Cheshire East Local Plan - Poynton Town Council

The Cheshire East Local Plan was recently passed by Cheshire East Council. It had previously been approved by a Planning Inspector, Mr Pratt.


Poynton Town Council contributed constructively and actively to the Local Plan over several years. Councillors and our professional planning adviser attended and spoke at all relevant Local Plan Public Examination sessions. We are deeply disappointed that the arguments put forward by ourselves and hundreds of Poynton residents opposing building on the Green Belt were not accepted by Cheshire East or the Inspector. Issues such as the traffic problems from new houses, lack of infrastructure and impact on the wildlife and watercourses have been ignored.


Consequently, we are now faced with having a minimum of 650 houses being built in Poynton. We would like to thank Poynton's Cheshire East Councillors and their colleagues in Wilmslow and Handforth who voted against the Local Plan. However, they were outvoted by other councillors, most of whom represent areas not affected by these proposals.


The only positive aspect is that the Local Plan could have been much worse - local landowners and developers had lobbied Cheshire East to build at least 2,500 houses. Had this been approved, virtually every piece of Green Belt around Poynton would have been built over.


Before the Planning Inspector, Mr Pratt, published his final report on the Cheshire East Local Plan, Poynton Town Council sought advice from a barrister specialising in planning matters, regarding the possibility of mounting a legal challenge to the Cheshire East Local Plan. Cllrs Laurence Clarke and Lee Podmore, together with the Town Council's Planning Advisor, John Knight, met the barrister in June before the Inspector published his report.


After the Local Plan was approved by Cheshire East on 27 July 2017, there is a six-week period when a legal challenge could be lodged against the Local Plan. There are two legal grounds for challenging the Local Plan:


To mount a successful legal challenge, it would be necessary to demonstrate that the plan was unlawful. Examples of unlawfulness include:

The barrister highlighted several past legal cases that would be relevant to any challenge. The leading case on challenging local plans is Grand Union Investments Limited v Dacorum Borough Council 2014. The barrister highlighted the following points that are relevant to any challenge the Town Council are considering:

  1. It is not the remit of the court to test the soundness of the Local Plan. This is a planning judgement for the Inspector alone.
  2. 'A claimant who seeks to persuade the court that a planning decision maker has lapsed into irrationality will have to demonstrate an unusually bad error of judgment. He must show that the decision falls outside the range of judgment open to a reasonable decision-maker'.
  3. The guidance on "soundness" of a local plan in the National Planning Policy Framework is not law. 'So long as the inspector and the local planning authority reach a conclusion on soundness which is not "irrational (meaning perverse)", their decision cannot be questioned in the courts, and the mere fact that they have not followed relevant guidance in national policy in every respect does not make their conclusion unlawful.'

Any challenge to the plan cannot be used by the Town Council to have a 'second bite of the cherry' and put forward new arguments against the Local Plan.


In terms of procedure the Town Council and residents had been consulted on the plan and this therefore could not be used to challenge the legality of the plan - even if we felt our comments had been ignored.


In addition, the barrister confirmed that the Inspector had interpreted the law correctly in relation to the modifications made to the plan since 2014 and that the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring councils (such as Stockport) only applies in the earlier stages of the Plan.


In summary, the barrister felt that there were no 'knock out points' that could be used to challenge the Local Plan and that the threshold for any legal challenge to succeed is very high.The Planning Inspector published his final report on the 21st June. He endorsed all the previous changes and modifications to the Local Plan made by Cheshire East Council. Cheshire East agreed to adopt the Local Plan on Thursday 27th July. The period within which a challenge must be made is before 7th September. The time limit is strict and there is no discretion to extend it.


The Town Council would need to identify specific legal points to look at which they think may amount to unlawfulness i.e. illegality, procedural unfairness, failure to take into account material considerations or taking into account immaterial considerations, or irrationality in the report.


This is the type of case where a senior barrister known as a Queens Council (QC) is normally required, and any other parties would also normally engage a QC, including Cheshire East. The potential costs of challenging the adoption of the Local Plan are therefore unknown at this stage, but would involve the legal and other associated professional costs to put together any case to challenge the Local Plan. Given the amount of research and background work over the period from 2009 to 2017, this could be in the tens of thousands of pounds for the legal advice alone, even before any Court hearings.The Town Council has no money of its own - virtually all its funding comes from its share of the Council Tax (known as the precept). The expenses of any legal action by the Town Council would have to be charged to Poynton residents through the precept. The advice of the barrister is that it would be difficult to persuade a Judge that the Local Plan was "irrational" - in law this term implies a very perverse decision.


