Housing needs Survey
Our Parish is an attractive and desirable place to live and is also a focus for housing developers. We are relatively well protected through green belt planning policy but the council felt that developers may look to try and put forward development based on need. During 2015 the council commissioned Cheshire Community Action to undertake a Housing Needs Survey for the Parish.
The results were presented to Cheshire East Council’s (CEC) planning department and following a meeting to interpret them a conclusion was agreed. The main points can be summarised as follows. The quality of the survey was highly commended by CEC in terms of its ease to understand and the relevance of the information it gathered. CEC confirmed it was the best example they has seen of this type of survey and asked for permission from the Parish Council to allow other parishes to use it. The response rate was 26% and slightly lower than CEC would normally expect. This was interpreted as an indication that the issue was not relevant to many households in the Parish. CEC confirmed that a response rate at this level in no way invalidated the results. The overall need for affordable housing within the Parish was shown to be very small. Even where a possible need was recorded, available household income was shown to be insufficient to meet the need in all but one instance. Additional Social Housing may be a further option, but the number of properties required is so small that such a development would not be practical. The level of need demonstrated does not constitute a community need that the Parish Council would be expected or be able to try and resolve. The only course of action would be to repeat the survey in 5 years’ time to assess any changes. CEC planning dept. will now advise anybody considering the submission of plans for affordable housing within the parish that the level of need has been shown to be extremely small.
Following ongoing concerns from parishioners the Parish Council raised major concerns with Cheshire East Council. These were that residents needed a means of safely crossing the road by the village stores, prompted by the excessive speed of cars along Plumley Moor Road. This resulted in safety audits being undertaken by Cheshire East Highways and the development of a proposed scheme to reduce speed in this area to allow the safe use of a new pedestrian crossing. This was discussed in detail at a public meeting in the Village Hall where various options and amendments were discussed. In 2015 the agreed scheme was implemented which included 2 speed indication devices and the introduction of the roundabout and a controlled crossing point. Comments and concerns have subsequently been raised about certain aspects of the scheme and we are currently working with Cheshire East to try and resolve these.
There is also ongoing community support with the speed watch scheme although we need new volunteers to join in and help. In addition, we are requesting additional safety audits in specific areas across the parish based on concerns raised by residents. This includes the bridge over the railway at the station.
Moorcroft Play area
During 2016 the Council received representation from residents living in Moorcroft with regards to the condition and safety of the children’s play area which has been neglected for a considerable amount of time. The responsibility for its maintenance is the responsibility of Cheshire East Council, following constructive discussions with them and extensive consultation with local residents an agreement was made to totally refurbish the play area to an agreed design which was completed in January 2017
Plumley Station enhancements
As one of the key entry points into the Parish both Councillors and volunteers spend many hours ensuring that the appearance of the station is of a standard that befits our community. Imaginative planting of the borders takes place during the spring and areas requiring a fresh coat of paint are taken care of. The station is entered into the Cheshire Best Kept Station competition to provide a focus for the input of the volunteers, over recent years Plumley has been awarded
The Best Station Gardens Award in 2014 with the judges being impressed by the station’s new wild flower meadow garden.
Previous awards have included:
– the overall winner and named Cheshire’s Best Kept Station in 2013
– the Tidiest Station Award in 2012
– the Frank Roberts Bakery Award in 2007
– the Cheshire Community Award in 2006
Plumley Village Hall
The Parish Council recently agreed to provide financial support for the fixed running costs of Plumley Village Hall which is regarded as the main community facility for the Parish with many social, educational and recreational events taking place during the course of each year. The Council is following the trend of many other Parish’s in supporting these types of facilities.
We have some splendid churches in the parish which require a lot of support in terms of the upkeep both internally and externally, the Parish Council provides financial support to assist the many volunteers in maintaining the church grounds.
Impact of Manchester Growth plans and HS2
A growth option for Greater Manchester was agreed at the August 2016 meeting of the joint GMCA board. This has now been developed into a draft plan, which identifies the need for an additional 227,200 new homes across Greater Manchester by 2035. This will also bring additional jobs into the area making our Parish an even more attractive place to live based on its natural beauty, improvements to the road networks, current rail connectivity from Plumley and the delivery of HS2.
Whilst we have recently evidenced that there is no need for additional housing in the parish and are currently well protected in terms of planning policy restricting development on “washed over greenbelt” there is going to be an unprecedented level of development in both Cheshire East, Cheshire West as well as Greater Manchester
HS2 itself is going to have a major effect on residents in the Parish both in terms of where people live but also the effect it will have on the road and rail network during the lengthy construction period. The Parish Council is monitoring the proposed route and will be making representations at the appropriate times to help mitigate some of the inevitable issues that will arise.
Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Communities can shape development in their areas through the production of Neighbourhood Development Plans, Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
Neighbourhood Development Plans become part of the Local Plan and the policies contained within them are then used in the determination of planning applications. Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders allow communities to grant planning permission either in full or in outline for the types of development they want to see in their areas.
It must be stressed that the policies produced cannot block development that is already part of the Local Plan. What they can do is shape where that development will go and what it will look like.
The Parish Council is currently looking into the merits of developing a Neighbourhood Plan for the Paris.