Posts Tagged Neighbourhood Plan

Neighbourhood Plan Commended by RTPI

Planning experts at the Royal Town Planning Institute have commended Knutsford’s Neighbourhood Plan in their annual Planning Excellence Awards. The Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan received a commendation in the Spatial Planning category for the North West region, with judges praising the level of volunteer involvement from the community in developing the plan with the town council.

Bev Watson, Regional Co-Ordinator of the North West Royal Town Planning Institute said “Judges were impressed with the wide range of planning policies within the plan and the clear diagrams which hep to create a more user-friendly document. It is a good example of a community led plan, which has provided opportunities for engagement and which has helped to raise the awareness and understanding of planning issues across the community.”

The Neighbourhood Plan, which was developed by Knutsford Town Council working with representatives of the wider community, was approved at a referendum in March and sits alongside the Local Plan for use by Cheshire East planners making decisions about development in the Town.

RPTI Award Logo

Supported by Urban Imprint, the Macclesfield based planning consultants who helped create the plan, Neighbourhood Plan Committee Chairman Cllr Stewart Gardiner and Mr Brian Chaplin, who led the Housing and Employment working group, were interrogated by RTPI judges on the content and development of the plan.

Cllr Gardiner said “’As a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute I am extremely proud to have been the lead councillor in the team that delivered the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan and to have been judged by my peers to secure this commendation.

However, this award is not about me, but an affirmation of all the hours of hard work and effort put into the process by my Town Council colleagues, The team at Urban Imprint and so many Knutsford residents; too many to name here but a big THANKS to you all- please share my pride”

Cllr Stewart Gardiner with the Neighbourhood Plan Posters

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Neighbourhood Plan Examination

The examination of the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan has now commenced, following a six week consultation.

In a letter from the appointed inspector, Andy Mead, it has been confirmed that the examination will be undertaken by written representations and a hearing is unlikely. The Inspector is aiming to issue his draft report withing 4-6 weeks.

You can view the Inspector’s letter here: Inspector’s Letter to Knutsford Town Council.

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Neighbourhood Plan Submitted

Knutsford Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan Committee is celebrating as it reaches the key milestone of submitting the final draft of the Neighbourhood Plan to Cheshire East Council. The Neighbourhood Plan has been painstakingly prepared by a team of councillors and volunteer residents over the past four years and has been informed by three public consultations.

The submission of the plan to Cheshire East brings the plan sees its adoption on the horizon with it now being subject a final statutory consultation which runs until November 23rd. Members of the public can view the Neighbourhood Plan and its supporting documents on the Neighbourhood Plan website – and comments on the policies can be submitted to Cheshire East Council.

The plan will go to examination by a planning expert in December with a public referendum on its adoption expected in February, but by reaching this crucial stage the policies already begin to have some weight in making planning decisions.

Town Clerk Adam Keppel-Green said “We are proud to be reaching this key stage and moving a step closer to the Neighbourhood Plan being brought into force. Once again we would like to place on record our thanks to all those who have taken the time to contribute to the plan and especially to the volunteers on our working groups who have helped us create a Neighbourhood Plan”

Nearly 100 residents have worked on the detail of the polices and hundreds more have fed into the process at consultations over the past few years. The Town Council was supported by Macclesfield based Urban Imprint who provided technical knowledge and have helped ensure the plan meets its statutory requirements.

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Neighbourhood Plan Reaches key Milestone


Cllr Peter Coan studying the draft plan

Knutsford’s journey to a Neighbourhood Plan has made a leap forward as the first full draft plan has been published by the Town Council for public consultation.

The draft plan is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by councillors and volunteers from the community who have been working on the plan since 2014. The plan deals with a range of land use issues in Knutsford across core themes spanning everything from traffic and education to housing and sports.

Monday (21st May) saw the start of the formal regulation 14 consultation on the draft plan and residents, local businesses and other stakeholders are invited to review the plan and provide feedback. The plan, and a suite of supporting documents and evidence, can be found online at

To support the consultation the Town Council has produced an eight-page summary document which is being delivered to every home in Knutsford by a team of volunteers as well as a series of supporting events.

The Town Council is hosting three themed events which will examine different areas of the plan in detail. The events, at Knutsford Methodist Church from 7pm to 9pm over the next three weeks, offer an opportunity to hear about aspects of the plan and discuss issues with the council’s planning advisers, Urban Imprint.


Weds 30th May Supporting Infrastructure Focus on Transport, Sports and Leisure, Health, Community and Education


Weds 6th June Creating Places Focus on Design, Heritage, Environment, Open Spaces and the Town Centre


Thurs 14th June Meeting Local Needs Focus on Housing and Employment


Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, is encouraging all residents to engage in the consultation process as he said “It is your chance to help preserve the character of our historic Town, whilst ensuring that any new developments seek to compliment all that Knutsford offers the residents of today, whilst helping to meet the aspirations of the current younger generation and those to come”

Hard copies of the Draft Neighbourhood Plan can be accessed at the Library, Council Offices, Market Hall and Welcome Café. The consultation runs until Monday 2nd July.