Another point to consider is that, even if legal action did succeed in persuading a Judge to overturn the Local Plan, this would not be the end of the matter. The Judge would order Cheshire East to prepare yet another Local Plan. This could well increase the extra housing in Poynton over the 650 houses in the current version, leading to the loss of yet more Green Belt land around the village.


It must be remembered that at the start of the Local Plan process in 2010, local landowners and developers put forward plans for more than 2,500 houses in the Green Belt all around Poynton. They would certainly look forward to an opportunity to argue for yet more houses to be built.


In conclusion, the Town Council has concluded, very reluctantly and after taking appropriate advice, that legal action against the Local Plan would be unlikely to succeed.


The Town Council is preparing a Neighbourhood Plan and hopes that this will provide an opportunity for local planning issues arising from the implementation of the Local Plan to be addressed by appropriate policies. For example, a Movement Study is being undertaken by consultants engaged by the Town Council (funded through a Government grant). The study should enable us to respond to the combination of the new relief roads and new housing and employment development together to the long-term benefit of the Poynton community.


We would like to thank the people of Poynton for their support throughout this process. One positive aspect has been the strong and unwavering belief of local people in the defence of our environment.


News

The Neighbourhood Plan is now available


Following extensive consultation within the Poynton community and with other interested parties, this phase of the Neighbourhood Plan gives you an opportunity to comment on its proposals before it is formally submitted to Cheshire East Council. Any suggested changes or additions will need to be compliant with both national and borough-level planning policies, and will also need to be evidence-based. All responses will be carefully considered by the Neighbourhood Plan team, and the Plan amended if necessary before forwarding to Cheshire East Council for their consideration.


The statutory consultation period is six weeks and your comments must be received by 5pm on Monday 14th November.


You can see the full Plan by clicking here, or you can download a pdf version by clicking here.

Please note - If your browser doesn't support the book, please try using another browser such as google or Microsoft Edge.


To tell us what you think of the Plan as a whole, or to give us feedback on one or more of the individual sections of the Plan, go to our on-line survey - the survey will go live on Monday 3rd October - https://www.quicksurveys.com/s/i4MXn


Please give us your comments in the appropriate sections of the feedback form which correspond to the sections in the Plan. Printed reference copies of the Plan are available at the Library and at the Civic Hall.


Should you wish to make a longer submission please e-mail the Clerk to Poynton Town Council - liz.osborn@poyntontowncouncil.gov.uk, or write to: Ms Liz Osborn, Town Clerk, Poynton Town Council, Civic Hall, off Park Lane, Poynton SK12 1RB.


There will also be drop in sessions at the Civic Hall from 10am to 12.45pm on Saturday 22nd October and from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 2nd November, when members of the Neighbourhood Plan team will be on hand to assist with any queries.


6th September 2016


Your Neighbourhood Plan team, with direction and guidance from a planning professional, is putting the finishing touches to the initial Poynton Neighbourhood Plan, known as the pre-submission version. This will be presented to Poynton Town Council in early September, and, subject to any views they may have, it will then be subject to a six week consultation period from early October, after which final comments and views can be incorporated into the Plan.


Thereafter the Plan will be forwarded to Cheshire East Council to ensure it is compliant both with national planning policies and with their emerging Local Plan, which covers the whole of the Cheshire East area. Following an independent examination of the Plan, the final stage will then be for Cheshire East Council to hold a referendum involving all those Poynton residents on the Electoral Roll. If more than 50% of those who respond vote in favour of the Plan then it acquires legal status, and must be paid due regard by developers, landowners and planning officers.


Further information will be posted on this site in due course, as will an electronic version of the Plan.


28th July 2016

Residents will be pleased to learn that the Poynton Neighbourhood Plan (NP) is nearing completion. The volunteers who form the NP Steering Group are currently putting the finishing touches to it, with a view to submitting the Plan to the Town Council for approval at the beginning of September.


The Plan comprises sections on Housing, the Green Belt, Town Centre & Business, Health & Wellbeing, and Transport & Connectivity, and reflects the views of Poynton residents as gained from surveys, focus groups and other evidence gathering.


The timing of the Plan's completion is critical, as it will enable it to be submitted to Cheshire East Council in early September, when the Independent Planning Inspector resumes his examination of the emerging Cheshire East Local Plan.


