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									Cheshire County Council
South Cheshire Sub
Regional Study
Final Report
Black
                                                           Cheshire County Council
                                                           South Cheshire Sub
                                                           Regional Study
                                                           Final Report



                                                           December 2008




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                                                               of our client.
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                                                               relied upon by any third party and no
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Cheshire County Council                                               South Cheshire Sub Regional Study
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       Contents
                                                                                                   Page
       1          Introduction                                                                        1
                  1.1          Background                                                                1
                  1.2          Purpose of the study                                                      1
                  1.3          Objectives                                                                1
                  1.4          Study Approach                                                            2
                  1.5          Core / Wider Study Area                                                   2
                  1.6          Local Government Re-organisation                                          3
                  1.7          Location and Settlements                                                  4
       2          Population / Deprivation                                                               5
                  2.1          Population                                                                5
                  2.2          Deprivation                                                               5
                  2.3          Conclusions                                                               6
       3          Economy                                                                                7
                  3.1          Employment                                                                7
                  3.2          Unemployment                                                              7
                  3.3          VAT Stock Change                                                          8
                  3.4          Labour Market                                                             8
                  3.5          Skill Levels and Qualifications                                           8
                  3.6          The Skills Priorities                                                     8
                  3.7          Earnings                                                                10
                  3.8          Economic Drivers                                                        10
                  3.9          Conclusion                                                              10
       4          Housing Market                                                                       12
                  4.1          Population                                                              12
                  4.2          Migration                                                               12
                  4.3          House Sales / Values                                                    14
                  4.4          Housing Stock                                                           16
                  4.5          Conclusion                                                              17
       5          Strategic Direction for Growth                                                       18
                  5.1          Housing Land                                                            18
                  5.2          Employment Land Supply                                                  20
                  5.3          Conclusion                                                              22
       6          Transport                                                                            24
                  6.1          Introduction                                                            24
                  6.2          Existing Infrastructure                                                 24

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                  6.3          Travel to work data                                                               27
                  6.4          Modes of Travelling to Work                                                       30
                  6.5          Major Issues                                                                      30
                  6.6          Future Transport Implications                                                     31
                  6.7          Conclusions                                                                       34
       7          Environment                                                                                    35
                  7.1          Introduction                                                                      35
                  7.2          The Study Area Environment                                                        35
                  7.3          Green Belt                                                                        36
                  7.4          Flood Risk                                                                        37
                  7.5          Designations and Environmental Constraints                                        37
                  7.6          Sensitive Landscapes                                                              39
                  7.7          Conclusions on Potential Environmental Impacts                                    40
       8          Spatial Implications                                                                           41
                  8.1          Forecast Change                                                                   41
       9          Conclusions                                                                                    44
                  9.1          Key Linkages                                                                      44
                  9.2          Issues for future Strategy Development                                            44
                  9.3          Monitoring Framework                                                              49
                  9.4          Future Working                                                                    51
                  9.5          Possible Joint Strategy Working Arrangements                                      51




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       1             Introduction
                 1.1         Background

                 The adopted North West Regional Spatial Strategy (NW RSS) identified the need for
                 development in Crewe to take account of the relationship to the Potteries and North
                 Staffordshire. The need to better understand the spatial relationships in this area was
                 highlighted more recently in the draft RSS (January 2006) and in the discussion at the
                 Examination in Public (EiP) in early 2007. The Panel Report from the EiP concluded that a
                 study into the potential impact on North Staffordshire of housing development in Crewe was
                 necessary to inform future strategy development, and further identified a need to also
                 consider Congleton district as part of this work. The recently published NW RSS
                 (September 2008) confirms the economic links with North Staffordshire and the Potteries
                 urban area. It also highlights the need for future plans in Crewe to take into consideration
                 the likely impact upon economic and regeneration activity in North Staffordshire
                 The West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (WM RSS) also recognises the importance of
                 the cross boundary links and the need for strategy to be consistent between the adjoining
                 areas. The North Staffordshire Conurbation is identified by the WM RSS as a Major Urban
                 Area, where issues including urban renewal, population loss and a decline in economic
                 prosperity need to be addressed.

                 1.2         Purpose of the study

                 The South Cheshire Sub Region Study (SCSRS or ‘the Study’) has been commissioned by
                 Cheshire County Council on behalf of 4NW in response to the needs identified above. The
                 scope of the study is set out in the brief issued and in the consultant’s response to it. Here
                 we provide an overview of the purpose of the work and the way in which it is being
                 approached.
                 The outputs from the study will contribute to the evidence base for future policy
                 development in the NW RSS and the Local Development Framework (LDF) for the new
                 Cheshire East Unitary Authority. The study will also provide evidence for use in strategies
                 under development in the West Midlands, including the West Midlands Regional Spatial
                 Strategy Phase 2 revision (WM RSS2) and LDFs in North Staffordshire and North
                 Shropshire. To ensure that appropriate inputs are derived for these purposes, the study is
                 looking forward to 2026 for LDF and 2032 for RSS work.
                 A key aim of the work is to provide a clear understanding of the links and inter-relationships
                 between South Cheshire and the neighbouring parts of the West Midlands. The work takes
                 into account the strategies of a range of public sector organisations and once the study is
                 complete will advise on the key issues that need to be considered as part of future strategy
                 development processes in South Cheshire. The potential for strategies in South Cheshire to
                 impact on development in North Shropshire and North Staffordshire will be a crucial
                 dimension to these key issues.
                 The study focuses on the functioning of the economy and the housing markets in South
                 Cheshire and how these relate to the wider Study Area. However, the role of transport
                 infrastructure in supporting these dynamics is an important aspect as is the potential
                 implications for environmental quality and the overall sustainability of development of
                 existing and future development strategies.

                 1.3         Objectives

                 The overall objectives of the study may be summarised as follows:
                 •     To identify the key economic drivers that will influence future development within South
                       Cheshire and any aspects of these that are common to other parts of the Study Area;

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                 •     To assess the dynamics of the housing market in South Cheshire and its relationship to
                       the wider Study Area;

                 •     To identify the role of South Cheshire currently in comparison to other parts of the Study
                       Area and the aspirations of stakeholders for the future;

                 •     To assess the effectiveness of the existing transport network within South Cheshire and
                       the connections to the wider Study Area and beyond; and

                 •     To identify the implications for environmental quality in the Study Area of anticipated
                       levels of development and the need for any improvements.

                 1.4         Study Approach

                 The overall approach to the work can be described as follows
                 Phase 1 Audit: Compiling the baseline information covering socio-economic data, transport
                 information and environmental features. This stage also required consultation with key data
                 holders and policy shapers for the Study Area.
                 Phase 2 Analysis: Review of data and policy (spatial, economic, transport); assessment of
                 the scale and distribution of future change in population and employment; stakeholder
                 consultation on issues.
                 Phase 3: Identification of key issues: To be taken into consideration in future strategy
                 development in South Cheshire and neighbouring areas.
                 Phases 1 and 2 are reported in the accompanying Baseline Report for this study. Phase 3 of
                 the study is reported in this document. To enable the document to be read independently a
                 summary of the key outputs from the earlier phases is provided. However, for a more
                 detailed examination of the evidence readers should refer to the Baseline Report.

                 1.5         Core / Wider Study Area

                 The Study Area comprises of the core area of South Cheshire (defined here as including the
                 local authorities of Crewe and Nantwich and Congleton) along with a wider Study Area
                 which comprises the local authority areas of Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
                 Moorlands, Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Shropshire.




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                 Figure 1.1 The South Cheshire Study Area




                 As highlighted below, the Study Area straddles the regional boundary between the North
                 West and the West Midlands.
                 Figure 1.2 The administrative areas and regional boundary




                 1.6         Local Government Re-organisation

                 Cheshire is undergoing an administrative reorganisation to form the unitary authorities of
                 Cheshire East and Cheshire West & Chester, which will take effect from April 2009. The
                 existing local authorities of Crewe & Nantwich, Congleton and Macclesfield will combine to
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                 form the new Cheshire East authority. A similar process is underway in Shropshire where
                 North Shropshire will become part of a larger Unitary Authority area also including the areas
                 now in the local authority districts of Oswestry, Shrewsbury & Atcham, South Shropshire
                 and Bridgnorth.

                 1.7         Location and Settlements

                 South Cheshire (i.e. the local authorities of Congleton and Crewe & Nantwich) lies at the
                 southern point of the North West region. The remainder of the study area includes
                 Macclesfield to the east, Staffordshire Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-
                 Lyme to the south east, and to the south west, North Shropshire. Outside of the study area,
                 to the west is the rest of Cheshire, including Chester, and North Wales.
                 The principal settlements include:
                 Crewe and Nantwich: Crewe, Nantwich;
                 Congleton: Congleton, Sandbach, Alsager and, Middlewich;
                 Macclesfield: Macclesfield, Knutsford and Wilmslow;
                 North Shropshire: Whitchurch, Market Drayton, Ellesmere and Wem;
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme: Newcastle-under-Lyme and Kidsgrove;
                 Stoke-on-Trent: Stoke, Hanley, Burslem, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton; and
                 Staffordshire Moorlands: Leek, Biddulph and Cheadle.
                 Outside the settlements listed above the Study Area is predominantly rural in character, with
                 many smaller towns and villages distributed across the area.




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        2        Population / Deprivation
                 2.1         Population

                 The population of South Cheshire is 208,200 while the population of the Study Area as a
                 whole is 877,100. The largest local authority area in terms of population is Stoke-on-Trent
                 where the population is 239,700 while the smallest is North Shropshire which has a
                 population of 59,500.
                 Since 2001, the population of South Cheshire has increased by 3.2%, in line with the
                 average for England and Wales. The Study Area as a whole has experienced below
                 average growth (1.3%). The authority which has experienced the highest percentage
                 change is Crewe and Nantwich, where there has been 4.3% growth. This is, however,
                 closely followed by North Shropshire where the population has grown by 4.2%. Stoke-on-
                 Trent is the only authority where there has been a population decline (of 0.4%), although
                 Macclesfield has experienced a very low rate of increase over the period of just 0.3%.
                 South Cheshire has lower levels (16%) than the average for England and Wales of young
                 residents (aged 15-29 years) and higher than average levels (21% and 15% respectively) of
                 residents in the 45-59 and 60-74 age groups.
                 Across the Study Area as a whole there are lower than average levels of the population
                 aged up to 44 years, and higher proportions than average in the 45 to 74 age groups.
                 All of the individual authority areas except Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme have
                 much lower levels of the 15-29 years age group than the national average. There are also
                 higher levels of people in the 45-59 years and 60-74 years in these authorities.

                 2.2         Deprivation

                 High levels of deprivation are not a feature of the Study Area in general, with the clear
                 exception of the North Staffordshire conurbation. There are also pockets of deprivation in
                 Crewe & Nantwich, but this is not to the level displayed in the North Staffordshire
                                                           th
                 conurbation. Stoke-on-Trent is the 16 most deprived local authority in England with almost
                 a third of its population living in areas classified as the worst 10% in terms of multiple
                 deprivation in England. In contrast, there is 3% of the population of Newcastle-under-Lyme
                 and none of the Staffordshire Moorlands population living in an area that is amongst the
                                                                                      1
                 worst 10%, according to the CLG’ s Indices of Deprivation 2007 . However Figure 2.1
                 demonstrates that the extent of deprivation is not as severe as in Stoke-on-Trent or
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme.




1
    http://www.communities.gov.uk/communities/neighbourhoodrenewal/deprivation/deprivation07/
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                 Figure 2.1 Multiple Deprivation in the Study Area (2007)




                  Source: Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2007 DCLG

                 2.3         Conclusions

                 The Study Area demonstrates a diverse spatial character with the highly populated urban
                 conurbation of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme contrasting with the extremely
                 rural character of North Shropshire and Staffordshire Moorlands in particular.
                 The pattern of recent population change also varies quite considerably, ranging from the
                 4.3% increase experienced in Crewe and Nantwich and 4.2% in North Shropshire to the
                 decline in Stoke-on-Trent.
                 In general, apart from Stoke-on-Trent, the level of deprivation is relatively low in the Study
                 Area. However, the stark contrast between the levels of deprivation in the rest of the Study
                 Area and Stoke-on-Trent highlights the need for continuing action to address this disparity.
                 The relatively low level of young people (outside Stoke-on-Trent) will have implications for
                 the continuing vitality of the economy as this will impact on the future labour supply
                 availability.




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       3         Economy
                 3.1         Employment

                 In terms of employment in 2006, the manufacturing sector provides a higher rate of
                 employment for all the local authority areas compared to the regional and national averages,
                 with the exception of Newcastle-under-Lyme. There are high rates of employment in the
                 public administration, education and health sector in Stoke-on-Trent, while there are low
                 rates in this sector in Macclesfield and Congleton.
                 There are particularly low rates of employment in the banking, finance and insurance
                 sectors in the West Midlands part of the Study Area, although employment in these sectors
                 is also lower than the regional (and national) average in Congleton and Crewe and
                 Nantwich.
                 Although agriculture now provides a small proportion of the employment in North
                 Shropshire, its relative importance to the economy of that area can still be seen, compared
                 to the other Study Area districts.
                 There are high rates of employment in distribution, hotels and restaurants in Newcastle-
                 under-Lyme. There are also high rates of employment in the transport and communications
                 sectors, which together reflect the attractiveness of the area for distribution and
                 warehousing activities.
                 The data set out in the table 4.2 in the baseline report shows that the West Midlands has
                 experienced a slower rate of growth in employment on average between 1998 and 2006
                 than the North West and England and Wales. Within the West Midlands part of the Study
                 Area Stoke-on-Trent has experienced a loss in employment over the period, while
                 Staffordshire Moorlands and North Shropshire have experienced growth in line with the
                 regional average.
                 There has been very high employment growth in Crewe and Nantwich during the period
                 1998-2006, in particular reflecting a doubling in the public administration, education and
                 health sector (around 7,000 jobs) over the period. This is likely to continue with the
                 proposed Regional Investment Site at Basford which is set to accommodate a considerable
                 number of new jobs in the area. There has also been significant growth in the transport and
                 communications sector (some 2,600 jobs) and the banking, finance and insurance sector
                 (3,100 jobs).
                 In most of the Study Area districts, gains in many sectors have been offset by continuing
                 losses in the manufacturing sector; this is particularly true of Congleton where in excess of
                 5,000 jobs have been lost between 1998 and 2006, Newcastle-under-Lyme with losses of
                 over 5,300 jobs and Stoke-on-Trent which has seen a reduction of 20,500 manufacturing
                 jobs, over this period.

                 3.2         Unemployment

                 Within the Study Area, unemployment rates (as indicated by the claimant count data) are
                 lower than the national average of 2.2% in the all authority areas except Stoke-on-Trent
                 (2.6%) and in all areas the rates have improved since 1999.
                 In Stoke-on-Trent the proportion of claimants that have been unemployed longer than 6
                 months is lower than the average for England and Wales while despite the lower overall rate
                 in Crewe and Nantwich, the proportion of long term unemployed is greater than the national
                 average.




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                 3.3         VAT Stock Change

                 Over the past 10 years there has been a considerable increase in the number of VAT
                 registered enterprises in South Cheshire and in Macclesfield. This is in contrast to the
                 situation in the West Midlands part of the Study Area where the rate of increase in stock is
                 much lower than the average for both England and Wales and the region.

                 3.4         Labour Market

                 3.4.1     Economic Activity
                 A greater proportion of the working age population of the Study Area is economically active
                 than is the average for England and Wales. Only in Stoke – on - Trent is there a lower
                 proportion of the population that is economically active than the national average. High
                 economic activity rates are associated with better performing economies where the better
                 opportunities and rewards for taking up employment encourage entrants into the labour
                 force.
                 There are high rates of self-employment in North Shropshire and Macclesfield. This may
                 reflect a strong entrepreneurial dynamic.

                 3.5         Skill Levels and Qualifications

                 3.5.1     Type of Occupations
                 There are very high levels of residents with professional and managerial occupations in
                 Congleton and Macclesfield. Lower proportions of residents in these occupations are found
                 in the Study Area authorities in the West Midlands.
                 The higher than average levels of plant and machine operatives in the West Midlands part
                 of the wider Study Area will reflect the relatively high presence of manufacturing activities
                 that remain in the region.

                 3.5.2      Qualifications
                 A similar pattern can be seen in terms of the qualifications held by residents of working age
                 in the Study Area, with a very high proportion of the residents of Congleton and Macclesfield
                 having higher level qualifications (NVQ Level 4 and above). In contrast, the proportion of
                 residents with these higher level qualifications in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent
                 is half that found in Macclesfield. Qualifications of residents in Crewe and Nantwich are
                 approximately in line with national levels. However, research from Cheshire County Council
                 considers that the level of qualifications within the area has restricted the type and level of
                 development in the area.
                 This is also reflected in the proportion of the population that have no qualifications, with the
                 highest incidence seen in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent, and the lowest in
                 Congleton.

