Doctors Surgery, School, playground, Bus route etc.  Developers may have to contribute quite large sums of money towards improvements if facilities like schools need to expand.  Haslington is considered very sustainable, Winterley is not sustainable as it has few facilities.

Is land available in Haslington? Full planning permission has been given for 11 houses on a field off The Gutterscroft, 6 houses between Fields Road and South Avenue.  Outline permission exists for 44 houses off Vicarage Road.
What if land with planning permission is sold? The new owner would expect to take over the planning permission that had been granted to the land.  A new owner like Elan Homes can buy the land with outline permission from Muller Developments and apply to upgrade this to full permission.
What is pre-application consultation? National policy encourages developers to consult with neighbours and residents before a major planning application is submitted.  Cheshire East also encourages developers to meet with them so that they know what reports would be required e.g. traffic survey if congestion is likely, environmental impact if in a sensitive wildlife area etc.  Cheshire East would also make the developer aware of capacity issues with local schools and the potential size of a monetary contribution required if planning was to be approved, number and type of affordable homes that are required.  A developer can also ask for a pre-application discussion with your parish council – Muller Developments came to present their proposals for Vicarage Road, Richborough Estates with Hazel Bank have not.  Your parish council made it very clear to Muller Developments that residents and councillors thought the proposals were not acceptable – however they were able to convince Cheshire East planners and a planning committee that it was acceptable and outline permission was approved.
Why do potential developers have exhibitions, websites etc.? As part of the planning process developers need to show that they have asked local residents about potential new developments. They may then take account of your ideas and concerns before submitting a formal application.  A recent exhibition in Alsager for a development at White Moss Quarry in Oakhanger found very high levels of support from residents.
Consultation on Planning Applications If an application is submitted to Cheshire East they will:

  • publish a formal notice at the proposed development site for the public to see, this will include a date by when comments need to be received
  • will write to the immediate neighbours letting them know how to find out more detail
  • will publish the application plans and supporting documents on the Cheshire East web site.  Copies of any comments or objections are also published alongside the application

All residents are able to submit written comments in support or objection to the application.

What about houses for sale? Most of the houses for sale in Haslington are still lived in, people are trying to move to smaller or larger houses as their needs change, some are trying to move out of the area but very few are empty and ready to be reoccupied.

 

(Cllr Richard Hovey – Chairman)