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Full steam ahead for Neighbourhood Plan

Community volunteers are on track to deliver a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford in 2018. The Neighbourhood Plan, led by Knutsford Town Council but driven by community volunteers, held a successful consultation on its emerging policies in November/December and is now moving ‘full steam ahead’ to get the plan submitted to Cheshire East Council this year.

614 residents completed the emerging policies consultation with an additional 200 visiting one of the exhibition events held across Town and at the Christmas Market. Ten consultation respondents were drawn to win one of the £75 cash prizes. The winners were; Val Edwards, Sharon Ilman, Zoe Whittington, Zoe Cooper, Helen Gilbert, Paul Langley, L Carrasco, Beverley Hill and C Moore. Beverley Hill did not provide her adders and the Council is awaiting her to come forward for her prize.

Feedback from the consultation indicated broad support for the emerging policies, with consultants Urban Imprint having issues the Town Council with a series of recommended changes ready for the next stage of developing the plan.

“This consultation was about the ideas we had for policies, the next stage is about adding the meat to the bones”, said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green.

Volunteers working on the plan are currently reviewing these proposed changes and will be agreeing the final emerging policies at the end of February before work producing the full draft policies begins, with a tight target of reaching agreement on the draft policies by April when the community will get a say on the detail.

“Producing a Neighbourhood Plan is a key ambition for the Town Council and we are indebted to the support from both the volunteers directly working on our policies and behind the scenes gathering evidence and the residents who took the time to complete our survey for visit us at the Christmas Market” Adam added.

“The plan really starts to come together now, and it is full steam ahead to developing the first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan for consultation in April/May and hopefully having a referendum on its adoption in late 2018”.

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Neighbourhood Plan Survey Results

Volunteers working on the development of a Neighbourhood Plan for Knutsford have moved one step closer towards setting policy following the analysis of the initial survey results. The results of the survey, undertaken in September and October 2016, have been considered by the working groups responsible for progressing the nine key areas of the plan.

Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “On behalf of everyone involved in the development of the plan I would like to thank all those who took the time to respond to this survey.”

“We are now working with our appointed consultants, Urban Imprint, to review the responses and use this information to draw up a vision, objectives and policies for the draft Neighbourhood Plan”

The raw data gathered from the survey has been published online here: RAW Survey Results (excel)

Volunteers interested in driving the plan forward through the working groups are still welcomed; if you would like to help drive the future of Knutsford, contact the Town Clerk on

Survey Highlights

Getting Around


97% – Improve Safety & Efficiency of Transport Network

96% – Reduce Congestion

91% – Improve & Develop Pedestrian Networks

83% – Improve & Develop Cycle Networks

89% – Ensure Ease of Access of Public Transport across Knutsford

85% – Ensure all Homes & Businesses connected to Superfast Broadband

61% – Knutsford should have a Relief Road despite probability of infill development

(*Percentage of residents who both agree & strongly agree to specific development)


Knutsford’s historic open spaces with their open views is the aspect that was seen as most important to Knutsford’s distinctiveness and character, closely followed by the historic ambience of its streets and its historic buildings and memorials. Nearly three quarters of respondents strongly agreed that new development should respect the local vernacular and character of Knutsford.

In response to how residents thought that the Neighbourhood Plan should enhance the historic feel of Knutsford the issues identified by the highest proportion of respondents were the preservation and conservation of the historic buildings and green open spaces; the improvement or enhancement of the public realm in the Town Centre and the character of Canute Square; the removal or reduction in excessive street signage, furniture, ‘clutter’ and traffic; the creation of infrastructure to improve accessibility and visitor services and a design guide for developments.

Respondent’s further comments covered a very wide range of topics, however there were a significant number of references to the importance of heritage to future generations and to the economy of the town, also contemporary architecture and sympathetic new developments and use of heritage assets.

Town Centre

The results of the town centre questionnaire resulted in no surprises, the opinions are totally in line with previous questionnaires.

In essence, residents wish to have a vibrant town centre which is friendly, clean, safe and a place where there is less conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.  On the whole whilst the town centre does fulfil their needs there is much which could and should be done to make significant improvements for the long term benefit of both residents and the town centre businesses.

Education & Community

Analysis of survey results indicate high support for youth centre for teenagers/young people, both indoor and outdoor facilities.  Also meeting halls to be available to everyone at low cost.

New school places must be sustained with house growth and adult education/evening classes should be accessed within the town. Schools should be within easy travelling distance from home to relieve congestion on the roads.  All schools to provide good exercise routines for children.


Between 92% and 97% of replies strongly or very strongly agreed that new housing developments should reflect the scale and building styles of Knutsford as a historic market town; that the quality of in-fill developments, conversions and extensions should add to the look of the town; that existing views of the local landscape should be protected and new vistas created; and that facilities and amenities in new developments should complement not replace those in the town centre.

