What is the Neighbourhood Plan?
It is a community-led initiative supported by the town council which can help shape vision and create policies for Alsager.
What does a Neighbourhood Plan cover?
Policies included in Neighbourhood Plans must relate to the use of land in the area or to ‘spatial matters’ – that is aspects that affect how a place or community works.
The Alsager Neighbourhood Plan will relate to the area within the parish boundary. Adjacent parishes are producing their own plans. The Alsager Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is maintaining contact with these in order to identify potential areas of mutual interest.
What can a Neighbourhood Plan achieve?
It can specify priorities and guidance on how new development can be designed, orientated and located. It can be a powerful tool in shaping the development of Alsager.
Who pays for a Neighbourhood Plan?
It is up to each community how it will pay for the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. Alsager Town Council has voted to fund the Neighbourhood Plan and there is also some contribution from Cheshire East. The funds cover the cost of printing, publicity, room hire and support from an experienced consultant who has helped developed eight Neighbourhood Plans across the county.
There will be a need for specialist reports and analysis as strong documentary evidence is required.
It is Cheshire East’s responsibility to pay for and organise the Referendum that completes the process.
How long will it take?
On average, a Neighbourhood Plan takes between one and three years to complete depending on the degree of community involvement and number of volunteers.
How does it fit with National Policy and Cheshire East’s Local Plan?
All Neighbourhood Plans have to take national policies into account. The Government has issued a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which expresses a preference for ‘sustainable development.’ All Neighbourhood Plans must demonstrate that developments are sustainable in terms of housing, employment and infrastructure. Cheshire East is currently developing an emerging Local Plan and the Alsager Neighbourhood Plan will engage with that.
Can a Neighbourhood Plan prevent or restrict development?
The Government is very clear that it will not be possible to use Neighbourhood Plans to stop development – but they can be used to shape and inform the nature of development.
A Neighbourhood Plan must in general conform with the local authority’s development plan and plans and strategies from other public bodies, utility and service providers. It cannot prevent development identified in the emerging Local Plan but can influence location, design, layout and materials used. Once a Neighbourhood Plan is approved its policies can help prevent unplanned or ad-hoc