                 3.6         The Skills Priorities

                 3.6.1      Context
                 Skills issues are highlighted in the economic strategies as being of crucial importance to the
                 development of more robust, higher added value economies in the Study Area. In general,
                 employment growth in the UK is anticipated to be mainly in the intermediate and higher level
                 occupations, with a continuing decline in demand for elementary occupations.
                 The overall context for prioritising skills development in England and Wales is articulated in
                 the Leitch Review (A Roadmap Directing UK towards World Class Skills by 2020). This
                 recognises that while the UK has been experiencing good economic growth in recent years,
                 the UK’s skills base is “fundamentally weak by international standards”. This in turn is
                 holding back productivity, growth and social justice. The effects of this are compounded as

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                 the global competitors are advancing rapidly: for example, while China and India are turning
                 out 4 million graduates each year, the UK is turning out just 250,000.

                 3.6.2       The Study Area

                 Skills
                 A lack of well skilled people in parts of the Study Area has resulted in the skills priorities in
                 the majority of the areas concentrating on tackling worklessness, increasing adult literacy
                 and encouraging teenagers to stay on in education. The recent North West Employment
                 and Skills Evidence Base states that employers in knowledge based sectors in Cheshire
                 and Warrington have been able to draw upon a major concentration of higher level skills
                 compared to other locations in the region. However, there is some concern over shortages
                 of certain skills, especially the lower, semi and associate level occupations, where it has
                 been difficult to attract local people or draw in people from outside due to lower wages or
                 housing affordability issues.
                 Higher Education
                 The existence of higher education facilities is regarded as a positive asset for the area in
                 which they are located. As well as acting as a major employer in an area, they can provide a
                 source of workers and expertise to business; their graduates can establish new business;
                 and their presence can encourage the take up of opportunities to develop higher level skills
                 by the surrounding population. However, to maximise the benefits, the graduates of these
                 institutions need to be encouraged to remain in the area once they have completed their
                 studies. This will be dependent on many factors, but the availability of a choice of
                 appropriate graduate level work will be key.
                 •    Manchester Metropolitan University has a campus currently split over sites in Crewe
                      and Alsager. A key development in encouraging higher level skills in the workforce is
                      the investment currently underway to relocate the Alsager facilities to the Crewe site.
                      This aims to provide a better facility, by providing a larger student and staff population
                      which will support a livelier, more vibrant campus atmosphere. There will also be better
                      equipped and improved facilities including new IT, library and catering facilities; state-of-
                      the-art student accommodation; better and more central transport links and improved
                      social facilities. This project is also seen as making an important contribution to the
                      development of Crewe as a focus for economic and housing development.

                 There are two universities in the West Midlands part of the Study Area, namely Keele
                 University and Staffordshire University (which has one of it campus locations in central
                 Stoke-on-Trent).
                 •    Staffordshire University offers flexible study, two-year ‘fast-track’ degrees, foundation
                      degrees, HND courses, numerous Continuous Professional Development Programmes
                      for employees, and distance learning. It seeks to provide access to higher education for
                      as many students as possible and so some courses are also available at local colleges.

                 •    Keele is the UK's largest integrated campus university and occupies a large site, with
                      the 19th century Keele Hall at its centre. It is a major contributor to the local economy,
                      with a turnover in excess of £80m, and a total staff of some 1,700, in total it generates
                      around £130m of business in the region. The university promotes research and has
                      internationally competitive expertise throughout the Health, Humanities and Social
                      Sciences and Natural Sciences. There is an associated Science and Business Park
                      which has become the centre of excellence for science, technology, research,
                      development and creative industries. Its aim is to support the growth of innovative
                      businesses, particularly those active in research and development within the West
                      Midlands region by providing a high quality location and a wide range of business
                      support services.



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                 3.7         Earnings

                 The median gross weekly pay for full-time employees (including overtime) for both residents
                 and workers in the Study Area is shown in the figure 4.1 in the baseline report. Reflecting
                 the data considered above on occupations and skill levels, the highest wage levels are
                 received by the residents of Macclesfield at just below £560 per week. The lowest wages
                 are received by residents of Stoke-on-Trent at just over £382. Residents and workers in
                 Crewe and Nantwich receive just below £400 per week.
                 With the exception of Crewe and Nantwich and Stoke-on-Trent, the median wage levels of
                 residents of an area are higher than the median wage levels of workers in that area. This
                 suggests that a proportion of the residents travel outside the area to work in higher paid
                 jobs. The greatest differential between the resident and workplace wage levels is found in
                 Congleton (a difference of £103 per week) and North Shropshire (a difference of £70 per
                 week).

                 3.8         Economic Drivers

                 Two main documents identify the key economic drivers for the Study Area.
                 Connecting to Success the West Midlands Economic Strategy, published in December
                 2007, sets out a number of goals for the area. These include:
                       o    Seizing market opportunities;
                       o    Improving the West Midlands competitiveness:
                       o    Maximising the knowledge bases in the area by retaining as many university
                            students as possible;
                       o    Improving the areas infrastructure; and
                       o    Increasing the competitiveness of Birmingham with other major cities such as
                            Manchester;
                 The North West Regional Economic Strategy (NW RES), published in 2006 demonstrates
                 similar economic drivers including:
                       o    Improving the productivity and consequently growing the North West market;
                       o    Growing the size and capability of the workforce; and
                       o    Creating the right conditions for sustainable growth and private sector investment.
                 The NW RES describes a number of transformational actions which should be considered
                 when developing plans and will help inform the economic drivers and help to create a
                 successful and thriving North West economy. The transformational actions are broken
                 down under the three economic drivers detailed above. In relation to the Study Area, there
                 are two main transformational actions which are important. Under the economic driver of
                 conditions for sustainable growth, transformational action 63 is to deliver demand
                 management and improvements on the Greater Manchester/Cheshire motorways. Under
                 the economic driver of growing the size and capacity of the workforce, transformational
                 action 55 aims to develop plans to capitalise on ongoing private sector investment around
                 Crewe.

                 3.9         Conclusion

                 In general, unemployment levels are low within the Study Area, except in Stoke-on-Trent.
                 However, there is a significant difference within the Study Area concerning qualifications
                 and the types of job occupied. There are a higher proportion of residents in Congleton and
                 Macclesfield that hold a NVQ level 4 or above compared to the rest of the Study Area. It is
                 no surprise therefore that there are a higher proportion of residents in Congleton and

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                 Macclesfield that occupy professional and managerial positions compared to residents in
                 the rest of the Study Area.
                 The workforce is a key economic driver and therefore reflects the importance of an area’s
                 skill base. Similarly the other economic drivers are key to ensuring that South Cheshire and
                 indeed the wider Study Area develop a prosperous economy.




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       4         Housing Market
                 4.1         Population

                 As described in Section 2, the authority which has experienced the highest percentage
                 change in population since 2001 is Crewe and Nantwich, where there has been 4.3 per cent
                 growth. This is, however, closely followed by North Shropshire where the population has
                 grown by 4.2 per cent. Stoke-on-Trent is the only authority where there has been
                 population decline (of 0.4 per cent), although Macclesfield has experienced a very low rate
                 of increase over the period of just 0.3 per cent.

                 4.2         Migration

                 4.2.1     Internal Migration
                 Information on migration in the North West has been gleaned from various sources including
                 work to inform the North Staffordshire housing market renewal pathfinder and recent reports
                 defining the housing market areas in the North West (March 2008). We have also used work
                 completed to inform the West Midlands RSS review and Strategic Housing Market
                 Assessments for both the North HMA (including Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme and
                 Staffordshire Moorlands) and West HMA (including North Shropshire) in 2007. This provides
                 quite detailed information on each of the Local Authority areas.
                 In terms of migration, the data suggests that relationships with adjacent authority areas are
                 strongest within region. The exceptions are the links between Macclesfield and Staffordshire
                 Moorlands and to a lesser extent between Newcastle-under-Lyme and Congleton. There
                 appear to be relatively weak relationships between Stoke-on-Trent and the Cheshire
                 authority areas. In 2007 (Table 4.1) there was a net gain of 10 residents from the Cheshire
                 areas by Stoke-on-Trent as the flows were largely balanced in either direction. North
                 Shropshire does not have strong links with any individual authority in the rest of the Study
                 Area.
                 More recent data for the year to June 2007 has also been sourced from the ONS and is
                 shown for the local authority areas in the Study Area in Table 4.1 and Table 4.2 below. This
                 data relates to estimates of internal migration only (i.e. moves within England & Wales). The
                 data are derived principally from the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR)
                 monitoring of registered patient movements between Health Authority Areas. There are
                 limitations to the use of the data as, for example, movements of people in the armed forces
                 are not included and there are known variations in the re-registration patterns amongst
                 different groups in the population when they change address.




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                 Table 4.1 Net Internal Migration in the Study Area (2007)
                                      Net Inflow to




                                                                                                                Staffordshire
                                                                            Macclesfield




                                                                                               under-Lyme




                                                                                                                                                      Shropshire
                                                                                               Newcastle-




                                                                                                                Moorlands
                                         Congleton




                                                                                                                                    Stoke-on-
                  From




                                                         Nantwich
                                                         Crewe &




                                                                                                                                                      North
                                                                                                                                    Trent
         Congleton                        -                     60             -240                   -50                       0          -10                     0
         Crewe & Nantwich                   -60             -                          -30            -20                       0               0             30
         Macclesfield                     240                   30            -                             0         100                  20                 20
         Newcastle-under-
                                                50              20                         0      -                     -30           -440                    30
         Lyme
         Staffordshire
                                                     0              0          -100                     30          -                 -370                         0
         Moorlands
         Stoke-on-Trent                         10                  0                  -20            440             370              -                      30
         North Shropshire                            0          -30                    -20            -30                       0          -30           -
         South Cheshire                     -60                 60             -270                   -70                       0          -10                30
         Wider Study Area                 240                   80             -410                   370             440             -830                   110
         Rest of England &
                                                60              520         1,110                     230                60           -570                   290
         Wales
         England & Wales
                                          300                   600                 700               600             500           -1,400                   400
         (Total)
                 Source: ONS Migration Statistics Unit

                 Crewe and Nantwich has strong links with Congleton and West Cheshire, which is
                 unsurprising given the adjacency. Given that the house prices are significantly different in
                 Crewe and Macclesfield, and the two LAs are not adjacent, it may also not be surprising that
                 the there are weak links between the two, indeed, Crewe and Nantwich receives more
                 inward migration from Liverpool North and Manchester South than Macclesfield. A large
                 proportion of Congleton’s gain from migration is from Macclesfield, which may support
                 suggestions that people are migrating from Macclesfield to Congleton to take advantage of
                 cheaper house prices. In contrast, Macclesfield’s strongest link is with South Manchester,
                 although the district receives some migration from Congleton. The recent data
                 demonstrates that Congleton ‘exports’ population to Crewe and Nantwich.
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme has a highly significant population link with Stoke-on-Trent, in terms
                 of both inward and outward migration, although the balance of the flows has resulted in
                 more people migrating from Stoke to Newcastle rather than the other way round. Newcastle
                 has also exchanged population with Staffordshire Moorlands and has lost some population
                 to Congleton. Overall, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands have all
                 benefited from positive net migration in recent years meaning the population has increased.
                 In comparison, Stoke-on-Trent has lost population primarily through migration. Key sources
                 of positive net migration to Staffordshire Moorlands are Macclesfield and Stoke-on-Trent
                 rather than locations to the east. This suggests the existence of stronger cross-regional
                 links between Staffordshire Moorlands and neighbouring authorities in the North West
                 (Macclesfield and Congleton) than links with Derbyshire. Staffordshire Moorlands is likely to
                 demonstrate a split between the non-National Park area in the west and the National Park
                 which is a non-centred rural area operating more independently.
                 The data shows that in terms of population movements, North Shropshire is more integrated
                 with the other Shropshire LA areas such as Shrewsbury and Atcham although there is some
                 relationship with Newcastle – under - Lyme and Stoke- on- Trent.


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                 4.2.2      International Migration
                 On an international level, a recent study by Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance has
                 examined the aspirations of migrant workers in the Cheshire and Warrington area. Data
                 from the Worker’s Registration Scheme explains how there has been a number of workers
                 settling in Cheshire and Warrington and more specifically in Crewe from countries including
                 Poland, Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia. The study details how migrants are usually
                 qualified to the equivalent of 3 UK ‘A’ level and even graduate level, however, few workers
                 actually held an employment position at the level of qualification they hold.
                 Conclusions from the study suggest that the Cheshire and Warrington area, especially
                 Crewe, will face challenges in specifically the housing and employment sectors. Migrant
                 workers will need housing and employment and these needs will have to be taken into
                 consideration in the development of policy and practice within Cheshire and Warrington.

                 4.2.3     Residence to Workplace Migration
                 Table 4.2 demonstrates the net flow of people who reside in one area but commute to work
                 in another. Utilising the travel to work data, which can be seen in more detail in Chapter 7
                 of the Baseline report, the net flows for the Study Area have been calculated.

                 Table 4.2: Net Residence to Workplace Flows
                                      Net Inflow to




                                                                                                             Staffordshire
                                                                           Macclesfield




                                                                                               under-Lyme




                                                                                                                                              Shropshire
                                                                                               Newcastle-




                                                                                                             Moorlands
                                         Congleton




                                                                                                                             Stoke-on-
                  From
                                                          Nantwich
                                                          Crewe &




                                                                                                                                              North
                                                                                                                             Trent
         Congleton                        -                 1014            4437                      165    -1482            1090                         5
         Crewe & Nantwich              -1014                 -                -537                    -750       -309          -117               -176
         Macclesfield                  -4437                     537         -                        167    -1001             -140                  -21
         Newcastle-under-
                                         -165                    750          -167                -          -1114            6685                   415
         Lyme
         Staffordshire
                                        1482                     309        1001                   1114          -           -6154                   -11
         Moorlands
         Stoke-on-Trent                -1090                     117               140           -6685       -6154              -                 -161
         North Shropshire                            -5          176                      21          -415            11         161             -
                 Source: Travel to work data Census 2001

                 Stoke-on-Trent has a high proportion of people working in the area, but not living there. In
                 contrast, Staffordshire Moorlands and Newcastle-under-Lyme experience the largest out
                 commuting by residents not working in the borough. These patterns will reflect the lower
                 levels of deprivation in the more rural areas and the perceived higher quality of life in
                 contrast to the more urban areas of Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe and Nantwich. However,
                 these urban areas have a wide range of businesses providing a greater number of jobs
                 which attracts people to the surrounding catchment area.

                 4.3         House Sales / Values

                 Comparing the median house price across the wider study area provides a useful hierarchy
                 of market valuation of the housing stock. Table 4.2 shows that Macclesfield has the highest
                 house prices of the Study Area authorities in 2006, followed by North Shropshire,
                 Congleton, Staffordshire Moorlands, Crewe and Nantwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme and
                 Stoke-on-Trent.
                 In terms of the change in median house prices between 2001 and 2006, the pattern is
                 broadly reversed, with the lower value stock tending to show the largest rate of increase.
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                 Thus, Stoke-on-Trent has the highest rate of change over the period (128%), followed by
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire Moorlands, Crewe and Nantwich, North Shropshire,
                 Congleton and Macclesfield.
                 Table 4.3 Median House Prices and Change 2001-2006

                                                            Median        Median
                                                                                         Change           % Change
                                                            House Price   House Price
                                                                                         2001-2006        2001-2006
                                                            2001          2006

                   Congleton                                    £83,000      £162,500        £79,500                  95%

                   Crewe and Nantwich                           £66,950      £137,000        £70,050                 104%

                   Macclesfield                                £117,500      £195,000        £77,500                  66%

                   Staffordshire Moorlands                      £67,000      £139,000        £72,000                 107%

                   Newcastle-under-Lyme                         £55,000      £120,000        £65,000                 118%

                   Stoke-on-Trent                               £38,000       £87,000        £49,000                 128%

                   North Shropshire                             £85,000      £169,950        £84,950                 100%

                   Northwest Region                             £59,995      £127,000        £67,005                 116%

                   West Midlands Region                         £75,950      £142,250        £66,300                  87%

                   England and Wales                            £92,000      £168,500        £76,500                  83%

                 Source: www.statistics.gov.uk

                 The median price level itself does not illustrate the affordability of housing stock to the
                 residents of the Study Area. Figure 4.1 shows the ratio of median house prices to median
                 earnings for the local authority areas in the Study Area. Thus, while Macclesfield has the
                 most expensive housing in 2007, for residents of the area it is relatively more affordable
                 than the housing in North Shropshire and Congleton. Housing in Crewe and Nantwich and
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme has similar levels of affordability, while the most affordable housing
                 in the wider Study Area is found in Stoke-on-Trent.




