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Loachbrook Farm

Loachbrook Farm

 

 

The Labour Group on Cheshire East Council supports the decision to take legal action over the planning inspectorate’s decision to allow 200 new homes to be built on the outskirts of Congleton. The Loachbrook Farm site is high quality agricultural land and  it is not within walking distance of local facilities. In fact the site meets only 3 out of the 15 accessibility criteria set out in the North West Development Agency Sustainability Toolkit. Development of this site would encourage increased car use contrary to the stated government policy of wanting to reduce carbon emissions.

 

The site can be seen as a test case against the impact of the government’s relaxation of planning rules.

 

New homes are needed, but these should be built in accordance with a well managed local plan to ensure that local infrastructure is improved in line with new housing developments. If housing developments are properly planned then they can be located and built in a way that encourages cycling, walking and a healthier and more sustainable way of life. Good town planning can go a long way to reducing our dependence on the car. At present the short term profits of property developers are being given priority over the long term sustainability of our communities.

 

Labour Group Leader Cllr David Newton said,

“Until Cheshire East Council’s new Local Plan is in place in 2014, there will be many more speculative planning applications on Greenfield sites around our towns. The Labour group recognises that with the law as it stands the success of a legal challenge to the Loachbrook Farm decision is uncertain. However, the enormous implications of doing nothing justify the financial risk of taking this as a test case. We need to a stand to protect our communities and ensure that new developments are truly sustainable.”

 

Councillor Sam Corcoran said,

“The government’s new planning regulations were supposed to encourage sustainable, well planned housing developments. Instead the relaxation of the planning rules has unleashed an unsustainable avalanche of speculative planning applications. If allowed to continue unchecked this will blight our towns for a generation, leaving us with huge traffic and infrastructure problems.

The coalition government is relying on increased house building to kick start the economy. It would be a massive U-turn for the government to seek to restrict house building in any area. Nevertheless, I encourage as many people as possible to write to Eric Pickles alerting him to the problems his policies are causing.”

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