Councillors lock horns over Cheadle houses
A MOTION to amend a planning document which will shape Cheadle over the next 14 years has been defeated at the vote.
Cheadle councillors asked for changes to a draft of the Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan preferred options for development, which will be put out to public consultation on Monday 31st July.
The removal of one housing development, demands for a link road and a request to move the location of a planned new school were defeated by a vote of 14 to 25 at a meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Council Assembly on Wednesday 19th July.
From Monday, members of the public will have the chance to scrutinise the plans and give feedback in a bid to create a cohesive planning document which will inform future decisions over development across the district.
The plans will return to the council for discussion and analysis twice more, with further rounds of public consultation, before going before the planning inspectorate for approval.
Councillors at the Assembly were asked to accept the draft plan and approve it going out to public consultation.
However, SMDC leader Cllr Sybil Ralphs, requested an amendment to the plan regarding development on The Mount in Leek, which led to other councillors proposing amendments in their own wards.
Cllr Peter Wilkinson proposed an amendment to the Cheadle options, asking for the removal of CH132, an area of land on Broad Hayes Park, off The Croft and Silver Street.
The site, along with CH001 – between Ness Grove, Donkey Lane and Weaver Close – is part of an 11 hectare development of around 320 homes along with a new primary school.
Cllr Wilkinson said: “The planning inspector has previously found this site to be unsuitable.
“In the previous plan, it was recommended to remove the site,
“There were plans to build a school on this site, but that would only take place if houses were built on CH001, which was approved in the last plan, but no developer has come forward to take that site on.
“I think the reason why is it is an ex-mining site. It’s been mined in the past and that’s why you’ve got a massive gap between one lot of houses and another.”
Cllr Julie Bull supported the amendment on condition that the primary school be relocated closer to the town centre.
She told the meeting: “The school would be the only planning gain that we would actually get in Cheadle.
“The site is the least likely to be developed because it all hangs on CH001 being built beforehand.
“Also the county council are saying at this moment in time there is no requirement for a school.
“They want to see it on the edge or outside of the town.
“I’m proposing that the school is moved more central in the north east ward, closer to town.
“It’s just too far for people to walk.”
Councillors also debated the merits of a proposed link road from Tean Road to Brookhouse Way.
Cheadle councillors, including Stephen Ellis, Alan Banks and Richard Alcock all spoke at the meeting, raising concerns over traffic and highways as well as over the housing numbers proposed for the town.
Their concerns were echoed by Ipstones member, Cllr Linda Malyon, who said: “I’m still against the development of houses – it will kill Cheadle.
“They’ve got to listen to the Cheadle councillors.
“Cheadle councillors have always said that there were too many plots of land allocated to Cheadle.
“It’s not fair if we don’t discuss this.
“They’ve always said and represented, saying we don’t want all these houses.”
Cllr Mark Deaville urged councillors to consider the implications of funding when looking at infrastructure. He said: “We can’t escape the fact that any link road our improvement to the infrastructure in Cheadle has got to be paid for.
“We’re only going to be paid for through development, but it’s got to be the right development.”
In a named vote on the amendment which was then altered to ‘no houses should be built in Cheadle until the link road was built and the school should be moved’ 25 members voted against the change and 14 in favour.
The preferred options plan had raised concerns at a recent town council meeting, when members discussed a three per cent increase in housing allocated to Cheadle since the last round of public consultation.
The documents will be available to view at Cheadle Library from Monday until 5pm on Friday 22nd September, and online at www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/localplan.
Leader of SMDC, Cllr Sybil Ralphs, said: “The Local Plan is one of the most important documents produced by the Council because it guides development in the area up to 2031.
“We’re now asking people to take a look at this latest version to see what’s proposed in their neighbourhood, and across the district, and to tell us what they think.
“This is an important step forward and I would urge people to get involved – even if you’ve commented previously, the document has changed so we do need to hear from you again.”
Feedback can be given via the council’s website, by email to email@example.com or by completing a questionnaire and posting it to: Freepost RRLJ-XCTC-JBZK, Regeneration Manager, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek, ST13 6HQ (no stamp required).
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