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                 Figure 4.1 Ratio of median earnings to median house prices 1997-2007

        10.00


         9.00


         8.00


         7.00


         6.00                                                                                              Congleton
                                                                                                           Crewe and Nantwich
                                                                                                           Macclesfield
         5.00                                                                                              Newcastle-under-Lyme
                                                                                                           Staffordshire Moorlands
                                                                                                           Stoke-on-Trent UA
         4.00
                                                                                                           North Shropshire


         3.00


         2.00


         1.00


         0.00
                1997      1998     1999    2000    2001     2002   2003   2004   2005   2006    2007



                 Source: DCLG

                 4.4             Housing Stock

                 4.4.1     Council Tax Band
                 The council tax banding profile of an area can be a useful indicator of the nature of a
                 housing area. Table 5.4 in the baseline report demonstrates that there are considerable
                 variations across the Study Area in terms of the share of the housing stock that is placed in
                 each council tax band. In Macclesfield almost 40% of the stock is placed within the highest
                 tax band (Band E), while in Stoke-on-Trent only 3% of the stock is in this band. Newcastle-
                 under-Lyme also has a small proportion of its housing stock within Band E, while Congleton
                 and North Shropshire have a similar proportion (25% and 23% respectively) and Crewe and
                 Nantwich and Staffordshire Moorlands also display similar characteristics (at 16% of stock in
                 Band E). In contrast, 62% of the housing stock in Stoke-on-Trent is placed in Band A (the
                 lowest) while 12% of the housing stock in Macclesfield is rated at this level. The lowest
                 proportion of stock in Band A is, however, found in Congleton, with just 11% of property in
                 this band.

                 4.4.2     Housing Tenure
                 The tenure of housing also helps to describe the nature of the housing markets across the
                 wider Study Area. Table 5.5 in the baseline report demonstrates that in all areas, the
                 majority of the housing is privately owned by the occupier. However, this ranges from 83%
                 in Staffordshire Moorlands to 65% in Stoke-on-Trent. There are therefore high levels of
                 social rented housing in Stoke-on-Trent (25%) compared to the regional average (19%) and
                 low levels (9%) in Staffordshire Moorlands. Crewe, in comparison has 14% of its
                 accommodation in the socially rented sector.

                 4.4.3    Housing Market Renewal
                 RENEW is a Housing Marker renewal Pathfinder covering North Staffordshire, including
                 most of Stoke-on-Trent, parts of Newcastle-Under-Lyme and part of Biddulph. There are
                 ongoing regeneration schemes in North Staffordshire covering part of the wider Study Area.


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                 4.5         Conclusion

                 Except in Stoke-on-Trent, the population within the Study Area has grown since 2001, with
                 particularly strong growth evident in Crewe and Nantwich. There is evidence of strong
                 migration patterns between Congleton and Macclesfield and to a lesser extent Crewe and
                 Nantwich; Macclesfield and Staffordshire Moorlands; Stoke-on-Trent with Newcastle-under-
                 Lyme and with Staffordshire Moorlands.
                 In terms of house prices, Stoke-on-Trent has the lowest prices; however the area has
                 experienced a higher increase in price since 2001 than anywhere else in the Study Area. In
                 contrast, Macclesfield has the highest house prices, but has experienced the lowest level of
                 price increase within the Study Area.
                 There is cross boundary migration within the Study Area which in part will be linked to house
                 prices, as cited in the case of moves between Macclesfield and Congleton and Staffordshire
                 Moorlands. However, other factors including the type of housing stock are also important
                 drivers of housing choice otherwise Stoke-on-Trent would not be experiencing the net out-
                 migration that is evident.




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       5         Strategic Direction for Growth
                 5.1         Housing Land

                 5.1.1      Policy Framework
                 The North West RSS (policy DP4 and L4) state that the redevelopment and re-use of vacant
                 sites and buildings within urban areas should be a priority. MCR 4 of the NW RSS indicates
                 that sustainable growth should be supported in Crewe and developments should be focused
                 on sites in accordance with, primarily, RDF 1. Policy RDF1 states that, amongst other
                 areas, Crewe and Macclesfield are in the third priority group for growth.
                 The NW RSS (policy L4 supporting text) states that within North East Cheshire (Congleton
                 and Macclesfield) local authorities should ensure that new development does not result in
                 an adverse cumulative impact on local and neighbouring housing markets. The RSS (policy
                 L4 supporting text) specifically states that market housing in North East Cheshire should
                 support agreed local regeneration strategies, making reference to the importance of
                 economic and social linkages with both the rest of the Manchester City Region and the
                 North Staffordshire Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder. In addition to the principles
                 already stated, within South Cheshire, the provision of housing should meet local and
                 affordable needs along with the general housing market, situated in sustainable locations
                 served efficiently by public transport. Housing provision should also support Crewe’s role as
                 a key regional town and gateway to the North West. Table 7.1 of policy L4 sets out the
                 distribution of regional housing provision 2003-2021. For Congleton, the total housing
                 provision for 2003 – 2021 (net of clearance replacement) is 5,400 whereas in Macclesfield
                 this is higher at 7,200 and in Crewe and Nantwich the provision is even higher at 8,100.
                 The WM RSS recognises the North Staffordshire conurbation (within the local authority
                 areas of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme) as a Major Urban Area (MUA). The
                 WM RSS and the draft WM RSS Revision 2 (policy CF5) aim to focus a larger proportion of
                 housing development in the MUAs and previously developed land/buildings within them.
                 The draft WM RSS Revision 2 states that beyond the MUAs, strategic housing development
                 should be concentrated in ‘Settlements of Significant Development’, of which none are in the
                 study area. The Staffordshire and Stoke Structure Plan (Staffs Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent
                 and Newcastle-under-Lyme) (policy H11) states that new housing development outside
                 settlement boundaries in the open countryside will not be permitted except where special
                 circumstances exist.
                 The WM RSS (policy CF4) sets a regional target that at least 76% of future housing
                 provision should be on previously developed land (2001-2011). The WM RSS (policy CF6)
                 also states that housing development should consider the need for any new infrastructure
                 and ground preparation and consider the policy framework in adjoining local authority areas
                 so as not to undermine urban renaissance in other districts. The draft WM RSS Revision 2
                 states that development in the North Housing Market Area (Staffs Moorlands, Newcastle-
                 under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent) will focus on the delivery of a good choice of appropriate
                 quality housing support, to support economic growth and regeneration. This includes the
                 replacement and renewal of housing stock and provision of for a wider range of housing
                 types including the provision of affordable housing and supported housing for vulnerable
                 groups. The WM RSS attempts to achieve this by setting out housing targets that aim to
                 allow MUAs to increasingly meet their own needs while reducing provision in the shires and
                 unitary areas.
                 The West Midlands RSS states that significant action and investment, including where
                 appropriate large scale redevelopment, should be targeted within those parts of the MUAs
                 where the housing market is particularly weak, particularly in the market renewal areas,
                 including Stoke-on- Trent/Newcastle-under-Lyme. The draft WM RSS Revision 2
                 acknowledges that the most sustainable approach to housing numbers might be adjacent to

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                 the settlement but cross local authority boundaries and in these cases co-operation and joint
                 working will be necessary.
                 Consultants Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners were commissioned in July 2008 by the
                 Government Office for the West Midlands to undertake a study into the potential for housing
                 in order to meet the regions housing levels proposed by the National Housing and Planning
                 Advice Unit (NHPAU). The conclusions drawn from the study will form part of the evidence
                 base for the adopted West Midland Regional Spatial Strategy.
                 Congleton Borough Council
                 The Congleton LP (policy H2) divides the Borough into five sub-divisions and states that the
                 proportion in any one sub-division shall not materially exceed the following percentages of
                 the total Borough wide provision:
                      •     Congleton 30%
                      •     Sandbach 25%
                      •     Alsager 15%
                      •     Middlewich 25%
                      •     Rural Areas 15%
                 Macclesfield Borough Council
                 The Macclesfield LP (policy H6) states that within town, district and local centres, housing
                 areas will be retained and new residential development or change of use to residential will
                 be permitted subject to a number of criteria. The Macclesfield LP (policy H12) also
                 designates low density housing areas where housing development will not normally be
                 permitted.
                 Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council
                 Policy MCR 4 in the NW RSS highlights the potential of Crewe for sustainable economic
                 growth. Policy L4 also highlights the need for housing provision in Crewe to take into
                 account the role Crewe plays as a key regional town and gateway to the North West..
                 The Crewe and Nantwich LP states that priority will be given to the re-use of previously-
                 developed, vacant, derelict or under-used land, with a limited amount of new development
                 appropriate to the size and character of existing settlements acceptable within rural areas,
                 where policies allow. However, the Crewe and Nantwich LP (policy RES.8) states that
                 sporadic housing development within the open countryside, without an agricultural
                 justification, will be resisted, except for affordable housing (subject to a number of criteria).
                 Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
                 Policy H4 of the Staffordshire Moorlands LP states that new housing development will be
                 expected to locate within the development boundaries of villages or towns, subject to
                 checks on servicing and its relationship to the existing character of the settlement. Policy H6
                 states that infill development may be permitted outside settlement boundaries and in limited
                 settlements within the Green Belt.
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council
                 The draft West Midlands RSS Phase 2 Revision states that within the North Staffordshire
                 conurbation, development should be concentrated within priority regeneration areas
                 identified within the LDF to complement the process of housing market renewal. The
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent Core Strategy Submission Draft indicates that
                 new housing will primarily be focused towards the inner urban core, where it can
                 demonstrably support the Housing Market Renewal strategy.


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                 North Shropshire District Council
                 The North Shropshire LP Settlement Strategy aims to focus development in the four Market
                 Towns, 13 larger villages and two previously developed sites in other villages and in these
                 locations, subject to a number of criteria, infill development will be permitted. In local
                 service villages the North Shropshire LP (policy H6) states that limited housing development
                 for infill development, conversions or affordable housing may be permitted. The North
                 Shropshire LP (policy H9) states that new houses outside defined settlement boundaries will
                 only be permitted if required by essential agricultural workers or justified as affordable
                 housing.

                 5.2         Employment Land Supply

                 5.2.1       Policy Framework

                 North West
                 The NW RSS (policy DP1) promotes the best use of existing resources and infrastucture
                 and the concentration of most new development (including employment) in regional centres,
                 towns and cities (policy W3).
                 The NW RSS (policy W3) provides indicative employment land requirements at the regional
                 and sub-regional levels. These indicative figures state that in Cheshire and Warrington the
                 2005 employment land supply was identified at 1,171 hectares (ha) with a current take up
                 rate of 41 ha per annum. The projected employment land take up was identified as 43 ha
                 per annum resulting in an overall employment land need for the period 2005-2021 of 874ha.
                 Consequently, the document identifies that there would be an over supply of employment
                 land within Cheshire and Warrington of 297 (ha) over the period 2005-2021. However, the
                 NW RSS recognises that there will still be a need for new sites to be brought forward that
                 may replace the existing allocations considered to be inappropriate, set within the context of
                 reducing the overall allocation over the plan period.
                 The following section indicates the main locations for development as set out in planning
                 policy documents.
                 Congleton Borough Council
                 The majority of employment land allocated in the Congleton LP (policy DP1) is located in
                 Middlewich, with 59ha of the total 65ha. The Congleton Employment Land Study was
                 completed in February 2005. Its main findings indicated that there will be a decreasing
                 requirement for manufacturing space of 18.7 hectares to 2016; a requirement for 4.5
                 hectares of land for office uses; no change from the existing provision for storage and
                 distribution uses; and a reduction of 2.7 hectares of land for construction uses.
                 Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council
                 The Crewe and Nantwich LP states that the Borough is one of the fastest growing areas of
                 the United Kingdom; and is forecast for substantial further population and employment
                 growth in the next 10 years. The LP states that the challenge for the Borough is to ensure
                 that the economy grows in balance with the projected increase in the population and
                 recognises that this will require the creation of a substantial number of new jobs.
                 Crewe and Nantwich’s Employment Land Availability Update 2007 indicates that almost all
                 of the local employment allocations within Crewe and Nantwich are now fully committed and
                 only 3.6ha of employment land is available on allocated employment sites. However, this
                 report also recognises that approximately 97.9ha of land remains at Basford West (55ha)
                 and Basford East (42.89), but as these are Regional Employment Sites these do not count
                 towards the required provision for the Borough. The Employment Land Availability Update
                 2007 notes that employment land provision includes a large number of unallocated sites
                 with 21.73ha of current commitments, 11.74ha of the land under construction and 0.32ha of
                 completions on unallocated sites.
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                 Macclesfield Borough Council
                 The latest Macclesfield AMR sets out the current supply of employment land, including
                 allocated sites, sites with planning permission and existing employment sites available for
                 redevelopment. A total of 76 ha is available, with the majority located in Macclesfield
                 (39.5ha), Knutsford (20ha) and Handforth (10.8 ha).
                 West Midlands
                 The draft WM RSS Phase 2 Revision aims to focus development in the Major Urban Areas
                 (MUA’s), including Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. However, it is recognised
                 that the existing supply of employment land in the MUAs does not cater for the whole needs
                 of industry and there are often long lead-in times to bring forward complex urban sites,
                 necessitating the need for investment in the MUAs. Policy PA6A states that LPAs should
                 make provision for a continuing five-year reservoir of readily available employment land
                 outside town centres and sets out figures for provision for each district/borough in the
                 region.
                 Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
                 The Staffs Moorlands LP aims to focus employment development in the main towns in the
                 District, with allocations focused on Biddulph and Cheadle. The draft WM RSS Phase Two
                 Revision indicates a rolling 5 year reservoir of 6ha in Staffordshire Moorlands with an
                 indicative long term requirement of 18ha over 20 years from 2006-2026. The Employment
                 Land Study recommends that the District Council plans for a range of sites to accommodate
                 different sized operations at different locations in terms of types (town centre, urban edge
                 etc), and in sub-areas of the District. The Staffs Moorlands AMR 2007 identifies 78ha of
                 available land, including a total of 18.1 ha at Biddulph 6.5ha at Cheadle and 4.1 ha at Leek.
                 Planning permission has also been granted for a 50 ha B1 employment site at Blythe Bridge
                 (Blythe Vale Premium Employment Site). This is considered to be strategic provision for
                 North Staffordshire rather than being specific to the Staffordshire Moorlands. The LP states
                 that Blythe Bridge site should seek to demonstrate a very high standard of building design
                 and generally be restricted to high quality B1 use development.
                 Stoke-on-Trent City Council
                 The draft WM RSS Phase 2 Revision indicates the need for a rolling 5 year reservoir of
                 55ha of employment land in Stoke-on-Trent, with an indicative long term requirement of
                 165ha over 20 years from 2006 - 2026. In contrast, the submission draft Stoke and
                 Newcastle CS identifies a current supply of 270 hectares in Stoke-on-Trent during the
                 period 2005 to 2021.
                 Stoke-on-Trent’s AMR 2007 indicates that the 157ha of employment land is available, which
                 is close to the total requirement set by the draft WM RSS Phase 2 Revision and the draft
                 CS. This total is therefore relatively large without allowing for further allocations or further
                 windfall development. The Stoke-on-Trent AMR (2007) shows that the majority of
                 employment completions and permissions over the last year have been for B8 warehousing
                 and distribution activity, a trend present for a number of years in Stoke. The AMR shows
                 that between 2001 and 2007 completions in Stoke-on-Trent comprised 18.05 ha of land for
                 B1 uses, 7.17 ha for B2 uses, 89.23 ha of B8 uses and 10.19 ha for mixed use.
                 The Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent Core Spatial Strategy – Submission draft
                 May 2008 (policy SP1) aims to prioritise employment sites that are convenient to, and
                 accessible by the residents of the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone. New
                 development will be prioritised in favour of previously developed land that can be accessed
                 by modes other than the private car.
                 The Core Strategy also supports the development of further and higher education sector
                 and training facilities to foster economic growth, particularly Keele University and
                 Staffordshire University.


