24th January 2013 - Supplementary Information For the Planning Inspector Examination Programme. (Page 1/2)
The Following document has been submitted to the Planning Inspector - Patrick Whitehead for consideration during the Examination of the SMDC Core Strategy.
C/O Pippa Home,
High Peak Borough Council, 23rd January 2013
Dear Mr Whitehead,
Cheadle Unite would like to present the following supplementary details as part of your Examination of SMDC Housing Development proposals for Cheadle.
The Wider Picture and the Regional Spatial Strategy
Cheadle Unite have presented SMDC with 2 sets of representations regarding housing development in Cheadle, one for M28 (areas 6&7) Jan 2010 and a second for M95 (Areas 1&2) Feb 2012 (both representations numbered respondent 600 by SMDC). We have also submitted 2 representations with for’s and against aspects of the Cheadle Town Masterplan (December 2010). As Cheadle Unite have co-ordinated resident responses, we request that you take time to read the concise contents of both above housing representations (held by SMDC) as context for the following additional comments.
On both occasions regarding housing, Cheadle Unite have highlighted significant concerns at the housing allocation numbers for Cheadle. Our understanding is that the Planning Inspector’s role is to consider the soundness of the proposals presented by SMDC in the context of an ongoing link to the Regional Spatial Strategy.
The Regional Spatial Strategy for our area includes the areas of the city of Stoke-on-Trent and the six towns (collectively known as the Potteries). Assessment of impact on the environment, employment and long term infrastructure sustainability of both the Potteries and Staffordshire Moorlands are therefore clearly linked and interdependent as are imposed housing allocation numbers from Government (and any suggestion that they are not is clearly wrong and hopefully will be addressed with a positive perspective by your examination).
Any regeneration of the Stoke-on-Trent areas will without doubt score very highly on a sustainability assessment of these areas desperately requiring redevelopment. The collapse of the ‘Renew’ project in Stoke-on-Trent is clearly documented for example by the BBC Inside out documentary (14th November 2011). In tackling the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent, housing development in these areas must take priority. They are facing declining retail usage in town centres and a decline in retail unit occupancy. They are also very likely to require redevelopment for housing provision in a future where, for example, significant shopping is done via the internet with a direct link from warehouse to home. In addition there exist significant numbers of brown-field and derelict sites within the Potteries which desperately need investment and re-development. These areas are capable of providing affordable quality housing where solid infrastructure already exists. Options for planners to build on Greenfield sites many miles from Stoke city centre will detract from tackling the stated objectives of the Regional Spatial Strategy and a sustainable post fossil fuel based economy. SMDC’s plans for Cheadle to be a commuter town for the Potteries are seriously flawed in the medium to long term. ‘Peak oil’ flow of conventional crude oil has already been predicted to have occurred in 2006 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and even optimistic predictions by various reputable organisations see a decline in natural fuels production by 2020 (this information is available via a search on ‘Peak Oil’ and numerous reputable links ). The only reason this is not more evident at this time is because the global recession has currently lowered demand.
In the original Cheadle Unite representations mentioned above, it was highlighted that the existing world fuel reserves are likely to only last between 25-50 Years (Peak oil flow in the USA occurred way back in the 1970’s). While existing alternative energies can help, their impact will be significantly restricted, once demand of fossil fuels clearly outstrips supply and areas with an ineffective sustainability policy and a high distance daily commute to employment will be at a significant disadvantage.
Employment prospects for Cheadle residents are very limited within the town. A sizeable percentage of Cheadle workers are employed in the Potteries area. In assessing future employability, the SMDC plan therefore has to incorporate a long term correlation with development and regeneration of the Potteries.
Cheadle Unite therefore request that the Planning Inspector look into evidence of clear co-operation and collaboration with the Potteries (as in the context of the Regional Spatial Strategy) regarding any strategic development of Cheadle. To clarify, that is not emails of light touch coffee events, but of detailed collaborative planning on housing developments in and around major A-roads (A500 for example), alongside Rail and canal transport networks. In addition, a clear priority for development on Potteries brown-field sites were sizeable infrastructure already exists for the long- term and where a future decline in fossil fuel dependent transport can be effectively addressed. The evidence should clearly detail how those sites will be developed before considering development on Greenfield Agricultural land sites, many miles from our valued city and areas of major employment.
Cheadle has and is only served by narrow roads and in a post fossil fuel based economy could easily become isolated and unsustainable if the local population to employment ratio is allowed to rise. There is no substantive evidence from SMDC that a 25% increase in employment within Cheadle or the SMDC area will occur to meet the increased numbers of houses and residents being proposed. Cheadle has historic geographic restrictions on its ability to expand.
Local issues for Cheadle
Cheadle Unite recognises a need for some housing developments especially to meet the needs of the local community. The revised submission promotes significant development of the North East in Areas 1 and 2 over areas 4 and 5. It is unclear to Cheadle Unite why areas in the North East are given clear development priority over the South West, in the context of the SMDC sustainability appraisal produced in August 2012.
The promotion of a school in the North East is considered by many as invalid. Research carried out by Cheadle Unite concurred with the view that a School is unlikely to get funded as there is already significant spare capacity in the existing schools.
For well over a decade there has been discussion of a south-west bypass between Moberley and Brookhouses. While there is contentious debate as to the value of the bypass ,the Town Masterplan 2009 and onward and proposed over the future period (commissioned by SMDC themselves) in