Commendation For Council And Volunteers As Neighbourhood Plan Goes Forward For Referendum
An independent examiner has praised Alsager Town Council, the supporting Steering Group and volunteers as the town’s Neighbourhood Plan goes forward from the ‘scrutiny’ stage to public referendum.
The Fact Check version of the examiner’s report was published on 24th October and passes the Plan for the final referendum stage subject to some modifications. Independent examiner Andrew Mead concluded that the Plan ‘captured the town’s character’ and commended the town council and the voluntary Steering Group ‘for their efforts in producing such a comprehensive document.’
The examiner recorded how he had ‘enjoyed absorbing the information about Alsager from the Plan and supporting evidence and also visiting the town.’ He said that his visit helped him understand the ‘references to a village atmosphere.’
In recommending that the Plan goes forward for the public vote, the examiner recognised that it met all legal requirements. There are modifications to the wording and content of some of the policies contained in the Plan in order for them to conform more closely with the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy (CELPS) and national guidelines. The examiner’s report notes that the Plan is ‘thorough and well written’ and sets out some amendments avoid ambiguity or conform to regional and national planning policies.
The report acknowledges that the town’s estimated housing requirements have been met in the period covered by the Plan (up until 2030). It also recognises that the emerging Cheshire East Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD) ‘does not allocate additional land for housing.’ It also recommends the retention of existing Green Belt boundaries. The examiner has agreed to the recognition of 17 areas of ‘Local Green Space’ and other ‘Incidental Green Spaces’ within the boundary area covered by the Plan. The Plan will safeguard these green spaces from development.
The policies outlined in the Neighbourhood Plan will have statutory authority subject to the Plan’s approval by residents at the referendum.
A date has yet to be set for the referendum when Alsager residents are invited to vote on whether to accept or reject the Plan. It is expected that a date will be set for sometime in the New Year and the Alsager Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group (ANSPG) are currently preparing communication plans to notify residents of the date when it is announced.
The independent examiner’s report can be found online at the ANSPG website: www.alsagerneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/
Anyone who wishes to view a paper copy of the Plan, the examiner’s comments and any other documents relating to the Neighbourhood Plan should contact the Town Clerk, Nicola Clarke on 01270 876440.