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                 Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council
                 The draft WM RSS Phase 2 Revision indicates the need for a rolling 5 year reservoir of
                 28ha of employment land in Newcastle-under-Lyme, with an indicative long term
                 requirement of 84ha over 20 years from 2006-2026. However, the Newcastle-under-Lyme
                 and Stoke-on-Trent Core Spatial Strategy – Submission draft (May 2008) identifies a current
                 supply of 83 hectares (excluding the allocation at Chatterley Valley), with an adjusted long
                 term requirement (to 2026) of 112 hectares and thus concludes that a further 28 hectares of
                 employment land needs to be identified.
                 The Newcastle-under-Lyme LP allocates 6 employment sites located mostly in the north
                 east of the Council area around Knutton, Cross Heath and Chesterton. The main other
                 location of note is the Regional Employment Site at Chatterley, providing 40ha of land for
                 the region.
                 With regard to the type of development required, the Newcastle-under Lyme LP (policy E8)
                 seeks to ensure that development at Keele University and Keele Science Park is related to
                 academic functions; staff and student residences; and employment uses directly related to
                 or complementary to the University's core activities.
                 North Shropshire District Council
                 The draft WM RSS Phase 2 Revision indicates the need for a rolling 5 year reservoir of
                 22ha of employment land in North Shropshire, with an indicative long term requirement of
                 66ha over 20 years from 2006-2026.
                 The AMR (2007) indicates that although many of the employment sites allocated in the LP
                 are now completed or substantially complete, a total of 48.7ha of allocated employment land
                 remains available. However, it should be noted that land has been allocated for Ellesmere
                 Business Park (phase 2), but no planning application has been received by North
                 Shropshire District Council. The site north of A53 (Market Drayton) has been approved and
                 East of Tern Valley Business Park (Market Drayton) has had an outline planning application
                 approved.
                 The latest North Shropshire AMR sets shows that the majority of available employment land
                 is located in Market Drayton, Ellesmere and Whitchurch. The North Shropshire Employment
                 Land Review (ELR) recognises the general principle is to allocate land to the main towns in
                 rough proportion to their size; but initially making up for the shortage in Wem. Once this has
                 been achieved, the ELR advises expanding choice in Market and then Whitchurch. It is
                 these two towns that will remain the dominant economic centres, due to their proximity to
                 good motorway connections.
                 In terms of the type of employment land required, the ELR indicates that the district has an
                 insular property market, where industrial demand significantly outweighs the demand for
                 office development, and Whitchurch and Market Drayton dominate. There is a shortage of
                 employment land to meet needs up to 2021 (and 2026 the RSS timescale). The existing
                 land supply in terms of location, if not in terms of availability, is reasonably well suited to
                 need.

                 5.3         Conclusion

                 Employment policies at the regional level encourages LAs to consider the impacts of
                 employment allocations on other areas and set employment land targets to work towards an
                 integrated approach. However, as employment is dealt with in the draft WM RSS Phase
                 Two Revision and the NW RSS, these figures and policies have yet to filter down to affect
                 Local Plans and allocations. Further, the NW RSS does not currently break employment
                 land figures down by district/borough and Structure Plans are reaching the end of their life, it
                 is unclear whether these figures will translate into future LDFs without increased cross-
                 boundary working. As the NW RSS does not break employment land figures down by LA
                 area, it is also difficult to analyse whether LAs are meeting targets in the NW RSS. It is

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                 recognised that the imminent reorganisation of the Cheshire authorities will render most
                 employment land targets redundant as new target locations and figures are required
                 following boundary changes.
                 In comparison to housing where the recognition of the Housing Market Area encourages
                 consideration of cross-boundary impacts, there is comparatively little mention of the impact
                 of employment developments on neighbouring authority areas in Local Plans. The main
                 exception is the discussion of Regional Employment Sites, where it is recognised that there
                 are sites that cater for the needs of the region rather than just the LA area. Despite this,
                 there appears to be no consideration of how these sites might affect LAs across the West
                 Midlands/North West boundary and little discussion in local policies of how and who regional
                 sites would cater for (e.g. which other LA areas). However, in practice the approach taken
                 by Local Authorities can differ. For example, when Cheshire County Council were applying
                 for funding for the Basford East and West proposal from the Government Office North West
                 (GONW), the GONW consulted West Midland GO and local authorities within the area.




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       6         Transport
                 6.1         Introduction

                 The North West Regional Transport Strategy (RTS), which is contained within the NW RSS,
                 highlights the importance of a high quality transport system to deliver the social and
                 economic needs of the region. This is in light of the ever increasing number of cars on the
                 region’s roads. The RTS highlights that in the North West, the average person makes 672
                 journeys per year by car compared to just 63 per year by local bus and 27 per year by other
                 public transport. There is a similar pattern regarding commuting. 74% of commuters chose
                 to travel by private car; whereas only 8% chose the bus and 2% by heavy rail. With these
                 statistics in mind, the objectives in the RTS, amongst others, include:
                       o    Securing a shift towards the use of more sustainable modes of transport;
                       o    Improving surface access and interchange arrangements at the international,
                            national and regional gateways;
                       o    Reduce the adverse impacts of transport, in terms of safety hazards, climate
                            change, environmental degradation, residential amenity and social exclusion; and
                       o    Integrate the management and planning of transport systems.
                 This section examines the characteristics, issues and problems experienced by the
                 transport system in South Cheshire, through an examination of Regional Transport
                 Strategies, Local Transport Plans and various Transport Studies. In order to fully
                 understand the issues faced by the South Cheshire transport system and the wider area,
                 linkages to the surrounding areas, in particular to North Staffordshire and North Shropshire
                 and the consequent impacts are analysed as well as the transport issues that are present.
                 This section examines the existing transport networks serving the Study Area. Key themes
                 are discussed before finally determining the major issues that are faced by the transport
                 system in the Study Area today.

                 6.2         Existing Infrastructure

                 6.2.1     Highway Network
                 South Cheshire is served predominately by the M6. The M6 runs from north to south and
                 provides a highway connection from North Cheshire to South Cheshire to Stoke-on-Trent
                 and North Staffordshire. The M56 provides a west to east connection and links the M6 to
                 West Cheshire and Manchester. There is a network of trunk roads which provide a series of
                 connections on a more local scale. The A51 and the A500 both provides routes between
                 the Crewe and Nantwich area and Stoke-on-Trent. The A530 links Crewe and Nantwich
                 with North Cheshire and the A51 links West Cheshire with Crewe and Nantwich and North
                 Staffordshire.
                 Travel to work data from the 2001 census demonstrates that within the Study Area, there is
                 a higher than national average proportion of residents that travel to work by car. However,
                 as discussed later in this section, the road network experiences significant problems due to
                 congestion which is prevalent at peak times during the day.

                 6.2.2       Public Transport

                 Rail
                 The West Coast Mainline provides fast services linking Crewe, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent
                 and Wilmslow with destinations such as London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester.
                 Local services link Crewe with Sandbach, Holmes Chapel and destinations north to Alderley
                 Edge, Wilmslow and onwards to Manchester. There are also good local services to
                 destinations in North Wales such as Llandudno Junction and Colwyn Bay usually via

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                 Chester. To the south, there are services to Nantwich, Whitchurch, Wem and Shrewsbury
                 and to the east to Alsager and Stoke-on-Trent.
                 At present, the Crewe Rail Gateway project is seeking to better integrate the railway station
                 and rail services with the redevelopment of Crewe town centre. Network Rail are
                 investigating the option of relocating the station to Basford, but until a decision is reached on
                 this matter, the Crewe Rail Gateway project will continue to focus on the development of the
                 existing Crewe station.
                 North Staffordshire is also served by the West Coast Mainline from Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-
                 on-Trent station is also served by East Midlands Trains and Crosscountry Trains (linking it
                 to Congleton and Macclesfield) and the local stations of Kidsgrove, Longton, Longport and
                 Blythe Bridge by Central Trains. Northern Rail provides a service from Stoke-on-Trent to
                 Manchester, via Macclesfield. There are aspirations to redevelop Stoke Station within a five
                 year period, linked to regeneration plans within the city to provide a more attractive gateway
                 to both local and long distance destinations.
                 However, a number of the main settlements in the Study Area do not contain railway
                 stations, including Leek, Middlewich, Biddulph and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Many have a
                 poor frequency service, including, Longport (which only has an hourly service to Stoke) and
                 most of the North Staffordshire Conurbation. Even where rail access is available the
                 connectivity within the Study Area is poor as for example, there are no direct services from
                 Congleton to Crewe, Macclesfield to Crewe or Stoke to Sandbach.
                 Bus Travel
                 Reflecting the high proportion of residents that drive to work, bus and train patronage is
                 below the national average with the exception of bus journeys to work in Stoke-on-Trent.
                 However a strategy has been developed to improve cross boundary coach and bus travel by
                 authorities in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Telford.
                 Cheshire County Council was successful in winning Kickstart funding for investment in local
                 bus services. The Northwich – Winsford – Leighton Hospital – Crewe Corridor has
                 benefited from this funding. The bus network within North Staffordshire is focused upon
                 serving the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, from which a wide range of
                 destinations can be reached. However, the provision of services outside of the City Centre
                 is restricted and few destinations can be reached.
                 There is a similar situation with bus provision throughout the Study Area with the more rural
                 areas having poor public transport provision.
                 Cheshire County Council has undertaken a study reviewing the ‘Route and Branch’ bus
                 study in 2008 for each local authority in Cheshire. This study was in light of the ‘Route and
                 Branch’ paper which was developed in 2004. This comprised of a set of initiatives to
                 increase the effectiveness of the bus system and was implemented in Cheshire. Initiatives
                 included:
                                 o    Creation of a new understanding with bus operators with agreement to pool
                                      resources and share information;
                                 o    Devoting officer time to planning; and
                                 o    Engagement of the community within each district;

                 6.2.3      Pedestrian and Cycling Facilities
                 The number of people who cycle to work is below the national average, except in Crewe
                 and Nantwich which is actually above the national average by 4%. Examination of the Local
                 Transport Plans shows that cycling facilities need improvement in order for residents and
                 visitors to be encouraged to cycle. Earlier this year, Stoke-on-Trent was awarded Cycling
                 Demonstration City status. This award recognised the high proportion of cyclist within the


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                 area and awarded funding to improve the cycling facilities within Stoke-on-Trent and act as
                 a leading example to other areas within the Country.
                 The Study Area contains a number of SUSTRANS national cycle routes as well as local
                 cycle routes. Route 70 provides a route through Cheshire including South Cheshire, Route
                 75 provides a cycleway from Newport to Nantwich, Route 5 provides a cycle path through
                 Stoke-on-Trent and Route 31 provides a cycleway in North Shropshire from Oswestry to
                 Whitchurch.
                 In contrast, data from the 2001 Census indicates that throughout the Study Area walking to
                 work is either equal or higher than the national average. However, the majority of
                 pedestrian routes within the Study Area are below standard and there is concern that the
                 poor quality of routes will restrict the number of people that utilise them.

                 6.2.4      Airports
                 South Cheshire is served by a number of airports with Manchester Airport the primary
                 airport. However the Study Area is also served by Liverpool John Lennon, Birmingham
                 International and East Midlands Airports. Although there are good road links to the airports
                 from within the Study Area, these routes are often congested at peak times. This is
                 anticipated to worsen with the expected growth in air travel. There are a few regular direct
                 rail services from within the Study Area to the airports mentioned particularly the service
                 linking Birmingham International Airport with Crewe. There is a regular rail service from
                 Crewe to Manchester Airport and an hourly service to Liverpool South Parkway which acts
                 as an interchange for Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

                 6.2.5     Freight
                 Throughout both the North West and the West Midlands, freight accounts for an extremely
                 large proportion of traffic on the highway network. Up to 96% of all goods moved within the
                 North West are carried on the highway network. However, very little is moved by other
                 modes of transport. A small proportion is moved by rail and a disused line between Stoke-
                 on-Trent and Leek has been protected under development plans with the potential to restore
                 and operate it as a passenger line or a freight line or both.

                 6.2.6       Major Proposals

                 Basford Regional Investment Sites
                 An outline planning application was submitted to Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council
                 regarding the Basford West development which comprises of 5,646 sqm of B1, 18, 580 sqm
                 of B2 and 120,770sqm of B8 land use. The application also shows the creation of a new
                 link road through the site from the A500 to the B5071.
                                                                                        2
                 Within the December 2007 Strategic Consultation Response Report is a Transport
                 Implications Report associated with the Basford West site. Key conclusions drawn from the
                 report include:
                                 o    The Basford West proposals would have a material impact on the strategic
                                      and local road network; and
                                 o    The A500 Barthomley Link is already operating at capacity and therefore
                                      any additional traffic will cause congestion.
                 In order to address the current and potential future traffic problems, a number of highway
                 improvements have been proposed including improvements to the A500 Barthomley Link
                 from Crewe to the M6 And the Crewe Green Link Road South which will enhance the
                 improvements on the A500.


2
 Basford Regional Investment Sites: Strategic Consultation Response for the Basford West Outline
Planning Application, Appendix 2 Report of the County engineer, December 2007 Cheshire County
Council.
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                   Highway Improvements
                   There are a number of improvements proposed for the M6 corridor, including the schemes
                   described above and the A54 from Winsford to the M6.
                   All these schemes are critical for the development of the Basford employment sites and are
                   proposed to relieve some of congestion on the primary routes serving the area.
                   There are two schemes which are outside of the Study Area, but will have an impact on the
                   highway network within the area. They are the A5 dualling and the M54 – M6/M6 Toll Link
                   which are set, in their own respective way, to ease problems such as congestion on the
                   strategic and local road network.

                   6.3          Travel to work data

                   Using 2001 Census data, the mode of transport used to travel to work and the destinations
                   of the journey have been identified. Travel to work data for the Local Authority areas of
                   Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton, Macclesfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-On-Trent,
                   Staffordshire Moorlands and North Shropshire are examined. The data was used to identify
                   the modes of transport used to travel to work and the destinations of these journeys for all
                   persons aged 16 to 74 who are in employment and tables detailing this data are included in
                   the baseline report. Table 6.1 summarises the data on travel to work patterns and the
                   percentage of residents that work from home.

                   Table 6.1 Commuter flows and Home Working Patterns within the Study Area
                                                                                                     Newcastle-under-




                                                                                                                                                                                        North Shropshire




                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Work from home
                           To
                                                                                                                               Stoke-on-Trent




                                                                                                                                                       Staffordshire
                                                                            Macclesfield




                                                                                                                                                                       Moorlands
                                  Crewe and




                                                         Congleton
                                              Nantwich




                                                                                                                        Lyme




From




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (%)
Crewe and Nantwich                            72%                     6%                    2%                            2%                     2%                      < 1%           1%                                               10%

Congleton                                         9%                 47%                   12%                            5%                     6%                                1%   < 1%                                             11%

Macclesfield                                  < 1%                    1%                   63%                          < 1%                    < 1%                     < 1%           < 1%                                             12%

Newcastle-under-Lyme                              3%                  3%                    1%                          50%                     31%                                2%   1%                                                    8%

Stoke-on-Trent                                    1%                  1%                   < 1%                         10%                     73%                                5%   < 1%                                                  7%

Staffordshire Moorlands                           1%                  4%                    3%                            5%                    22%                         52%         < 1%                                             11%

North Shropshire                                  2%                 < 1%                  < 1%                           1%                     1%                      < 1%           63%                                              15%

                   Source: 2001 Census Data/NOMIS

                   6.3.1     Crewe and Nantwich
                   In 2001, 37,202 of the working age residents of Crewe and Nantwich work within the district,
                   representing some 72% of the total and indicating a high level of ‘self-containment’. Some
                   10% of the working residents of Crewe and Nantwich work mainly from home.
                   For those residents of Crewe and Nantwich who do not work in the district, Congleton and
                   Vale Royal are the two most popular areas for residents to commute to, with 6% and 4%
                   respectively of working residents travelling to these areas. There are also a significant
                   number of people (over 1,000) who travel to Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent (1,222)
                   and Greater Manchester (1,407). Fewer than 450 people within the study area travel into
                   North Shropshire to work, while very few travel to Staffordshire Moorlands and Chester.
                   Excluding those people who work at home, in terms of the mode of transport used to get to
                   and from work, people who live and work in Crewe and Nantwich predominately use a
                   private vehicle (61%). In comparison public transport use is low (3%) whereas cycling (9%)
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                 and walking (12%) to work is relatively high. Overall public transport use to travel to other
                 areas of work is low, although the proportion does tend to increase for more distant
                 locations with good rail links.