As a reminder to residents, if the Plan is shown to be compliant with both the National Planning Policy Framework and the existing and emerging Cheshire East Local Plans it will be put to all Poynton residents in a referendum. If more than 50% of those residents who respond vote in its favour then planners, developers and landowners will be obliged to take its content and policies seriously, as it will have legal status.

22nd April 2016

Help Shape The Future of Poynton

We're looking for local residents aged 20 to 45 to help formulate the Poynton Neighbourhood Plan


You are invited to join one of two group discussions to be held on the evening of Thursday 5th May, from 7pm to 9pm, at the Community Centre on Park Lane, and on Saturday morning 14th May, from 10am to noon, at the British Legion on Georges Road West. The groups of around 20 each will be a mix of residents, both with and without young families. Refreshments will be offered at both venues.


Our Neighbourhood Plan will influence the way in which Poynton develops from now until 2030. This Plan is distinct from Cheshire East Council's emerging Local Plan, which will govern development in the whole of Cheshire East in the same time period. Although our Neighbourhood Plan needs to comply with the Local Plan, it will nevertheless have legal force, and will need to be taken account of by planners, developers and landowners alike.


Our Neighbourhood Plan team comprises a group of volunteers and Town Councillors, and it has already undertaken two surveys among Poynton residents. It now needs to find out how residents in this specific younger age group want Poynton to develop over the next two decades. Views will be sought on issues such as housing, the Green Belt, health and wellbeing, infrastructure and local services, as well as the draft policy proposals intended to manage these.


To participate please complete the details below and return to the reception desk at the Civic Hall or e-mail enquiries@parklaneresearch.co.uk as soon as possible, and in any case no later than the end of April. You will then be provided with full details of these events. Thank you.


Name(s)

Age(s)

No. of children

Of these, the number of school age at home

Address and postcode

E-mail

Phone no.


Note: To avoid any conflict of interest members of these discussion groups need to declare that they have no interest, connection or influence with the development industry.

4th April 2016 - Local Plan Feedback

We need your feedback!

You have until 19th April to provide your comments on the proposed Local Plan.


Please take some time to add your comments - don't leave it to others to do.


This is the link to the Cheshire East Portal: http://cheshireeast-consult.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/cs/lpspcv?pointId=1456837586810#section-1456837586810

2nd April 2016

We need your views!

While both Poynton Neighbourhood Plan surveys have provided some valuable information, respondents on both occasions have tended to be mainly from our older residents. While those views are of course important we need to ensure that we get a balance of opinion from all age groups, and would therefore like residents aged between 20 to 40 years old to come forward with their views. You can be single, in young family groups, couples, or single parents.


Two focus groups are planned to be held in mid-May, and the commitment would be for a two/three hour session. These can be held during a weekday evening, with say a 6pm start, when a buffet would be served, or on a Saturday morning, with coffee and pastries. If you are interested please e-mail the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group - neighbourhoodplan@outlook.com and indicate whether you prefer a weekday or weekend session. Please do help us to shape Poynton's future.

31st March 2016

An exhibition showing the current status of Poynton's Neighbourhood Plan took place at the Civic Hall in February, when a second survey was also made available for residents to complete. Some 500 people attended the exhibition, and over 200 kindly completed the survey, either on line or in hard copy. These further views, when fully analysed, will help inform the draft Neighbourhood Plan. It is also intended to garner further views from two focus groups that fully reflect Poynton's demographic, including in particular our younger residents and their families.


This second survey showed overwhelming support for the two main strands of the Neighbourhood Plan, namely those relating to housing and the Green Belt. 75% of those responding chose the "brownfield sites first" as their number 1 priority for housing development, while there was also general support for a mix of housing types, catering for the needs of our younger and older residents.


Not surprisingly those residents responding to the survey agreed strongly on those policies designed to manage and preserve the Green Belt that surrounds Poynton. Priority was given to preserving the character of Poynton and our open spaces, as well as enhancing the natural environment.


On other issues there was strong support shown for sports facilities and playing fields, as well as the need to press for the Poynton Relief Road to be built. Concern was expressed by many respondents about the planned sale and redevelopment of the Sports Club site. It is not within the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group's remit to express a view on this (or indeed on any other site proposed for development), rather it is incumbent upon the Sports Club and the developer to consult locally, and for our residents to provide their views at that stage.


The full results of the survey will be published on the Neighbourhood Plan pages of the Town Council's website and the Neighbourhood Plan Website when available. It is intended to submit a draft Neighbourhood Plan towards the end of this year comprising two elements. One will be consistent and compliant with the existing Local Plan, which respects our existing Green Belt boundaries, while the other will need to take into account some of the likely outcomes of the revised Cheshire East Local Plan, currently subject to further local consultation. In this respect residents will have seen the Town Council's forthright views on this Plan, as set out on the front page of March's Poynton Post.

