Plans to build hundreds of new homes in Cheadle have moved a step closer despite major traffic fears.
After years of debate members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council voted at a special council assembly on Wednesday, July 19, to approve the authority’s preferred sites options for the Local Plan, which will see more than 3800 new homes built in the district up until 2031.
The Local Plan involves building more than 6,000 houses across the Moorlands for the period between 2011 and 2031. However several have already been built or have planning permission.
Opening the debate Councillor Edwin Wain, who has the responsibility for planning, said: “I am pleased to present the preferred site options. This is an important step for the Local Plan and consultation has taken place.
“Many houses have already been built and planning permission has been granted for other sites across the district. Now 3,859 new homes are needed which is equivalent to 320 homes a year.
“We are focusing development on towns. Villages will see an infill policy adopted.
“There is also 27 hectares (67 acres) proposed in the Local Plan for employment use which is needed for growing businesses and those moving in.”
Speaking at the council assembly, Cheadle Councillor Stephen Ellis, said: “I do worry where the plan for Cheadle is going. The issue is that no-one is listening.
“The plans before us look like the ones in 2007. We have gone back in time.
“Every consultation has talked about traffic concerns. We are looking at up to 1,500 houses with not one metre of highway. The plan does not meet the issue that is strangling Cheadle.
“You would have to go through the estate to get to the new proposed school. It is disfunctional.
“The biggest issue is Mobberley Farm. The proposed 430 houses is the largest allocation for the Moorlands. It should have enabling issues. There is no road to connect it to the main highways. They would have to use the Master Potter estate. It is not a viable option. The Cheadle plan is flawed and it is not taking the town in the right direction.”
Councillor Peter Wilkinson asked for one of the sites in Cheadle North East to be taken out of the proposals.
He said: “JCB has demolished Cecilly Mill, which is a brownfield site. We need to speak to them and other major stakeholders.
“There is a need for a link road from the JCB factories to take commercial traffic out of the town. Most junctions in the town are beyond capacity.
“There is no infrastructure plan and the inspector will see this.”
An amendment put forward to remove one of the Cheadle north sites was defeated in a vote by councillors.
Councillor Richard Alcock also slammed the proposal to build hundreds of new homes in the town.
He said: “Building more houses will make Cheadle more congested. The road system is Victorian. A bypass was proposed in 1936. We are still waiting. This is ridiculous and it is planning gone mad.
“There are constantly half mile queues along Leek Road.”
Councillor Linda Malyon said that without a link road Cheadle would not be safe.
She said: “Cheadle people have always said they do not want so many houses. No new homes should be built until a link road is constructed or someone will be killed.
“It can take up to an hour to get through. This is a serious matter.”
Councillor Julie Bull said it would be better if the proposed new school was moved nearer to the town.
Councillor Mark Deaville said that any link road had to be paid for.
He said: “The only way to pay for a link road is by development.
“Cecilly Mill is a brownfield site and should be looked at bringing it into the plan. More work needs to be done.”
Councillor Edwin Wain said that without development there would be no infrastructure.
He said: “Cheadle’s problem is skilled labour. People are coming in from Stoke. We need to build to get the infrastructure and skilled workers.”
Councillors voted to approve the preferred sites option put forward by 26 votes to 13 with an amendment that the plan secures developers to contribute the construction of new roads.
The preferred sites will now go out for consultation.