                 6.3.2      Congleton
                 47% (20,815) of people working in Congleton actually live in Congleton, which is the lowest
                 level of self-containment seen in the Study Area and confirms Congleton’s position as a
                 source of labour for other areas. Some 11% of the working residents of Congleton work
                 mainly from home. The most popular travel flows from Congleton is to the neighbouring
                 borough of Macclesfield (12%), demonstrating significant interactions in labour markets
                 between the two boroughs. However, there are also substantial (over 2,000) flows of
                 people to Crewe and Nantwich, Stoke-on-Trent, Vale Royal and Greater Manchester. In
                 total some 10% of the working population of Congleton travel to employment in the West
                 Midlands part of the wider Study Area.
                 Overall, public transport use is low, even for people who live and work within the borough,
                 although just below 20% of those working in the borough walk or cycle to work. However, in
                 general private vehicle use is the most predominant mode of transport to work for residents
                 of Congleton.

                 6.3.3    Macclesfield
                 Over 60% of the working residents of Macclesfield work in the borough, with 12% of the total
                 working mainly from home.
                 The main destination for work for people that live in Macclesfield is the neighbouring area of
                 Greater Manchester with nearly 20,000 people travelling there. This reflects the status of
                 Greater Manchester as a major conurbation, with the proliferation of professional jobs within
                 the city centre in particular acting as a major draw. The next most popular area to work is
                 Warrington, but this draws just over 1,000 people. Around 1% of the working residents of
                 Macclesfield travel into Congleton, but less than 1% travel to any of the other wider Study
                 Area authorities.
                 In terms of travelling to work, only 4% of people who live and work in Macclesfield travel to
                 work using public transport. However, a high proportion of people, 14% walk to work. In
                 contrast, while 90% of people that travel from Macclesfield to Greater Manchester travel by
                 private vehicle, some 9% do travel by public transport. Overall however, public transport use
                 is low and the majority of journeys to work are conducted by private vehicle.

                 6.3.4       Newcastle-under-Lyme
                 50% of the 54,892 working residents of Newcastle-under-Lyme work within the borough. Of
                 the total, just over 4,500 (or 8%) work mainly from home. A significant number of people
                 (just over 16,000 or 31%) travel to Stoke-on- Trent, with 86% of the people travelling there
                 by private vehicle, Stoke being the most significant employment centre in the area.
                 However, there are also substantial flows (over 1,500) of people to the neighbouring areas
                 of Crewe and Nantwich, Congleton and Stafford. A smaller proportion of people also travel
                 to Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham.
                 Again, public transport use is low, with the majority of people travelling to work via a private
                 vehicle. However 16% of people who live and work in Newcastle-under-Lyme walk to work,
                 but only just over 1% of people cycle.

                 6.3.5     Stoke-on-Trent
                 73% (71,678) of the working residents of Stoke-on-Trent work within the city indicating a
                 high level of ‘self-containment’. Of these 6,535, or 7%, work mainly from home.
                 Beyond the city itself, the two dominant work destinations for people from Stoke-on-Trent
                 are the neighbouring areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme (10%) and Stafford (5%). Around 1%
                 of Stoke-on-Trent’s residents travel to Crewe and Nantwich (1,105) and Congleton (1,338),
                 while fewer than 350 travel into Macclesfield.
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                 As is the case in the other local authority areas in the Study Area, the use of public transport
                 compared to the use of private vehicles is very low. For people who live and work in Stoke,
                 only 12% travel by public transport, 2% cycle to work and 15% walk to work while the
                 remaining 62% of the working population use a private vehicle to reach their destination. For
                 travel outside the city area, the use of private vehicles is even more prominent.

                 6.3.6    Staffordshire Moorlands
                 52% of the 45,573 working residents of Staffordshire Moorlands work within the district.
                 Around 11% (5,138) work mainly from home.
                 For those residents that travel outside the district to work, Stoke-on-Trent is the main
                 destination (22%). However there are significant proportion of people travelling to Congleton
                 (4%), Macclesfield (3%), Newcastle-under-Lyme (5%), East Staffordshire (3%), Stafford
                 (4%) and Derbyshire (2%).
                 In terms of the mode of travel to work, a similar pattern to the other areas is found here, but
                 public transport use is particularly low and most journeys are made via a private vehicle,
                 reflecting the rural nature of much of the district. Nevertheless, 17% of people who live and
                 work in Staffordshire Moorlands walk to work.

                 6.3.7     North Shropshire
                 In North Shropshire of the 63% of the 26,776 working residents of work within the district.
                 15% (3,988) of this total work mainly from home; the highest proportion of home based
                 working of the wider Study Area authorities and almost double the levels found in the more
                 urban parts in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
                 North Shropshire’s travel to work patterns are strongly influenced by journeys within the
                 county as a whole with the highest flows of people working within the neighbouring areas of
                 Shrewsbury and Atcham (10%) and Telford and Wrekin (7%), with smaller proportions of
                 people travelling to Crewe and Nantwich (2%) and Wales (3%). Very few people travel from
                 North Shropshire to the other West Midlands Study Area authorities, and there are almost
                 negligible flows evident to Congleton and Macclesfield.
                 Only 2% of the residents of North Shropshire use public transport to get to work within North
                 Shropshire, and there is a similar pattern for journeys to other destinations. However, for
                 journeys within the district around 22% are made by foot or by bicycle. Car use is the
                 predominant mode of transport for journeys to work outside the district and reflecting in part
                 the poor public transport network. Generally, the use of all modes of transport apart from
                 private vehicles is low.

                 6.3.8      Future Travel to Work Patterns
                 In line with housing market and the economy, travel to work patterns could change. As
                 house prices increase in the urban areas of Manchester, Birmingham and to a lesser extent
                 Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe and Nantwich, people may move towards the more rural parts of
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Staffordshire and North Shropshire and commute. This will
                 be further enhanced by the redeveloped Crewe Station. However, such changes are also
                 dependant on house price trends.
                 Discussions with officers from Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Crewe and Nantwich
                 Borough Council indicates that there will be a move to locate employment areas more
                 towards the city centre of areas to improve accessibility. This is reinforced by PD1 of the
                 draft North West RSS which advocates the location of employment land in regional centres,
                 towns and cities. This will see a reversal in patterns as people will move towards the centre
                 of an area like Stoke-on-Trent or Crewe and Nantwich for work instead of travelling away
                 from the city centre to outlying employment areas. Due to the accessibility of the city centre,
                 more employees may be encouraged to travel to work by a more sustainable mode of
                 transport thus reducing the pressure on the local highway network.


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                 6.4         Modes of Travelling to Work

                 In terms of the mode of travel, it is evident that within the areas studied, the private vehicle
                 is the dominant mode of transport. Walking to work is a relatively common mode for people
                 who live and work in the same area, although understandably these trips are normally
                 associated with travelling for short distances.
                 The number of journeys completed by public transport is low considering that the majority of
                 people are either employed in the borough they live or are employed in the neighbouring
                 borough. A possible reason for this may be that the public transport system does not
                 adequately serve the needs of the public either within the borough or for cross boundary
                 movements. The more rural areas within Staffordshire Moorlands and North Shropshire in
                 particular will not have well developed public transport services, which may indicate why
                 patronage levels are low. In comparison, conclusions drawn from discussions with Local
                 Authority transport officers and the review of some Transport Assessments such as the
                 Basford West proposal found that the more developed areas experience a noticeable level
                 of congestion. In areas such as Congleton, Crewe and Nantwich and Stoke-on-Trent, this
                 congestion may lead to reliability issues with public transport which deters people from
                 using it and contributes to a preference to travelling to work by car.

                 6.5         Major Issues

                 Through the documentation reviewed and the analysis of the key themes above, a number
                 of major transport issues can be identified that are affecting South Cheshire and the links to
                 the surrounding areas.

                 6.5.1      Poor Connectivity of the Study Area
                 The majority of routes, both on the highway network and on the rail network are
                 predominately east to west, with the main exceptions being the M6 and the West Coast
                 mainline. This leads to a reduction in connectivity north to south of the Study Area and the
                 possible isolation of some areas as a consequence of the highway or rail network layout.
                 The reliance on the M6 as the predominant north–south route and the high volume of traffic
                 using it creates problems such as congestion on the motorway but also on the surrounding
                 highway network as traffic will sometimes displace onto the trunk roads to avoid problems
                 on the M6.

                 6.5.2    Congestion
                 Through a number of discussions with Local Authority representatives, it was determined
                 that congestion is a major problem for South Cheshire area and the more urban surrounding
                 areas. Traffic exceeding capacity on the highway network is leading to increased journey
                 times and accidents on the roads.
                 This is also true on the rail network. The West Coast Main Line experiences peak time
                 loading and consequently trains are running above capacity. The services most affected
                 are commuter services to Manchester, and also services running into London.
                 Nevertheless, the proposed redevelopment of Stoke station, Crewe station and the
                 aspiration to reopen Middlewich station will provide a more attractive travelling experience
                 and encourage more people onto trains. This has the potential to ease congestion on the
                 highway network as more people use the rail network. However this may have implications
                 for a rail network that is already operating at or near capacity.
                 The congestion on both the rail and the highway networks has a negative impact on the
                 local economy and this will continue if congestion is not addressed. If an area is difficult to
                 reach because of unreliable public transport or unreliable journey times due to congestion,
                 businesses will not seek to locate and invest in the area, due to the difficulty in attracting
                 customers and suppliers. Similarly if an area is difficult to reach people will not choose to
                 visit and recreational, shopping and business activities will be carried out in other areas
                 which will benefit from the revenue. The situation is similar for the bus system as congestion
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                 affects the services and people are unwilling to use an unreliable service. The promotion of
                 sustainable public transport is extremely important in order to reduce congestion and
                 improve accessibility.
                 In terms of the future, there are no specific improvements for the local and strategic road
                 network that are definitely going ahead. However there are a number of schemes such as
                 improvements to the M6 through the A500 Barthomely Link, the Crewe Green Link South
                 and various initiates that are being trialled along parts of the M6. Demand Management
                 Strategies that are being trialled along the M6 include Hard Shoulder Running and a toll. If
                 these initiatives successfully reduce congestion on the motorway they could be rolled out
                 across the country. . This will continue to have significant implications for connectivity
                 across the Study Area. The congested highway network will increase journey time for
                 employees and lead to unpredictably for arrival times which will have implications for
                 employers and businesses. However, the more rural areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme and
                 North Shropshire Districts have a less congested highway network which is currently
                 operating under capacity. Even with an increase in the number of cars on the road in rural
                 areas, the highway network should still operate efficiently.

                 6.5.3     Poor Accessibility
                 The Study Area, in parts, is characterised by poor accessibility to services, employment
                 sites by public transport.
                 The provision of public transport services between the more populated centres of South
                 Cheshire and the wider Study Area is good; however outer areas experience a lack of
                 reliable services and a choice of destinations. This situation is similar regarding access to
                 employment sites. Employment areas within town centres are relatively accessible;
                 employment sites outside of the city centre are often inaccessible by reliable public transport
                 services. For this reason, Stoke-On-Trent and Crewe and Nantwich have expressed a need
                 for employment areas to be located within the City Centre as apposed to out of town areas
                 which is increasingly the norm. This will enable access for all via public transport to the
                 areas of employment.
                 Poor accessibility to reliable public transport services isolates residents and workers as they
                 are unable to reach employment sites and key services. This is evident in the more rural
                 areas such as Staffordshire Moorlands and North Shropshire which have a very poor public
                 transport network in comparison to the more urbanised parts of the Study Area.

                 6.6         Future Transport Implications

                 6.6.1     Future Growth
                 Future growth rates for transport can be identified using two methods: the programme
                                                                            3
                 TEMPRO or the National Road Traffic Forecasts (NRTF) . However, these growth rates are
                 predictions and as such will provide an indication of the possible future transport provision
                 within the Study Area based on current trends.
                 The growth rates are also closely linked with section 5 of this report which identifies the
                 strategic directions for growth of the Study Area.
                 It should also be noted that these predictions do not take into consideration any fluctuations
                 in economic markets. For example, the rising cost of fuel prices can have a positive impact
                 on congestion in the sense that people may find it more financially viable to travel on public
                 transport compared to travelling by car.

                 6.6.2    National Road Traffic Forecasts
                 These data demonstrate growth on a national scale and do not look specifically at regional
                 levels. However, the data demonstrate that by 2026 there is expected to be a 3.07%

3
 Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, National Road Traffic Forecasts (Great
Britain) 1997.
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                 increase in the number of cars on the nation’s roads and this will increase by 3.20% by
                 2032. Total traffic will have increased by 3.58% by 2026 and by 3.71% by 2032. It should
                 be noted that NRTF data only covers the period up to 2031and therefore the data has been
                 extrapolated to provide a growth rate for 2032.
                 These figures give an indication of the national picture; the TEMPRO data is able to provide
                 a more area specific insight.

                 6.6.3       TEMPRO data
                 TEMPRO, the Trip End Model Presentation Program, is designed to allow detailed analysis
                 of trips, journey mileage, car ownership and population/workforce planning data. The trip
                 data is derived from a series of models developed and run by the ITEA division of DfT.
                 TEMPRO has been in existence for several years and the current version (Version 5) is
                 multi-modal, providing data on trips on foot, by bicycle, motor vehicle (both as a driver and
                 passenger) by rail and by bus.
                 The Planning Data allows examination of the distribution of households, population,
                 workforce and jobs across Great Britain. In the current set of planning data (issued in
                 October 2006), policy-based forecasts of dwellings in future years replaced the previous
                 trend-based approach. The policy-based approach involved consultation with each of the
                 eleven Regional Planning Bodies in Great Britain, which cover Wales, Scotland and the
                 Government Office Regions in England. The policy-based data made use of information
                 provided in the latest planning documents and preparation for Regional Spatial Strategies
                 available at that time. This is intended to produce future year planning forecast based on
                 expected realistic development plans.
                 Journey Growth to 2026 and 2032
                 The TEMPRO data used in this section demonstrates traffic growth by area and by mode.
                 The data reflect the impact of planning policy, although will not yet reflect changes set out in
                 the latest draft RSS documents thus is only provided as a guide to what could possibly be
                 expected.
                 The data below has a base year of 2008 and the percentage denotes the average annual
                 growth increase up to either 2026 or 2032
                 In this section, only car use, bus/coach patronage and cycling are discussed. It should also
                 be noted that data does not take into account any proposed major developments such as at
                 Basford.
                 Car
                 Table 6.1 Car Journey Growth by 2026
                  Area                                 Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                         1.08
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                1.12
                  MACCLESFIELD                                      1.09
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                              1.08
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                  1.12
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                           1.08
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                    1.09

                 Table 6.2 Car Journey Growth by 2032
                  Area                                  Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                          1.09
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                 1.14
                  MACCLESFIELD                                       1.10
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                               1.09
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                   1.15
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                            1.09
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                     1.11


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                 In general, there will be an increase in car use within the Study Area. Crewe and Nantwich,
                 North Shropshire and Stoke-on-Trent all present the largest increases with the more rural
                 areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands demonstrating the lowest
                 increase in car use which may possibly be due to the rural location, the lower population
                 levels and the possibility that existing car use is high and therefore does not demonstrate
                 the same level of growth in areas with lower car use..
                 Bus/Coach
                 Table 6.3 Bus/Coach Journey Growth by 2026
                  Area                                 Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                         0.98
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                0.98
                  MACCLESFIELD                                      0.96
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                              0.86
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                  1.02
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                           0.88
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                    0.85

                 Table 6.4 Bus/Coach Journey Growth by 2032
                  Area                                  Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                          0.99
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                 0.99
                  MACCLESFIELD                                       0.95
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                               0.83
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                   1.01
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                            0.85
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                     0.81

                 Bus/coach patronage is set to increase up to 2032, but at a lower rate than car use. North
                 Shropshire will demonstrate the highest level increase at slightly over 1%. Congleton,
                 Crewe and Nantwich and Macclesfield are predicted to increase by just less than 1%. The
                 more rural areas of Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands have a lower level
                 of increase maybe due to the poor services which already exist within the area. Stoke-on-
                 Trent is predicted to have the lowest increase in bus patronage.
                 Cycling
                 Table 6.5 Cycle Journey Growth by 2026
                  Area                                 Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                         1.00
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                1.00
                  MACCLESFIELD                                      0.98
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                              0.91
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                  1.01
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                           0.92
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                    0.90

                 Table 6.6 Cycle Journey Growth by 2032
                  Area                                  Growth Factor %
                  CONGLETON                                          1.00
                  CREWE AND NANTWICH                                 1.00
                  MACCLESFIELD                                       0.98
                  NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME                               0.88
                  NORTH SHROPSHIRE                                   1.01
                  STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS                            0.90
                  STOKE-ON-TRENT                                     0.87

                 The highest predicted level of increase in cycling is set to be in Congleton, Crewe and
                 Nantwich and North Shropshire and the lowest level being predicted in Stoke-on-Trent.
                 However, the growth rates are, apart from in Stoke-on-Trent, quite similar. This may not be
                 a true reflection in future growth though as Stoke-on-Trent have just been awarded the
                 Cycle Demonstration Town status. This would suggest that Stoke-on-Trent has or will have
                 a greater level of growth in the number of people cycling than predicted.
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                 6.7         Conclusions

                 It is evident from the analysis above and tables within the baseline report that there are
                 significant travel to work flows across local authority boundaries. Although the largest
                 proportion of people tend to work in the borough they live, there is still a substantial amount
                 of people that cross Local Authority boundaries to reach their place of work, particularly from
                 boroughs where there are strong “attractor” urban labour markets within the neighbouring
                 areas.
                 In general, for those people who do travel out of the area, they tend to travel to work within
                 neighbouring authorities and so the journey is not all that far. However, there are people
                 that travel greater distances to the likes of Greater Manchester, Greater Birmingham and
                 Merseyside. This will reflect the availability of a greater choice of work and the incidence of
                 high paying professional sector jobs, not found within the area, but which can be found in
                 the larger cities.
                 Within our wider Study Area there are clearly relationships in travel movements between the
                 following local authority areas:
                 •     Crewe and Nantwich with Congleton, and to a lesser extent with Macclesfield,
                       Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent;

                 •     Congleton with Crewe and Nantwich, Macclesfield, Stoke-on-Trent and to a lesser
                       extent with Newcastle-under-Lyme;

                 •     Newcastle-under-Lyme with Stoke-on-Trent and to a much lesser extent with Crewe and
                       Nantwich and Congleton;

                 •     Stoke-on-Trent with Newcastle-under-Lyme and to a much lesser extent with
                       Staffordshire Moorlands;

                 •     Staffordshire Moorlands with Stoke-on-Trent, and to a much lesser extent with
                       Newcastle-under-Lyme, Macclesfield and Congleton; and
                 •     North Shropshire with Crewe and Nantwich to a very limited extent.

