The Themed Groups

We have created Themed Groups to break the ‘elephant’ that is the Neighbourhood Plan into more manageable chunks. Each group is made up of volunteers drawn from the Congleton Community that have an interest, passion and expertise in the subject matter. Below you will be able find out more about the various groups, their core aims and minutes of their meetings.

Housing

Vision Summary

CONGLETON NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – DRAFT HOUSING POLICIES

BACKGROUND

The objective of producing a first draft set of housing policies to accompany the draft housing vision and objectives at this stage is to enable reflection regarding the evidence base required to justify and support them. We are only able to prepare such draft housing policies because there is already a reasonable range of supporting information, planning guidance and evidence available. However, it should be recognised that the specific local circumstances of Congleton may require more detailed local information. We should be able to identify any further information required once we have considered the draft policies and then checked back against the existing documentation in order to spot any uncertainties, factual queries and information gaps.

The initial wording of the draft housing policies draws upon other Neighbourhood Plans of similar scale to that under preparation for Congleton.

DRAFT HOUSING VISION

The Congleton Neighbourhood Plan has been prepared to ensure that a strategic and considered approach is adopted to the planning and provision of additional new homes for people in Congleton and to any improvements, extensions and adaptations to existing houses. The Plan’s housing vision is that housing in Congleton parish will evolve to accommodate future growth while enhancing the natural, built and historic environments and recognising the needs and visions of our adjoining parishes.

The Neighbourhood Plan has been based upon the Cheshire East Local Plan strategy giving priority to development on:

  • Brownfield and/or town centre sites or buildings where available, viable and deliverable
  • Sites which do not adversely affect environmentally sensitive designated land/buildings or their settings
  • Infill opportunities within development boundaries defined for Congleton Town and Timbersbrook Village (the latter failing within Congleton parish).

Given the nature of the mix of homes already available in Congleton’s existing housing stock, the Neighbourhood Plan places greatest emphasis on the provision of homes for the local population requiring:

  • Affordable housing for rent and shared ownership;
  • Specialist housing designed to meet the needs of the elderly and persons with mobility problems
  • First time buyers for younger people
  • Homes for single person households
  • Opportunities for self-build and custom-build housing.

These are requirements where available evidence suggests that the current mix of dwellings does not adequately provide for the future needs identified.

The Plan also seeks to ensure that:

  • New housing and alterations and extensions to existing housing are designed appropriately to good environmental and sustain

Economic Development

Vision:

Deliver economic prosperity and wellbeing for the future benefit of the community of Congleton

Aims:

To make Congleton the business destination of choice by:

Securing sufficient serviced employment land to retain and attract high calibre businesses

Improving the town centre offering to support the increased business and residential demand

Justification

1. Current very low level of available vacant employment sites and none to support larger businesses

2. History of businesses moving out of Congleton due to lack of availability of local premises

3. Risk of losing existing businesses – no land to develop on

4. Existing employment sites being redeveloped for housing

5. Existing job density of the working age population in Congleton is 0.57 versus the Cheshire East average of 0.74

6. 2,737 new jobs currently required for Congleton to meet the Cheshire East average

7. Requirement for an additional 5,180 jobs by 2030 to match the addition of 3500 new houses. (This would meet the existing Cheshire East job density average).

Objectives

1. To achieve better than average job density for Congleton in comparison with the rest of Cheshire East

2. Retain and attract high calibre businesses that offer a high job density

3. Work with the local authority to incentivise the retention and attraction of quality businesses

4. To work in collaboration with the local authority to create sustainable travel infrastructure

5. To work with Cheshire East to implement the required infrastructure to support the development of the employment sites

6. Improve public transport to service the employment areas

7. Encourage the use of renewable energy

8. Long term plan to relocate the Green Island and Buglawton businesses to the new employment sites

9. Encourage the creation a specialist college in the town

10. Encourage completion of the Public Realm Strategy

11. Work with the local authority to incentivise the retention and attraction of quality businesses in the town centre

12. Encourage high quality retail, leisure and accommodation within the town centre

13. Increase focus on cycle and walkways within the town centre and surrounding areas

Transport, Utilities & Infrastructure

Transport sub-group

This is an initial vision, objectives and list of ideals that the Transport sub-group would like to see promoted through the Congleton Neighbourhood Plan.

