In December 2018, Alderley Edge’s Neighbourhood Plan group completed its latest round of consultations with local residents and businesses.
It asked people to comment on its emerging policies, and a total of 233 responses were received.
121 people filled in the questionnaire (online or on paper) with a further 112 people attending the open day at the Festival Hall on Talbot Road.
Sarah Greenwood, co-chair of the Neighbourhood Plan group, was pleased by the response.
She commented: “We delivered leaflets to 2,500 households and businesses and made the questionnaire available online, on paper, and at the open day.
“We also had a large banner on London Road, so we hoped we would get a good response, and we did – both in numbers and quality of responses.”
However, in something of a snub to local journalism, the group did not include provision for advertising in local media outlets within its promotional activity.
They consulted with residents and local businesses as well as developers who want to build on one of the green belt sites identified for possible development by Cheshire East Council.
On average the 31 questions had 88% of respondents in support, 10% in general support but proposing some changes, and 2% disagreeing completely.
People were also asked to comment on their answers, and those comments will now be used by the group in formulating the final policies.
Mark Allison, an architect and leader of the housing group, observed: “Housing development lies at the heart of the Neighbourhood Plan.
“The answers we got confirm that residents are keen to see housing better geared to local needs, which means more affordable housing and smaller homes for older residents who want to downsize.”
The group added that there was also positive response to the suggestion that housing should be sympathetic to the existing architecture in the village.
They said that respondents wanted this to conform to high eco building standards – although some of the developers were resistant to this, claiming that it could compromise viability.
Other themes that emerged included:
- The importance of preserving a green gap between Alderley Edge and Wilmslow, so that Alderley Edge would retain its ‘village character’
- The importance of managing traffic in the village centre better, with encouragement for walking and cycling
- The need for additional car parking – a particular concern for local businesses
- The importance of protecting green space in and around the village
- The value residents place on encouraging independent local businesses
The Neighbourhood Plan cannot solely be based on the opinions of residents and businesses.
The group must also carry out survey work to provide objective data to underpin its proposed policies. The group says it is already well advanced with carrying out this work.
“I know it seems like a long process,” said Sarah, “It does to us too!
“But we have to make sure that the plan complies with national guidelines, or it will be thrown out by the Inspector, who will assess it once it is complete.
“Done right, this plan has real power over future development within the village, so it has to be done right. The group has put in hundreds of man hours on it, and the work will continue until we deliver it.”
Residents and businesses will get a chance to vote on the final plan, due for completion later this year, in a local referendum on its content.
A full report is available on the Neighbourhood Plan website at www.alderleynp.com