                 At the time of the Census, the only significant cross-regional flow in terms of commuting (i.e.
                 more than 2,000 movements) is between Congleton and Stoke-on-Trent. However, it has
                 been suggested that the impact of house price increases in the intervening period may have
                 led to changes to the established patterns. There has also been a substantial growth in jobs
                 in Crewe and Nantwich, which is likely to have affected travel to work patterns. While it is
                 difficult to confirm this prior to the new census data being available, further local studies in
                 the interim may demonstrate this change.
                 In general, the transport situation for the future for the Study Area is to follow current trends.
                        o    The highway network will continue to operate at or over capacity for significant
                             parts of the working day although if implemented, the proposed highway
                             improvements could reduce the pressure on the network; and
                        o    Current passenger capacity on the West Coast Mainline will be exceeded.
                 However, there is a possibility that the congestion on the highway network could in fact
                 create a reversal of trend. Commuters may choose a different mode to travel to work in
                 order to avoid the congestion, which could reduce the pressure on the roads.




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       7         Environment
                 7.1         Introduction

                 The environmental assets of the South Cheshire Sub Region offer constraints and
                 opportunities for development. This section aims to outline some of these assets as well as
                 implications for development, through existing document review.
                 The RSS contains specific policies on protection and enhancement of environmental assets
                 which will be of relevance for this study, specifically:
                 •     Policy DP 7 Promote Environmental Quality
                 •     Policy RDF 4 Green Belts

                 •     Policy EM 1 Integrated Enhancement and Protection of the Region’s Environmental
                       Assets

                 •     Policy EM 2 Remediating Contaminated Land
                 •     Policy EM 3 Green Infrastructure
                 •     Policy EM 5 Integrated Water Management
                 •     Policy MCR 4 South Cheshire

                 Extensive review of these policies and their potential impacts has taken place through
                 Appropriate Assessment (in line with Habitat Regulations) and extensive Sustainability
                 Appraisal. Specific sensitivities and impacts have been flagged up in this section where
                 appropriate.
                                                            4
                 Within the sustainability appraisal of the RSS it is recommended that policy EM 1 be
                 implemented in parallel and with equal importance, with growth policies and the sub-
                 regional agenda. The main areas considered in this chapter relate to landscape, hydrology
                 and ecological issues which need to be considered in the South Cheshire sub-region.

                 7.2         The Study Area Environment

                 7.2.1     Landscape Assessment
                 The landscape of the study area generally comprises attractive countryside of farmland,
                 hedgerows and woodland blocks of varying scale, and watercourses, punctuated by
                 localised urban areas and industrial activity. This characteristically English environment
                 contains its own distinctive elements such as salt mining flashes, canals and mill buildings,
                 and is a valuable natural asset.
                 The study area lies predominantly within Natural England Landscape Character Areas 61
                 and 62, namely:
                 •     Character Area 61; The Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire Plain

                 •     Character Area 62; Cheshire Sandstone Ridge.
                 The Shropshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire Plain extend to the Mersey Valley in the north
                 and the Shropshire Hills in the south. The hills at the England/Wales border exist to the
                 west, the Pennine foothills in the north-east and east and in the south-east the developed
                 areas of Potteries, Needwood and Cannock Chase. The Cheshire Sandstone Ridge runs
                 north-south across the plain in the north-west, between Northwich in the north and the
                 village of Malpas in the south.



4
 “SA Statement for the North West Regional Spatial Strategy” (2008) available at
http://www.gos.gov.uk/gonw/Planning/RegionalPlanning/
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                 The landscape is for the most part low lying and gently rolling with gentle changes in
                 elevation between 20m and 50m however there are a number of sandstone ridges which
                 rise up from the plain, the most prominent being the Cheshire Sandstone Ridge. They form
                 points from where one can obtain long views of the plain.
                                                                          5
                 Concerns were raised during the sustainability appraisal of the North West RSS over the
                 percentage of housing in South Cheshire likely on greenfield land, and the associated
                 potential negative impacts on the landscape. In order to minimise this impact, urban sprawl
                 needs to be minimised and brownfield previously developed land needs to be the priority for
                 new developments.

                 7.2.2    Rivers and Watercourses
                 The main river valleys influencing the study area are the Dane and the Weaver Valleys with
                 some influence from Wych Brook in the south west. The area also has a complex system of
                 brooks which drain into the larger rivers.
                 Canals are another characteristic feature of South Cheshire and surrounding area. They
                 were heavily relied upon during the industrial revolution and are now used primarily for
                 recreation and leisure purposes. Specifically the canals in the area include:
                 •     The Trent and Mersey Canal, flowing north-south between Stoke-on-Trent and
                       Middlewich

                 •     The Macclesfield Canal, which runs north-south in the east from Macclesfield, through
                       Congleton and on to Stoke-on-Trent

                 •     The Shropshire Union Canal, which runs north-south in the west between Nantwich and
                       Market Drayton

                 •     The Llangollen Canal which runs between Nantwich and Whitchurch in the south west.

                 7.3         Green Belt

                 Green Belt land as designated in the local authority plans is present throughout the Study
                 Area. The RSS for the North West states that overall the general extent of the Region’s
                 Green Belt will be maintained with Cheshire’s Green Belt subject to review in 2011. The
                 RSS for the North West states that the overall general extent of the Region’s Green Belt will
                 be maintained. Policy RDF4 identifies that post 2011, the Regional Planning Body, along
                 with relevant stakeholders, will investigate both the need for change and options for
                 implementation with regard to the Green Belt in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside
                 and Lancashire.
                 All District or Borough authorities except North Shropshire have some designated Green
                 Belt land which may affect development plans and policies within the Study Area. The area
                 of Green Belt within South Cheshire is in effect part of the North Staffordshire Green Belt
                 (RSS).
                 To the north there is a band of Green Belt land extending from Chester to Northwich, to
                 Knutsford then on to Macclesfield. The built up areas of Northwich, Knutsford and
                 Macclesfield are excluded from this Green Belt. The A54 forms part of the southern
                 boundary of the Green Belt to the North West, up to Northwich, where the boundary
                 becomes less well defined towards Macclesfield.
                 Congleton BC has a large area of Green Belt to the south between Congleton and Alsager,
                 bisected by the A34, and includes Astbury, Brownlow Heath, Scholar Green, Hassall Green
                 and Smallwood. To the east of Congleton is an area of Green Belt encompassing the
                 villages of Key Green and Timbersbrook. Crewe and Nantwich has an area designated on
                 the border of Cheshire and Staffordshire which includes the village of Barthomley.
5
 “SA Statement for the North West Regional Spatial Strategy” (2008) available at
http://www.gos.gov.uk/gonw/Planning/RegionalPlanning/
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                 Green Belt is present around the administrative boundary of Stoke-on-Trent at a distance of
                 approximately 5-7km in all directions excluding the more built up areas such as Newcastle-
                 under-Lyme, Biddulph, Kidsgrove, Audley, Blythe Bridge and Werrington.
                 Whilst impact and development on Green Belt is discouraged, accessibility to this
                 environmental asset should be encouraged for the associated health and well-being effects.

                 7.4         Flood Risk

                 It should be noted that Environment Agency flood risk mapping only illustrates fluvial flood
                 risk from rivers and sea, and not risks from pluvial (rainfall) flood risk. There is also no
                 account of non-permeable surfaces which may exacerbate flood risk from increase rainfall
                 resulting from climate change. All authorities in the Study Area except Stoke-on-Trent and
                 Newcastle-under-Lyme have recent Strategic Flood Risk Assessments available.

                 7.5         Designations and Environmental Constraints

                 A number of sites across the Study Area have been awarded various environmental
                 designations. Many of these sites add significant unique value to areas in ecological,
                 cultural and visual terms. However these sites, and their various designations (from local to
                 international levels), may act as a constraint on any future developments. This section
                 describes an overview of the major environmental constraints and designation, which may
                 impact upon development policies, plans and programmes.

                 7.5.1       Ecologically Valued Sites

                 Ramsar Sites
                 Ramsar sites are designated under the internationally significant ‘Convention on Wetlands
                 of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’ (1971, ratified by the UK in
                 1976). They are of international importance and are designated to halt the destruction and
                 hence promote the conservation of, wetland sites which are considered important for birds.
                 In the UK there are currently 66 Ramsar sites covering 317,212 hectares of land (JNCC).
                 Within the Study Area, there are a number of Ramsar designations. These designations
                 collectively form the ‘Midland Meres and Mosses’ Ramsar site. The site is split into two
                 parts, Midland Meres and Mosses phase 1 (16 sites) and phase 2 (18 sites). Meres are
                 open water bodies formed from glacial drift deposits; they are nutrient rich with associated
                 important habitats (reed swamps, fen, carr and damp pasture) on their margins. Mosses are
                 nutrient poor peat bogs often forming in the fringes of meres or completely infilling basins
                 (JNCC). A list of the Ramsar sites can be found in the baseline report.
                 Possible impacts to Ramsar sites which have been highlighted in previous studies, namely
                                            6
                 the Appropriate Assessment for the RSS relate to the following:
                       •    Risk to Midland Meres and Mosses Phase 1 from the 8,100 new homes planned for
                            Crewe and Nantwich and concurrent improved links with West Cheshire and
                            Manchester. Impacts could arise from water abstraction and air quality.
                       •    Risk to Midland Meres and Mosses Phase 1from any improvement works to the
                            A556 and A50
                       •    Risk to Midland Meres and Mosses Phase 2 from any hydrological and water quality
                            changes at Oak Mere (east of Chester) resulting from improvement works to the
                            A556 or A54.




6
 “Habitats Regulations Assessment of the North West Regional Spatial Strategy” (2008) available at
http://www.gos.gov.uk/gonw/Planning/RegionalPlanning/
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                 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
                 SSSIs are designated under the UK Wildlife and Country Act (1981). There is much
                 guidance from government and other organisations on their protection. In terms of planning
                 policy, PPS 9 on Biodiversity and Geological Conservation covers SSSIs. It is an offence to
                 carry out potentially damaging operations on a SSSI without Natural England’s consent or a
                 “reasonable excuse” – each SSSI notification contains a list of potentially damaging
                 operations. An example of the types of impacts which need due consideration around a
                 SSSI, is highlighted in the RSS Appropriate Assessment where it states that Tatton Mere
                 SSSI (near Knutsford) lies adjacent to the railway line and is therefore at risk from works to
                 the railway.
                 Within the Study Area, many of the meres and mosses described above also have SSSI
                 status. The SSSI sites, as identified on the government’s MAGIC web-based interactive
                 mapping are outline in a table in the baseline report.


                 Figure 7.1: Protected Areas (SACs, RAMSAR, SSSIs) in the Study Area




                 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
                 These are designations stemming from EC Habitats Directive. SACs are designations that
                 have been adopted by the European Commission and formally designated by the UK
                 government. There are three SACs in the South Cheshire Study Area and these are
                 summarised in the baseline report.
                 Where any future development plans, policies and programmes are deemed to have a
                 potential impact upon SACs, local authorities will require Appropriate Assessment to ensure
                 impact is avoided and where necessary mitigated against. Within the Appropriate
                 Assessment of the North West’s RSS potential impacts to the West Midlands Mosses SAC
                 are identified, resulting from the 8,100 new homes planned for Crewe and Nantwich and any
                 improved links with West Cheshire and Manchester.
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                 7.6         Sensitive Landscapes

                 7.6.1       Conservation of Environmental Assets

                 Ecological Sites
                 There are a number of important sites throughout the Study Area which warrant
                 conservation because of their contribution to environmental, social and economic aspects in
                 South Cheshire and the wider area. Where possible these sites should be enhanced and
                 added to in order to adhere to national, European and international legislation and
                 conventions. Where information is sparse, unknown or out of date, it may be necessary to
                 carry out further studies and survey work on the site to assess importance and significance
                 of impacts.
                 The Ecological Network for Cheshire is the only project of its kind in the UK, and one of only
                 four throughout Europe. This flagship work on environmental improvement and
                 enhancement suggests that there should be early consideration of any future development
                 policies, plans and programmes. It provides high quality baseline information on ecological
                 assets throughout Cheshire as well as up to date details of its work which should help
                 highlight any potential impacts which might arise from future plans.
                 It is important to bear in mind that in many cases individual sites may make up part of a
                 wider network of valuable sites. This is highlighted well through the ‘Habitat links’ mapping
                 shown on the Ecology Network for Cheshire website. Within South Cheshire ‘Woodland
                 Links’ exist between Malpas and Tarporly, and Winsford and Sandbach. ‘Heathland Links’
                 exist between Tarporly and Winsford. These are thought to be of significant importance,
                 although they are not designated under any legislation. These ecological corridors are
                 significant to wildlife and habitat conservation not only for South Cheshire and Cheshire but
                 for the wider area.
                 Other landscape initiatives in the study area include the On Trent initiative which covers an
                 area including wetland areas adjacent to the River Trent, between Stoke-on-Trent and the
                 Humber Estuary. A small proportion of the area covered by this initiative occurs on the edge
                 of the study area. On Trent is intended to secure a sustainable balance between natural and
                 historic heritage, commercial activity and agriculture in the River Trent corridor and involves
                 a range of voluntary, public and commercial organisations.

                 7.6.2     Cultural and Historically Valued Sites
                 The listed buildings and structures throughout the Study Area are numerous and varied in
                 nature, from traditional mill buildings, to large red-brick viaducts which are a distinctive asset
                 in the landscape. Impacts to these assets can arise from insensitively located developments
                 and design which may be considered ill-fitting. Policy MCR 4 within the North West RSS
                 states specifically that plans and strategies should continue to protect and enhance the
                 historic environment of Nantwich. The importance of these sites relates to the local
                 economy, tourism, quality of life and regeneration.
                 A comprehensive search of all listed structures within this area is beyond the scope of this
                 study; however, a preliminary search identifies the number of records for Cheshire alone at
                 5,586. An initial search of Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) and historic parks and
                 gardens has also been carried out.
                 The SAMs throughout the Study Area warrant conservation status because of their unique
                 nature and the individuality they give to villages, towns or cities. Archaeological assets have
                 not been appraised in this baseline report; however there are a number of sites present
                 throughout Cheshire due to some of the oldest settlements in the country being located in
                 the county. Details on archaeological sites stemming from prehistoric, Saxon and medieval
                 times are available on Cheshire County Council’s website
                 SAMs in or adjacent to the major urban settlements are detailed in the baseline report. Sites
                 are ‘scheduled’ because of their importance, in archaeological terms, for the UK. SAMs are
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                 declared by the secretary of state and once a site is scheduled, consent must be obtained
                 from the Secretary of State for any works which affect it.
                 The Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic interest is a document which began
                 life in the 1980s. Parks and gardens are included because of there national importance.
                 There are three grades within the register; Grade I is of international importance, Grade II*
                 is of exceptional historic interest and grade II are of national importance. Registered Parks
                 and Gardens within the Study Area are detailed within the baseline report.

