24th January 2013 - Supplementary Information For the Planning Inspector Examination Programme. (Page 2/2)
improving the desirability of Cheadle as market town and tourist attraction (for the Pugin Church , Alton towers etc) something Cheadle Unite supports, clearly raises issue with the quantity of through traffic through the town. Page 15 of the Town Masterplan Appendix 4 Baseline Report 2009 states ‘One of the most significant challenges identified is the need for a western bypass’ and ‘a phased scheme which aims to provide a southern link road could be funded through a major extension to the south of the town and will allow for the partial implementation of the bypass’ . Cheadle Unite does not understand the rationale or evidence for now dropping road improvements and would like the Planning Inspector to look into this and into the concerns raised by the North East (and counter claims of the South West) and in addition secure clarity from SMDC over the rationale given their change of direction and a judgement if in fact that rationale is sound and provide detailed evidence.
Cheadle Unite clearly takes the view that the housing numbers for Cheadle are far too high, but has to assume that where development is proposed by SMDC, that it complies with the highest scoring sustainable locations. This does not appear to be the case. The SMDC Sustainability Assessment 2012 for example indicates that the proposed 200 Small urban extensions with a sustainability score of 16.5/17 are less preferable to a carefully planned development of a South West link road and areas with much higher sustainability scores that are not being proposed.
Details on the already congested roads have been clarified in the representations detailed above.
Cheadle Unite also maintains the position that impacted residents should receive appropriate compensation from developers.
The Localism Bill & a lack of housing options as a Regional Spatial Strategy
Cheadle Unite presented SMDC with a clear request to tackle and prepare for the ‘Localism Bill’ December 2010 (detailed for reference in our second representation). We have not been given any significant information by SMDC as to what the ‘Localism Bill’ does for residents, our rights, or even any clarification of the interaction of the Bill with the Regional Spatial Strategy, or the legacy of decisions made by SMDC in pushing through the current Core Strategy. Given the context of the imminent sizeable development proposals around Cheadle in this strategy, this could clearly be considered as negligent, evasive or worse.
It is clear from the substantive numbers of representations that Cheadle Residents do not have an appetite for significant housing development and in that context any adopted ‘Localism Bill’ is likely to see significant resistance to further development by the local community. SMDC are aware of this. At the very least any Planning Approval must not close off options for the local community to change its stance as details of the Bill emerge.
Any future determination that as a local community we have had rights ignored could result in legal claims by the community. This is likely to be evident further down the line (not at this stage) if and when sizable development impacts on the traffic, health and wellbeing of residents (very few in the community are aware of the Planning officer’s current inspection or of the impacts down the line). The then upcoming ‘Localism Bill’ was flagged to SMDC in a letter to Council (over two years ago) and presented to the 20th Jan 2011 Council Meeting as well as restated (in full) in the Feb 2012 representation mentioned above so any claims of ignorance will not be acceptable, as will any claim of a ‘gap’ between the Regional Spatial Strategy and the introduction of the Localism Bill.
The letter also highlighted a request for a true assessment of the range of housing level options from SMDC, not just the highest levels of figures considered by SMDC for consideration by the community. Any range of housing figures would of course be in relation to an adjusted allocation within the Regional Spatial Strategy and would of course have required close co-operation with the Potteries and other Regions covered by the Regional Spatial Strategy. An assessment of collaboration and co-operation from the perspective of the other Regional partners by you as Examiner would clarify this matter.
All the above comments exist in addition to the 2 representation already presented.
Cheadle Unite Committee - January 2013
Examination hearings commence on the 5th of Feb and all documents submitted to the Inspector are available on the Staffordshire Moorlands Examination webpage detailed below. Cheadle Unite have decided that the above written submission carries the clearest statement to the Inspector from the Cheadle Unite action group.