23rd January 2016

Progress on the Neighbourhood Plan was delayed somewhat towards the end of last year due to developments in Cheshire East's Local Plan, in particular the seemingly arbitrary number of 650 homes allocated to the Poynton settlement. . the Poynton Settlement. As defined by Cheshire East, this includes Poynton and adjacent areas of northern Adlington.


This figure is a radical departure from the 200 we had previously argued for.


The Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is nevertheless pleased to report that it has continued to meet regularly to prepare the way forward for Poynton's Neighbourhood Plan. Draft policies on the six subject areas (housing, Green Belt, Health and Wellbeing, Transport, Town Centre and Business/Local Economy) have been prepared by volunteer groups, and it is now planned for these policies to be put to residents as part of a second more focused survey that will be made available in early February, supported by an exhibition. A way forward will also be proposed in terms of housing numbers for Poynton, based on a policy of "brownfield first".


All residents are invited to attend the Neighbourhood Plan exhibition, which will take place in the Civic Hall reception area from Saturday 6th to Saturday 13th February, during office hours, and until 7pm on Tuesday 9th February and on Friday 12th February. The follow-up survey will also be launched on the 6th, and remain open until the end of February.


Neighbourhood Plan volunteers will be on hand from time to time to answer questions at the exhibition - a rota will be on display at the Civic Hall to say when they will be available.


Evidence from the second survey will be used to inform the draft Neighbourhood Plan, the next step in the process. Please do get involved. For further information please e-mail neighbourhoodplan@outlook.com

21st October 2015

The Neighbourhood Plan (NP) Steering Group is continuing to meet on a regular basis, and has also maintained contact with our NP colleagues in Adlington and Woodford.


Meanwhile you may be aware that the Inspector has reopened the examination of the Cheshire East Local Plan.


While we had hoped to get ahead of the Local Plan in terms of identifying potential sites for housing in Poynton, Cheshire East has also been busy in this regard, and we need to understand the status of what they are putting forward before we can progress our NP.

31st August 2015

The Neighbourhood Plan team are still hard at work addressing the drafting of the various policies that will make up the final plan!


Watch this space for further updates and exhibitions!

22nd July - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on July 22nd at the Civic Hall, Poynton

4th July - Vision & Objectives Exhibition

Over 100 people attended the Vision and Objectives Exhibition at the Civic Hall yesterday to view the continuing work on the Poynton Neighbourhood Plan. The team would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend and especially Councillor Mike Sewart who was kind enough buy ice creams for the volunteers to combat the hot weather!

Work now continues to develop the policies that will comprise the Neighbourhood Plan

Our Vision and Objectives document can be downloaded here

4th July - Vision & Objectives Exhibition

There will be a further public exhibition/open morning at the Civic Hall on Saturday 4th July, from 9.30am to 12.30am. While the previous open morning was to share the results of the Neighbourhood Plan survey, this event is to present the overall vision, as well as the separate visions and objectives of the Plan's main subject areas, namely the Green Belt, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure, Health and Wellbeing and Town Centre and Business. Do come along and share your views on this vital community activity.

17th June - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on June 17th at the Civic Hall, Poynton

16th May - Poynton Neighbourhood Plan Attracts Strong Interest

More than 130 people recently attended Poynton Civic Centre, as the initial feedback from the Poynton Neighbourhood Plan Survey was presented, at an open morning and exhibition with newly re-elected local MP, David Rutley, among those present.

Poynton's Neighbourhood Plan will set out what development and facilities local people consider would be suitable for Poynton. The subject areas covered at the exhibition included housing local business, the economy, the environment, transport and health & wellbeing. The views of residents, organisations and businesses were requested to make sure that everyone has a chance to get involved and contribute. Poynton Town Council was delighted to receive over 1,600 survey responses.

One notable piece of feedback from the survey was the strong desire to retain Green Belt land, and stop inappropriate developments taking place in the area. Instead the feedback demonstrates a wish to follow a brownfield first policy, which is favoured by the Town Council.

The Neighbourhood Plan, once agreed and in place, will provide a legally binding basis on which to guide the scale and nature of development in Poynton for many years to come. The Plan will also have statutory authority and developers, planning officers and others will need be guided by it.