                 7.7         Conclusions on Potential Environmental Impacts

                 One of the objectives of this study is to assess the environmental quality of the study area
                 and the implications future development may have. Specific areas where environmental
                 impacts have been flagged up in past studies are in relation to the potential negative effects
                 on biodiversity from RSS policy MCR 4 South Cheshire. However this policy does seek to
                 protect the historic and rural environments.
                 The Study Area has a rich natural environment. There are many areas within the Study
                 Area that have been awarded various environmental designations such as Ramsar Sites,
                 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of
                 Community Importance (SCI). The presence of these designations does mean that
                 development is constrained. However, the designated sites and the Green Belt do provide
                 high quality areas which contribute to a high quality of life for the residents and workers in
                 the area. Similarly, the designated areas will attract visitors to the areas which in turn will
                 provide revenue for the local economy.




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       8         Spatial Implications
                 8.1         Forecast Change

                 Here we consider the rate of change indicated in both the TEMPRO and ONS based
                 forecasts for population and employment change in the Study Area to 2026 and 2031 with
                 the rate of change recently experienced. This allows an assessment of how the scale of
                 future change might compare to that recently dealt with by planning and economic policies.

                 Table 8.1 Recent Changes in Population and Employment (Average Annual Rate of
                 Growth)
                                                                      2001-2006                  1998-2006
                                                                      Population                    Jobs
                  Congleton                                                       0.39%                         0.15%
                  Crewe and Nantwich                                              0.85%                         4.38%
                  Macclesfield                                                    0.06%                         0.37%
                  Newcastle-under-Lyme                                            0.29%                         0.17%
                  Staffordshire Moorlands                                         0.17%                         0.55%
                  Stoke-on-Trent                                               -0.08%                          -1.70%
                  North Shropshire                                                0.83%                         0.50%
                  South Cheshire                                                  0.64%                         2.62%
                  Wider Study Area                                                0.25%                         0.19%
                 Source: ONS MYE/ABI

                 Table 8.1 shows that the highest annual average rate of change in population experienced
                 in the Study Area between 2001 and 2006 is 0.85% p.a. in Crewe and Nantwich. This is
                 closely followed by North Shropshire at 0.83% p.a. The lowest rate of change (in fact a
                 negative change) is seen in Stoke-on-Trent where population fell by 0.08% p.a. on average
                 over the period.
                 Crewe and Nantwich also experienced the highest annual rate of change in employment
                 over the period 1998-2006 at 4.38% p.a. This is well in excess of the next highest rate of
                 change of 0.55% p.a. in Staffordshire Moorlands. Stoke-on-Trent is also the only area to
                 experience a negative rate of change in employment over the period, of 1.7% p.a.




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                 Table 8.2 Change in Population and Employment for TEMPRO (Average Annual Rate
                 of Growth) 2006-2026 and 2006- 2031
                                                                        2006-2026                  2006-2031
                                                                      Jobs    Population       Jobs       Population
                  Congleton                                           0.44%         0.27%     0.42%               0.25%
                  Crewe and Nantwich                                  0.45%         0.42%     0.44%               0.40%
                  Macclesfield                                        0.43%         0.11%     0.42%               0.10%
                  Newcastle-under-Lyme                                0.40%      -0.06%       0.38%              -0.06%
                  Staffordshire Moorlands                             0.41%         0.06%     0.39%               0.05%
                  Stoke-on-Trent                                      0.40%      -0.13%       0.37%              -0.14%
                  North Shropshire                                    0.37%         0.54%     0.36%               0.51%
                  South Cheshire                                      0.44%         0.35%     0.43%               0.33%
                  Study Area                                          0.41%         0.10%     0.40%               0.09%
                 Source: TEMPRO/Arup estimates


                 Table 8.2 shows the annual rate of change anticipated by the TEMPRO forecasts for
                 population and employment growth in the Study Area to 2026 and 2031.
                 The highest rate of change in population to 2026 is expected in North Shropshire, at 0.54%
                 p.a., followed by 0.42% p.a. in Crewe and Nantwich. Both Newcastle-under-Lyme and
                 Stoke-on-Trent are expected to experience a negative change with 0.06% p.a. and 0.13%
                 p.a. respectively.
                 Compared to the recent rates of change experienced in the Study Area, Crewe and
                 Nantwich, Newcastle-under-Lyme and North Shropshire are expected to see a marked
                 reduction in population growth while Macclesfield is expected to see an increase in the rate
                 of growth to 0.11% p.a. All other authorities are expected to see moderate decreases in the
                 rate of change.
                 The highest rate of change expected in employment growth to 2026 is in Crewe and
                 Nantwich at 0.45% p.a., but similar rates of change are expected in all other authority areas
                 with the exception of North Shropshire where growth of 0.37% p.a. is anticipated.
                 The rate of change in employment in Congleton and Newcastle-under-Lyme are expected to
                 increase significantly compared to recent trends, rising to 0.44% p.a. and 0.40% p.a.
                 respectively. Macclesfield is also expected to see an increase in the rate of employment
                 change, although at a more moderate level. This is also true for Stoke-on-Trent, although
                 this is significant as it represents a switch from a decline in employment levels to an
                 increase. Crewe and Nantwich is expected to see a much more moderate rate of change
                 compared to the recent trend. All other areas are expected to see slight reductions in the
                 rate of change.
                 The pattern of change is very similar across both periods, although it does indicate a
                 slowing in the pace of change over the longer period.




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                 Table 8.3 Change in Population and Employment for ONS based projections (Annual
                 Rate of Growth) 2006-2026 and 2006- 2031
                                                                         2006-2026                2006-2031
                                                                  Jobs        Population   Jobs        Population
                  Congleton                                           0.58%       0.42%      0.57%               0.40%
                  Crewe and Nantwich                                  0.83%       0.80%      0.80%               0.76%
                  Macclesfield                                        0.86%       0.55%      0.84%               0.53%
                  Newcastle-under-Lyme                                0.86%       0.40%      0.83%               0.39%
                  Staffordshire Moorlands                             0.69%       0.34%      0.66%               0.32%
                  Stoke-on-Trent                                      0.76%       0.23%      0.75%               0.23%
                  North Shropshire                                    0.71%       0.88%      0.68%               0.83%
                  South Cheshire                                      0.73%       0.64%      0.71%               0.61%
                  Study Area                                          0.78%       0.46%      0.76%               0.45%

                 Source: ONS/Arup estimates




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       9         Conclusions
                 9.1         Key Linkages

                 It is evident that within the Study Area relationships and links exist. For example, travel to
                 work data detailed in Chapter 4 and Chapter 6 demonstrate that people often live and work
                 in separate areas and therefore there is inevitably movement within the Study Area. From
                 this a relationship can also be distinguished regarding migration. This can be seen on a
                 local level in terms of daily migration from residence to workplace, but further data indicates
                 that there is more permanent migration within the Study Area as well as immigration on an
                 international level. There is a relationship between the average house price and average
                 wage which is also linked to the qualification level of residents and workers. All this is
                 underpinned by employment opportunities and consequently the economy of the Study Area
                 which is in turn linked to the quality of life in terms of both the environment people live in and
                 level of deprivation exists.
                 However after careful consideration of evidence summarised in this report, there is
                 insufficient to support the existence of an extended South Cheshire Sub Region. However,
                 due to the relationships that do exist there are issues to be explored further.

                 9.2         Issues for future Strategy Development

                 Here we set out some of the key issues that stakeholders in South Cheshire and its
                 neighbouring authorities in the rest of the Study Area will need to consider as the future
                 development strategy for the area is prepared.

                 9.2.1      Spatial Extent
                 •  The current evidence does not conclusively support the existence of an extended South
                    Cheshire Sub-Region which straddles the regional boundary. There are certainly
                    relationships between the core South Cheshire authorities (defined in this study as
                    Crewe and Nantwich and Congleton) and the authorities in the wider Study Area, as
                    shown by the discussion on migration and commuting in particular. However, there is
                    little to suggest that these relationships are more significant than relationships between
                    the areas in question and other neighbouring areas not within our study remit.

                 •     Discussions on the role and positioning of “South Cheshire” did not perceive it as
                       sharing a common identity with the North Staffordshire conurbation in particular. A
                       scenario where the conurbation was successfully regenerated and developed into a
                       functioning city region was considered likely. This would result in a greater emphasis on
                       South Cheshire as a distinct entity which should plan for the future based on its own
                       strengths and requirements.

                 •     Macclesfield has a stronger relationship with the Greater Manchester conurbation in
                       terms of economic and housing markets than with other locations in the Study Area,
                       although there is a relationship with Congleton and some cross border link evident with
                       Staffordshire Moorlands. However, Local Government Reorganisation will determine
                       that at a strategic level, integration with neighbouring parts of South Cheshire at a policy
                       and service delivery level will take place. It will be for the new authority to determine
                       whether locations within the current Macclesfield authority should be included in any
                       South Cheshire strategy development depending on their views on whether any spatial
                       strategy should seek to address the whole of their administrative area or not.

                 •     In the case of North Shropshire there is certainly little evidence to support the existence
                       of strong relationship between the North Shropshire area and the South Cheshire
                       authorities. Local Government Reorganisation will direct their focus increasingly towards
                       areas to the south (elsewhere in the new Shropshire authority), so there would seem
                       little benefit to their deep involvement in policy development in the South Cheshire/North
                       Staffordshire area. This would not preclude the maintenance of good communication
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                      between the neighbouring authorities to ensure that each is aware of the key issues
                      being considered and strategies developed, as should normally take place.

                 •    In terms of Stoke-on-Trent/Newcastle-under-Lyme, the migration and commuting data
                      does show some relationship between the North Staffordshire conurbation and Crewe
                      and Congleton, although the influence of neighbouring locations in the West Midlands
                      would appear to be stronger. The commuting data is becoming somewhat dated, so
                      changes since 2001 need to be monitored and if increasing travel to employment in
                      Crewe from North Staffordshire is becoming evident then the case for increased
                      integration of development strategy across the regional boundary may become clearer.

                 9.2.2   Population & Housing
                 •  The projections of total population change in South Cheshire range from 11.4 per cent
                    from 2006 to 2031 (Tempro) to 19.3 per cent (ONS). For the Study Area this range is
                    10.4 per cent (Tempro) to 20.8 per cent (ONS). These represent significant levels of
                    population change to be planned for and the rate of change anticipated in each authority
                    area can vary quite considerably from the recent experience.

                 •    Both projections indicate an improvement in the performance of Stoke-on-Trent in terms
                      of retaining and, under the ONS scenario, expanding its population.
                 •    The migration data indicates that the relationships are stronger amongst authorities in
                      the same region, confirming the conclusions of the work on Housing Market Areas
                      undertaken in each region. The authorities coming together under the new East
                      Cheshire authority are associated with their own individual Housing Market Areas. The
                      implications of this will need to be reflected as policies for housing provision are
                      developed for the new authority.

                 •    National, regional and local planning policies advocate locating development in existing
                      towns and cities, in sustainable locations and prioritising development in existing
                      buildings, then previously developed land. Therefore, within the Study Area, planning
                      policies place more emphasis on development in the larger settlements of Crewe,
                      Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme as opposed to the smaller settlements in
                      Congleton, North Shropshire and Staffordshire Moorlands. This focus is anticipated to
                      continue for the foreseeable future. However, the findings of a recent review which has
                                                                                        7
                      considered the impact of planning policies on rural communities may encourage the
                      more flexible application of these general principles in future where it can be
                      demonstrated to contribute to a more sustainable future (particularly in economic terms)
                      for rural communities.

                 •    There is a continuing need to ensure the provision of new housing in North Staffordshire
                      to support regeneration, while ensuring provision in Macclesfield and Congleton does
                      not undermine this aim. Although current data shows that locations in Staffordshire
                      Moorlands and Newcastle-under-Lyme are more likely alternatives for residents of
                      Stoke-on-Trent that need to move than the Cheshire authorities, this should continue to
                      be monitored as housing markets will evolve in response to changing economic
                      circumstances. This includes both the national situation but also local as the availability
                      of employment opportunities changes.

                 •    There is a recognised need for affordable housing in every LA in the study area, as in
                      England as a whole. Affordable housing targets are set at the local level and must
                      reflect guidance provided by PPS 3 on the threshold for provision of an affordable
                      housing element as well as locally derived evidence on housing need. Consideration will
                      need to be given as to what geographical area is appropriate for setting targets,
                      especially for authorities affected by the Local Government boundary changes.


7                                                                                  rd
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                 •    The RSS has increased the housing targets for the North West authorities. The ongoing
                      review of housing requirements for the West Midlands RSS Review is considering
                      options for increasing provision across the region. Authorities anticipate that they will be
                      able to meet the current requirements and broadly achieve their targets for the
                      proportion on brownfield sites.

                 •    The emphasis placed on brownfield land varies by authority, reflecting the potential
                      currently identified. Targets for development on previously developed land are highest in
                      the North Staffordshire Conurbation with minimum percentages of 90% set out in the
                      draft WM RSS. Targets are lowest in Crewe, Staffordshire Moorlands and North
                      Shropshire (all 60% in the draft WM RSS and NW RSS). However, while the supply of
                      brownfield sites is added to over time as existing uses cease, there is a concern that the
                      supply will dwindle outside of the larger urban settlements. The continuation of
                      monitoring of the proportion of development taking place on previously developed land
                      will enable authorities to assess whether this does become apparent.

                 9.2.3    Economy/Employment
                 •  Various indicators (multiple deprivation, economic activity, unemployment, VAT
                    registrations) show that in general the North Staffordshire conurbation has a weaker
                    economy than the Cheshire districts. However, the impacts of continuing global
                    restructuring in manufacturing in particular still affect the authorities in Cheshire which
                    cannot assume the continuing presence of some of their longstanding major employers.
                    Recent downturns in the financial services sector will have a greater effect on Crewe
                    and Nantwich, Congleton and Macclesfield due to the higher number of jobs within this
                    sector compared to the rest of the Study Area.

                 •    The need to encourage improvements in skills levels and the associated provision of
                      higher skilled employment is already recognised and should continue to be pursued as
                      a policy aim, especially in those parts of the study area where this is a key contributor to
                      the overall deprivation levels experienced.

                 •    The expansion of post-16 education in recent years has led to provision of
                      new/enhanced facilities which have provided a boost to local economies (not simply in
                      terms of the longer term impacts on skills levels). A similar rate of expansion is unlikely
                      to continue in the longer term thus the contribution of existing establishments to their
                      surrounding economies needs to be maximised.

                 •    The residents of Congleton and Macclesfield have high qualification levels and are more
                      likely to be in the higher skilled occupations. However, many of these jobs are located
                      outside the area, as shown by the differential in wage levels between the residents of
                      these areas and the people employed in these areas. The need to encourage the
                      provision of higher skilled employment within these authorities, thus also reducing the
                      commuting flows, is already recognised and should continue to be pursued as a policy
                      aim. However, the tendency for office based service operations of any scale to favour
                      locating in the larger town and city centres is perceived to frustrate this aim.

                 •    Improving skill levels and increasing participation in the workforce are not the only
                      means of attracting and retaining businesses and residents - improving the quality of
                      place is also key to meeting aspirations for economic vitality. Regeneration and
                      redevelopment of the main town centres in particular will play a vital role in determining
                      perceptions of the study area. The contribution of the quality of the surrounding
                      countryside environment to perceptions of the area must also not be overlooked and
                      must continue to be protected and enhanced.

                 •    Few references are made to cross border issues in the West Midlands RES, although
                      reference is made to working across regional boundaries and ‘Opportunities for Cross-
                      Regional Growth’. Economic strategy for the Northwest does refer to the important
                      strategic transport links (particularly along the M6 and West Coast Mainline) and the
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                      potential to enhance economic linkages between the Potteries and the South Cheshire
                                                                               8
                      area. Cross regional commuting flows are relatively small but local economic
                      development strategies across the study area should seek to ensure that they are
                      complementary and do not stifle the potential of any neighbouring areas.

                 •    Large parts of the North Staffordshire conurbation directly adjacent to South Cheshire
                      can be classified as areas of great need and market failure. Economic development in
                      South Cheshire may have direct effects on regeneration efforts, positive or negative, in
                      North Staffordshire. There may be similar implications for the Rural Regeneration Zone
                      in North Shropshire. The availability of development sites (especially utilising brownfield/
                      derelict land) in North Staffs may impact on the demand for sites in South Cheshire,
                      depending on the use classes being promoted. There has been a major increase in the
                      presence of distribution centres around the North Staffordshire conurbation in recent
                      years, which has led to concerns that further growth of this nature may not be desirable.
                      This reflects a perception that the high number of distribution centres in North
                      Staffordshire take up important employment land whilst providing a relatively low
                      number of jobs.