Just under 90% of replies support a mix of housing types and tenures on each new development. One in three do not want Knutsford to have any more new homes than already allocated; rather more thought additional homes should be on the present sites and the rest suggested a variety of locations with in-town sites being the most suggested.  The responses provide strong guidance for Housing Policies in the Neighbourhood Plan.


The views which the community have expressed in the survey will know help us to develop the town to have health services which will reflect our growing town in the future. Working with other health professionals we will be able to discuss the best outcome which can be achieved for the benefit of all, and how to access those services by public transport an be best achieved.

We shall also be considering very closely what levels of pollution that our town will be experiencing as the growth in traffic in general and aircraft will increase.

The response level also indicated the towns view that green spaces for the purpose of walking, cycling and generally keeping fit is a key consideration for us to take forward.

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Deadline for Neighbourhood Plan Survey extended

The deadline to complete the Neighbourhood Plan survey has been extended to allow more time for residents to have a say in the future of Knutsford. Residents now have until October 23rd to get their comments into Knutsford Town Council.

Photograph courtesy of Cllr Jonathan Farber

Photograph courtesy of Cllr Jonathan Farber

“We wanted to ensure everyone had the opportunity to have a say in the future of Knutsford and have extended the deadline to help ensure we can reach more residents” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Garner.

The questionnaire, which was delivered to every household in Knutsford, will help inform the first stages of creating the Neighbourhood Plan which will shape development in Knutsford alongside the Local Plan.

Last week councillors and residents on the Neighbourhood Plan committee met with Knutsford’s MP, George Osborne, who is encouraging residents to have their say, commenting “Knutsford Town Council is working hard to ensure that local people have a say in the future of their town and I am pleased to back this crucial consultation”

Residents who have any queries about the survey or want to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan can visit or contact the Town Clerk on or 01565 653 929. The survey is also available in large print and if you need help completing the questionnaire this can be arranged.

To begin the survey, click here: Neighbourhood Plan Survey

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Neighbourhood Plan Survey Launched

Residents of Knutsford are being urged to help shape the future of their town through the Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan. Knutsford Town Council, leading on the development of the community-led plan has launched the first survey to capture people’s views on a range of topics.

Cllr Nicholson and Cllr Gardiner implore residents to complete the survey

Cllr Nicholson and Cllr Gardiner implore residents to complete the survey

The questionnaire, which is being delivered to every household in Knutsford, will help inform the first stages of creating the Neighbourhood Plan which will shape development in Knutsford alongside the Local Plan.

Covering everything from Health and Housing to Education and the Environment the survey results will form the basis of the next stages of developing the plan.

“This is an important step in developing our Neighbourhood Plan and I implore everyone to spare the time to have a say in the future of our Town” said Mayor of Knutsford, Cllr Jan Nicholson.

“It is vital that this plan has the support of the community and built on firm engagement with residents and the first stage for this is getting as many responses as possible” Cllr Nicholson added.

Households will receive a paper copy of the questionnaire with a pre-paid envelope for returns and it is also available online at

“The more responses the better” was the call from Chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee, Cllr Stewart Gardiner who added “We have set the survey out in theme groups and are happy for residents to choose the topics most important to them, whether that’s heritage, the Town Centre, sport or something else”

Residents who have any queries about the survey or want to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan can visit or contact the Town Clerk on or 01565 653 929. The survey is also available in large print and if you need help completing the questionnaire this can be arranged.

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Design Guide Consultation Response

The Town Council has responded to the Cheshire East Council consultation on the new Borough Design Guide. The Town Council has objected to Knutsford being classified in the “North Cheshire Fringe” on the grounds that it gives the impression Knutsford is more urban than it is. We have requested that more consideration is given to the varied architecture of Knutsford and have given a range of examples of what the Town Council considers best represent Knutsford.

Our overall comment on the document is that it  is essential that all of Knutsford’s heritage and character is recognised in the Design Guide because this is what both planning officers and developers will be referring to in planning decisions and without this Knutsford’s character will be misrepresented and its sense of place will be lost forever. For this reason we argue that the description of Knutsford must be accurate.

You can view the full consultation response here:  Consultation Response to Design Guide

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Town Council Responds to Local Plan Consultation

The Town Council met at a specially convened meeting on Tuesday 29th March 2016 to agree its response to the consultation on the revisions to the Local Plan Strategy and as part of the consultation response repeated comments made to the Inspector in September 2015 supporting the North Cheshire Growth Village.

The Town Council is determined to maintain the character of Knutsford as a thrivingand picturesque historic market town, and a valuable key service centre for the area. The Town Council also understands the pressures of population growth and the current housing shortage. Therefore, whilst the Town Council would have been happier with the 650 houses allocated in the 2014 submission version of the local plan, it looks at the allocation of 950 contained within the current draft as a proposal “it can live with” and control with the help of a Neighbourhood Plan to maintain the character of the town.

You can view our full consultation response here: Response to CEC Local Plan Consultation

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