The underlying hope is that Congleton adopts methods of sustainable transport to allow people to travel to work, school, the shops, the railway station and other parts of the town without having to use private cars as their preferred means of transport.

After all, nowhere in Congleton is more than 2 miles from anywhere else!

Vision

The level of congestion on all roads in Congleton will be less at the end of the Plan period. This will be achieved by a combination of the following:

Significantly increased provision of sustainable travel modes;

Positive measures to maximise travel by sustainable modes;

The provision of a link road/bypass to remove through traffic from Congleton and from the town centre in particular;

The link road/bypass will have link roads into the planned development both housing and expanded employment sites so that all traffic including commercial can access and egress the development areas without having to use the existing road network.

The link road/bypass will be the catalyst (where appropriate) to reallocate road space on the existing road network to sustainable travel modes.

Objectives

To achieve a reduction in congestion on the existing road network whilst accommodating the additional traffic from the proposed development will require;

managing down the level of car-based trips from the development itself through a range of sustainable travel initiatives and travel planning;

further town wide sustainable travel initiatives to manage down the level of car-based travel from existing development to provide the headroom necessary to accommodate the residual traffic from the new development.

The use of sustainable transport choices would be encouraged through;

new and improved bus routes and integration of bus and rail travel;

new and improved walking and cycling routes;

the promotion of a link road/bypass of the town.

ensure that the town centre and all new development are accessible by all sections of society.

deliver improvements to Congleton Railway Station that encourage increased rail travel and also increased access to the station by sustainable modes.

List of proposed transport requirements for Congleton

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

  • Buses should run to all employment sites
  • Buses need to run at the times people need to travel; most people start work at or before 8.00am so this means buses need to start well before this time and continue into the evening.
  • A number of ‘cross town’ bus

Health, Education and Well-Being

The Education, Health and Well-being Group is made up of a variety of members from a cross-section of this field in the community. Chaired by Suzi Akers-Smith, the group includes Anthony Fryer, Dawn Allen, Margaret Gartside, Anna Morrison, Robbie Brightwell, Elizabeth Whitehurst and Glen Williams.

All of the members have key skills and experience relating to the group’s work either by supporting or working in schools, or promoting health, wellbeing, equality and disability.

During the first two meetings, the group has focused on the remit of the group, how it intends to work with other groups to promote a sustainable community and has focused on health, benefitting greatly from the expert knowledge which to date has been provided by the Practice Manager’s of the town’s doctors surgeries and the Public Health Team Manager at Cheshire East Council.

The group intends to also meet with the Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS North West who provide a mixture of primary and secondary care in the town.

The Chair has also recently spoken to Headteacher’s from across the town and surrounding area to discuss what the neighbourhood plan is and how we can use their support and expertise in developing this element of the plan for Congleton.”

Town Centre, Public Realm & Heritage

NP SG Minutes 08.12.15The Town Centre, Public Realm and Heritage team is looking at making sure the Neighbourhood Plan promotes an attractive, welcoming, prosperous and dynamic town centre where people will wish to visit, work, live, shop and experience our heritage. The team is considering day and evening economies and all the elements that are required for Congleton town centre to meet the needs of its residents.