Speaking after the event, David said, "It is great to see so many local residents in attendance, showing an ongoing, strong interest in Poynton's future plans. Neighbourhood Plan volunteers, in cooperation with Poynton Town Council, are working hard to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to participate in this survey, and I am pleased that so many have taken up the offer. I am most grateful to all the volunteers for the work they are doing to get this important Plan in place. They have my fuIl support."

16th May - Exhibition

There will be an open morning/exhibition at the Civic Hall from 10am to noon on Saturday 16th May to provide feedback to residents on the results, as well as to share the proposed vision and objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan

6th May - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on May 6th at the Royal British Legion, Poynton

24th April - Survey Update

Well over 1,500 Poynton Neighbourhood Plan surveys were submitted, representing around 25% of Poynton households. Inputting on line of the written surveys has now been completed - many thanks to all those volunteers involved.

The Neighbourhood Plan team would still welcome surveys to be completed by younger residents (online only) to correct a slight imbalance in the age groups of those who responded, so if you belong to that younger age group and can help please access the survey via the website www.poyntonnp.org.uk.

There will be an open morning/ exhibition at the Civic Hall from 10am to noon on Saturday 16th May to provide feedback to residents on the results, as well as to share the proposed vision and objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan.

24th April - Call for Sites

As an essential part of its work in assessing future development needs for Poynton, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is asking those landowners and agents of land within the Poynton parish area for expressions of interest in applying for future development permission.

This is an informal opportunity for landowners and developers to propose sites of whatever size within Poynton for development. This exercise will not in itself decide whether a site would be allocated for development by the Neighbourhood Plan, nor will it commit the proposer(s) to apply for planning consent. It will enable the Steering Group however to better understand the needs and wishes of Poynton residents. The site suggestions received will be used to guide and inform the preparation of relevant sections of the Neighbourhood Plan.

If you want one or more sites to be considered for development by the Neighbourhood Plan, we should like to hear from you. (Those who have already been in touch do not need to renew contact). The sites need not be in your ownership if you have a responsibility for managing them, and they can include proposals for a wide range of development uses. Those parties submitting sites will be invited to meet with the Neighbourhood Steering Group in early May 2015, and answer a number of questions posed by the Group.

Please contact the Town Clerk, Malcolm Adams, to register your interest, and to request a meeting.
T. 01625 872238
e-mail: malcolm.adams@poyntontowncouncil.gov.uk.

The deadline for such requests is close of play, Friday 1st May 2015.

8th April - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on April 8th at the Royal British Legion, Poynton

2nd April - Survey Update

The Poynton Neighbourhood Plan team thanks all those residents who took the time and trouble to complete the Neighbourhood Plan survey, either on paper or on line. Well over 1,500 surveys were submitted, representing around 25% of Poynton households. Inputting of the written surveys on line has been underway during March and should be completed shortly. There will be an exhibition to provide feedback to residents on the results, as well as to share the proposed vision and objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan

11th March - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on March 11th at the Royal British Legion, Poynton.

26th February - Survey Issued

To help inform and shape Poynton's Neighbourhood Plan, a comprehensive survey was distributed to Poynton's residents with February's Poynton Post - spare copies are available from the Civic Hall. The survey can also be completed online. Go to www.poyntonnp.org.uk. We would urge all our residents to take the time to complete and return it by the end of February - it is important to Poynton's future.

11th February - Volunteer Meeting

The next volunteer meeting will be at 7pm on February 11th at the Royal British Legion, Poynton.


7th February - Drop In Event

The Poynton Neighbourhood Plan Volunteers held their 1st drop in session on Saturday 7th February at the Civic Hall. This was a chance for people to ask the team any questions they had about the plan and the survey. It was attended by a number of local residents who hopefully went away and completed their questionnaire! The team will be holding further sessions on 14th and 21st February between 10am & 12noon at the Civic Hall. Come along and we'll try to help!


17th January - Launch Event

A launch event has held on 17th January at the Civic Hall and joining the residents, Councillors and volunteers was local MP David Rutley. Commenting on the occasion he said "It was good to see so many residents take the trouble to attend this Neighbourhood Plan launch, and I would like to thank the volunteer team for making it possible. The Plan is vitally important for the future shape of the village, and I would encourage residents in Poynton to take the opportunity to get involved and have their say by completing a Neighbourhood Plan survey. This will be available at the end of January."

The launch was well attended by over 100 residents and Neighbourhood Plan project co-ordinator Sarah-Jane Gilmore said "We were really impressed by the high turn out and the level of interest and enthusiasm"

- Poynton Post