                 •    In response to the need for interventions, integrated working arrangements have
                      become well established across the North Staffordshire conurbation addressing the
                      housing renewal as well as economic and wider physical regeneration priorities. The
                      establishment of the new East Cheshire Authority provides the opportunity for a similarly
                      integrated approach to be established for that area (although the regeneration
                      imperative will differ) which may assist with future cross border joint
                      working/collaboration/ communications.
                 •    The delivery of Basford Strategic Regional Site and capitalising on ongoing private
                      sector investment in Crewe is crucial if the economic potential of the town is to be
                      realised. This requires the delivery of supporting infrastructure such as the Link Road
                      and improvements to the A500. The improvements would allow Basford to be
                      developed to its full potential without negatively impacting on the current traffic situation
                      around Crewe..

                 9.2.4    Transport
                 •  At the strategic level the Study Area is arguably an accessible location from across
                    North West Europe, due to the proximity of the UK’s largest provincial International
                    Airport, direct rail services from Scotland and short journey times to London from the
                    principal towns of Crewe and Stoke- on - Trent and its location at the heart of the UK
                    motorway network. The ‘gateway’ character of the area is generally considered to be
                    over-emphasised.

                 •    More locally, the majority of routes, both on the highway network and on the rail network
                      are predominately east to west, with the exception of the M6 and the west coast
                      mainline. This leads to poor connectivity north to south and the isolation of some areas
                      as a consequence of the highway or rail network layout. While major new route
                      construction is not an option, initiatives seeking to improve local connectivity need to be
                      continued.

                 •    Congestion is a major problem for parts of South Cheshire and the surrounding areas.
                      Traffic exceeding capacity on the principal highway network is leading to increased
                      journey times and accidents on the roads. The West Coast Main Line also experiences
                      peak time loading and consequently trains are running above capacity. The services
                      most affected are commuter services to Manchester, and also services running into
                      London. There is a need for continuing investment in public transport systems in order
                      to encourage residents and visitors to use public transport rather than the car and
                      consequently improving access to key services and employment sites. However, there
8
    Although changes since the 2001 Census may be altering this
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                      are a significant number of highway improvements proposed which could ease the
                      congestion on the network such as Demand Management on the M6 and improvements
                      to the A500 Barthomley Link..

                 •    The provision of public transport (mainly bus) services in the more populated centres of
                      South Cheshire and the study area is good; however outer areas experience a lack of
                      reliable services and a choice of destinations which encourages dependency on the
                      private car and which is difficult to improve as potential patronage is so dispersed.

                 •    The main cross-authority commuting flows are found between Crewe & Nantwich and
                      Congleton; Congleton and Macclesfield; Newcastle-under-Lyme with Stoke-on-Trent;
                      Staffordshire Moorlands with Stoke-on-Trent; and North Shropshire with Crewe &
                      Nantwich to a very limited extent. The issue of out-commuting and its related problems
                      from Congleton, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Staffordshire Moorlands is well
                      documented and should continue to be addressed.

                 •    At the time of the Census, the only significant cross-regional flow in terms of commuting
                      (i.e. more than 2,000 movements) is between Congleton and Stoke-on-Trent. However,
                      anecdotal evidence suggests that the impact of house price increases in the intervening
                      period may have led to changes to the established patterns. However, this is not likely
                      to be confirmed until the next Census data is made available unless specific local
                      research is undertaken.

                 •    The potential for high growth in jobs at Crewe could lead to increased journeys to work
                      by car unless public transport to the surrounding area is improved. This is also true of
                      Stoke-on-Trent/Newcastle-under-Lyme and the rural areas which surround the
                      conurbation.

                 9.2.5   Environment & Sustainability
                 •  Environmental sustainability is extremely important, especially with climate change
                    moving to the forefront of many of social, political and environmental policies.

                 •    The landscape of the Study Area is characterised by attractive countryside outside the
                      localised urban areas and the north Staffordshire conurbation, comprising farmland,
                      hedgerows and woodland blocks. Conservation and enhancement should be central to
                      all future plans and policies where possible. This is likely to have not only positive
                      environmental impacts but also beneficial social and economic effects.

                 •    There are protected environments (RAMSAR, Special Areas of Conservation and
                      SSSIs) distributed across the study area with a concentration along the eastern
                      boundary of Macclesfield and Staffordshire Moorlands (within the Peak District National
                      Park). Where possible these sites should be enhanced and added to in order to adhere
                      to national, European and international legislation and conventions.

                 •    Climate change, pressures on local natural renewable resources and on man-made
                      infrastructure should be a consideration for any future development plans. Climate
                      Change is likely to lead to increased severe weather episodes as well as wetter milder
                      winters and drier, hotter summers. Other manifestations may include, in sensitive areas
                      such as flood plains, increased flooding;

                 •    Pressures on natural resources and man-made infrastructure will also need appropriate
                      consideration within long term plans. Significant population increases will place
                      increased demand on natural resources such as groundwater which provides one third
                      of public water supply in England and Wales and on energy requirements. Impacts on
                      infrastructure such as sewerage systems and road networks should also be considered
                      especially in relation to their ability to handle large changes in population (and hence
                      increased demand).


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                 •     Strategies for development should be judged on the long term effects or impacts with
                       regard to the triple bottom line (i.e. its social, environmental and economic credentials).
                       Some initial environmental aims which should be considered are outlined below:

                              Biodiversity gain should be encouraged;
                              No loss of open green space;

                              Ambient noise levels should be kept to appropriate levels and not increase in
                              sensitive areas;

                              Air quality should not deteriorate (especially in sensitive areas) through increased
                              traffic and congestion or insensitive placement of industrial buildings;

                              Use of renewable energy appropriate to the area and with public support
                              (including increased use microgeneration for individual buildings) should be
                              encouraged;

                              Waste going to landfill should be reduced while at the same time rates of
                              recycling should increase.
                              Domestic and commercial water usage should be reduced;

                              Reduction of private car use and increase in public transport use should be
                              encouraged; and

                              The ecological and carbon footprints should not increase and where possible
                              efforts should be made towards footprint reduction.

                 9.3         Monitoring Framework

                 9.3.1    Introduction
                 As we conclude above, there is not the evidence currently to support the existence of a
                 South Cheshire Sub-region that has any significant influence beyond the Crewe and
                 Nantwich and Congleton area.
                 However, a number of the issues identified above point towards the need to continue to
                 monitor key indicators to help assess whether circumstances are changing sufficiently to
                 warrant specific policy interventions or the preparation of an integrated strategy for the wider
                 sub-region including South Cheshire and the neighbouring areas in the West Midlands. The
                 housing markets are key to this assessment and thus should be prioritised for monitoring as
                 data is available annually on internal migration and more regularly on house price change,
                 thus allowing an early warning to be raised as to whether changes in South Cheshire are
                 having an influence on locations in the West Midlands, especially if this impact is negative.
                 Travel to work is another key indicator which is not comprehensively measured except by
                 the Census of Population, thus consideration should be given to collecting data within the
                 defined Study Area to measure change more regularly than the 10 year interval that the
                 Census provides.
                 Should the monitoring point towards a need for more integrated policy and/or strategy
                 development, this need will in turn trigger a review of the organisational framework and
                 relationships that will be required to support the policy response.

                 9.3.2    Monitoring Indicators
                 There are already comprehensive monitoring frameworks in place to measure the progress
                 being made in implementing the policies set out in the NW RSS and WM RSS. Monitoring
                 undertaken with respect to South Cheshire should reflect these strategic frameworks to
                 ensure that any additional burden on the relevant authorities is minimised.




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                                                                                9
                 The regional frameworks reflect national guidance and use three types of indicators for
                 monitoring, Output Indicators, Contextual Indicators and Process Indicators.
                 •     Output Indicators relate to the measurement of the direct effects of policy and provide a
                       benchmark for evaluating the progress of the strategy toward its stated objectives.
                 •     Contextual Indicators provide a description of the wider social, economic, environmental
                       and demographic background to the strategy.
                 •     Process Indicators measure the extent to which policies set out in the strategy are being
                       taken up at the local level in Local Development Frameworks.
                 At this stage, the monitoring of contextual indicators is required. Relevant contextual
                 indicators taken from the RSS guidance and supplemented by other indicators relevant to
                 the key conclusions of this report are summarised below in Table 9.1.

                 Table 9.1 Monitoring Framework
                                                                                                                       Cross Border
               Indicator                                                   Issues to be Monitored                           Impact
                                                                                                                          Indicator

               Population change                                           Population and Housing                             Yes

               Migration (internal and international)                      Population and Housing                             Yes

               VAT registrations as % of total business stock              Economy and Employment

               Proportion of the working age population that are in        Population, Economy and
                                                                                                                              Yes
               employment                                                  Employment

               Percentage change in the number of people employed          Population, Economy and
               in identified growth sectors/the knowledge economy          Employment

               Percentage in the number of people employed in              Population, Economy and
               sectors in transition                                       Employment

               Average (median) weekly wage (resident and                  Population, Economy and
                                                                                                                              Yes
               workforce)                                                  Employment

                                                                           Population, Economy and
               % of population claiming unemployment benefit
                                                                           Employment

                                                                           Population, Economy and
               Qualification levels of resident working age population
                                                                           Employment

               Renewable energy capacity installed by type                 Environment and Sustainability

                                                                           Environment, Sustainability and the
               Total amount and distribution of derelict land
                                                                           Built Environment

               % of river water quality to be ‘good‘ or ‘fair’             Environment and Sustainability

               Average house prices and ratio of average pay to            Housing, Population, Economy and
                                                                                                                              Yes
               average house price                                         Employment

               Time taken to travel to work                                Transport and Employment                           Yes

               Commuting patterns (Area of residence and Area of
                                                                           Transport and Employment                           Yes
               workplace of individuals)

               Journey to work by mode                                     Transport and Employment




9
    Core Output indicators for Regional Planning, ODPM/CLG March 2005
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                                                                                                                Cross Border
               Indicator                                                 Issues to be Monitored                      Impact
                                                                                                                   Indicator

               People killed or seriously injured in road accidents      Transport

               Number of Grade 1 and Grade 2* buildings on the at
                                                                         Environment
               Risk Register

               % of housing stock that is unfit (by tenure/area)         Housing


               Changes in industrial rents and land values               Economy




                 These will allow the relative performance of the constituent areas to continue to be
                 monitored and should the direction of change raise any concerns action can be taken to
                 address that issue.

                 9.4           Future Working

                 The report has concluded that the extended South Cheshire sub-region does not currently
                 exist as a functioning sub-region. If future monitoring does show the existence of a
                 functioning sub-region the stakeholders might decide to proceed with the development of a
                 specific cross regional strategy for the wider South Cheshire/North Staffordshire sub-region.
                 This would suggest that a more formal implementation partnership would become
                 necessary in the medium term, as discussed below.
                 Prior to any strategy development an informal partnership would be appropriate This
                 informal partnership could continue to liaise to ensure individual policy developments across
                 the constituent areas are complimentary and would comprise:
                 •     Local Authorities (all appropriate service areas, e.g. housing, planning, economic
                       development, transport, environment)
                 •     Regional Planning/Housing Bodies
                 •     Economic & Skills Development/Regeneration agencies

                 Consideration should also be given to involving a wider stakeholder alliance in the process,
                 although at a less intensive level. These would include strategic business organisations,
                 environmental groups, post 16 education providers, public transport operators, the
                 development industry and health providers.

                 For the time being the monitoring of indicators will need to be reported to the stakeholder
                 group who will in turn determine whether the evidence supports a move to a higher level of
                 joint working. For those indicators already being monitored by local authorities it will be
                 straightforward to collate the data across the Study Area. However, where new data needs
                 to be sourced, in most cases it will be more efficient for this to be done for all the constituent
                 parts of the Study Area as a single monitoring exercise. If it is possible to develop an
                 agreement between the stakeholders, it will be more economical for this to be undertaken
                 by one body on behalf of the other stakeholders.

                 9.5           Possible Joint Strategy Working Arrangements

                 If a wider strategy development approach is pursued then more formal arrangements will
                 need to be put into place. In this situation more extensive data collection and monitoring is
                 likely to be required to ensure that the decision making group leading the strategy
                 development has access to an appropriate evidence base. This may require a more
                 dedicated resource being put into place.

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                 Areas where the co-ordination of strategy development should be considered include:
                 Housing:
                 •    Implications of housing need research on housing mix and affordable housing policies;

                 •    Approach to rural housing provision;
                 •    Longer term direction for housing growth;
                 Employment:

                 •    Longer term direction for employment growth;

                 •    The relationship between location of employment sites with existing and proposed
                      housing;
                 •    Workforce skills development & accessibility of employment;
                 •    Business support;
                 Infrastructure:

                 •    Strategic transport provision;
                 •    Local public transport development;
                 •    Utilities capacity;

                 •    Digital communications infrastructure;

                 Examples for the organisation of a joint strategy group can be drawn from other strategic
                 sub-regional bodies including the Milton Keynes South Midlands Sub-Region (cross
                 regional) and Cambridge Sub-Regional Stakeholder Partnership or more locally the Central
                 Lancashire City Sub Regional Strategy Group, the Cheshire and Warrington Economic
                 Alliance or the Mersey Partnership which have an economic focus.
                 The Milton Keynes South Midlands Strategy is being implemented by Local Delivery
                 Vehicles, which are overseen by the Inter-Regional Board. Key agencies from all areas in
                 the sub region are responsible for delivering the strategy through a number of key areas
                 such as road, rail and public transport infrastructure; regeneration, the economy and
                 enterprise; and social infrastructure.
                 In the Cambridge Sub Region a non profit making company with a staff of 18 has been
                 established (Cambridgeshire Horizons), governed by a Board comprising representatives
                 from all the local authorities in the Sub region, together with representatives from other
                 sectors that have a key role in delivering development and infrastructure: such as health,
                 housing and central government agencies. They are funded by the company partners and
                 the CLG.
                 There is a joint strategic growth implementation committee reporting to the Board. The
                 objectives are:
                 •    To co-ordinate development and infrastructure implementation.
                 •    To overcome barriers to development projects.
                 •    To secure funding commitments for infrastructure.

                 •    To ensure developments employ high quality sustainable design.

                 Their work supports the approved Structure Plan. There are no planning or any other
                 statutory powers and purpose is to cut across organisational boundaries, seek to overcome
                 barriers to growth and try to resolve different views.
                 The Central Lancashire City Sub Regional Strategy is being taken forward through the
                 Local Development Framework Process as the basis for the joint Core Strategy for Preston,
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                 South Ribble and Chorley. A Joint Advisory Committee makes recommendations that each
                 authority can make decisions about.
                 The Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance is one of five sub regional partnerships
                 (SRPs) in the North West working with partners to help deliver the Northwest Regional
                 Economic Strategy (RES). As the designated SRP, it is the conduit for economic
                 development strategies, activity and funding across Cheshire and Warrington. It also has a
                 wider role in providing leadership for the sub region by developing strong, evidence-based
                 strategies and priorities, which are supported by all local and Sub-Regional partners. It is
                 established as a company, with a Board of Directors drawn from the member organisations
                 which include local authorities, the education and business sectors. A staff of 11 supports
                 the work of 6 sub groups led by the CWEA as well as participating in other groups active in
                 the sub-region.
                 The remit of the CWEA is currently under review and it is possible that in the future it may
                 be well placed to provide the strategic body for a wider South Cheshire Sub-region, if
                 representation from the West Midlands can be incorporated.
                 The Mersey Partnership is the sub region's recognised Sub Regional Partnership working
                 closely with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). It has an economic
                 focus and aims to:
                 •    Improve awareness and build a positive image in the minds of investment decision-
                      makers, potential visitors and local business communities.
                 •    Identify key sectors that provide strong product fit and prospects for sustainable growth.
                 •    Attract investment interest from key growth sectors from around the world.

                 •    Provide a gateway into the Liverpool City-Region and deliver enquiries to the relevant
                      partners adding value in the process.

                 •    Use market intelligence to ensure that the region's resources achieve best value.

                 •    Promote business success, lifestyle and tourism advantages and work with partners to
                      address obstacles preventing further investment and wealth creation.

                 It is widely recognised as an organisational format for partnerships, throughout the UK and
                 beyond as it now represents nearly 500 businesses across the Liverpool City Region
                 including manufacturing and trading companies, six local authorities, government agencies,
                 universities, media organisations, professional agencies, and tourism and conference
                 businesses.




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