DRAFT TOWN CENTRE VISION AND POLICY OBJECTIVES

Vision for Congleton Town Centre

To make Congleton town centre the key service centre focus for the surrounding area and an even better place in which to shop, visit, work, live and enjoy leisure activities. The vision is to create a vibrant area that will be supported by an improved daytime and evening economy, public realm and retail offer consisting of both independent and national retailers and reinforcing Congleton’s status as a successful market town. Open spaces, cultural and leisure facilities will be protected and enhanced. Road infrastructure and public transport will be selectively improved to facilitate efficient traffic flow, minimise pollution and provide good access and a safe, attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Car parking will be reviewed to accommodate an increasing residential population and free up existing sites where appropriate.

Development in the town centre will be accommodated in a manner which enhances its role as a historic market town, supports regeneration of its brown field sites and which safeguards, enhances and promotes its distinctive heritage and natural assets.

Congleton has ‘Transition Town’ status and new developments will embrace sound sustainable principles and construction methodology to minimise the local carbon footprint.

The Town Centre will be a safe, healthy, inclusive and visually attractive area where people will want to visit to enhance their quality of life.

Overarching Town Centre Policy Objective

  1. Promote and develop an attractive, welcoming, prosperous and dynamic town centre with a broad retail offer of quality shops and businesses where people will wish to visit, work, live, shop, experience our heritage and be entertained during the daytime and evenings. (Congleton Town Strategy [CTS] pgs 6/7/14/15 and Congleton Town Centre Plan 2008 [CTCP]).

Policy Objective – retail and services

Support Congleton’s existing shops by:

  • locating new retail development in the town centre, primarily in the ‘Retail Heart’ site but with supporting niche retail located in the ‘Cultural Quarter’ site
  • resisting any major shopping development outside the town centre that can be accommodated within it, applying the principle of ‘town centre

Sustainability and Environment

Vision

Preserving our green spaces, enhancing our environment and implementing renewable energy.

Objectives

  • Sustainable housing with community facilities, shops, medical facilities incorporated
  • A target of 10MW of community and renewable energy:
  • PV on new properties
  • Solar farms
  • Hydro and wind where appropriate
  • Add to the current network of paths and cycleways to create a circuit of off-road links to the town centre, schools, business parks and sports facilities.
  • Designate green spaces as community green space.
  • Development should not increase the carbon footprint of the town, specifically new housing and business parks should reduce the town’s reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Enabling local food growing – allotments with each housing development.
  • Redraw the current green belt boundaries up to the urban edge north of Lamberts Lane to the current settlement line.
  • Actively conserve wildlife areas and the corridors linking to receive the appropriate designation.
  • Trees and hedgerows perform important roles supporting biodiversity, providing attractive shade/shelter. Congleton’s objective should be to set out measures for new planting of both trees and hedgerows.

Evidence Library

Steering Group

Steering Group mins 26.1.2016Steering Group mins 22.3.2016Vision

My Congleton will thrive as a distinctive town that offers a comprehensive range of homes, shops, jobs, services and facilities supported by the required community infrastructure to cater for the needs of all our residents to 2030. The special and unique character of Congleton, including its heritage assets and the surrounding countryside, will be protected, enhanced and promoted to make the town an attractive place in which to live, work and visit.

Objectives

  • Provide for social sustainability and an excellent quality of life in the community including education opportunities, healthcare and general well-being.
  • Ensure that new development is environmentally sustainably located, is connected to and integrates well with the town.
  • Supports housing growth that meets the needs of the community and the wider population of Cheshire East.
  • Ensure that the area is easy and safe to move around for all modes of transport particularly walking and cycling and that the infrastructure continues to serve the town as it grows.
  • Protect and maintain the countryside surrounding the town and the network of green spaces within it and enhances the natural environment.
  • Ensure the continued provision of a comprehensive range of shops, services and community facilities within the town centre to meet the changing needs of the local population.
  • Support a broad and sustainable local economy that increases job opportunities for residents of the town.
  • Protect and enhance the towns heritage assets and distinctive local character
  • Promote sustainability and reduce carbon dependent activities
  • Ensure that congestion in the town is no worse than it was in 2010 despite planned growth