A CHESHIRE East councillor is urging the local authority to take note of 1970s’ Knutsford to stop the county being turned into a metropolis ‘like Essex’.

Clr Brendan Murphy, who grew up in Essex, believes Cheshire East’s Local Plan is ‘fundamentally flawed’ for proposing a corridor of opportunity from Crewe to Macclesfield.

The leader of the independent group questioned the Plan, which includes driving economic growth by linking the two principal towns via Congleton.

“In 1974, it was suggested Wilmslow and Knutsford should be taken into Greater Manchester and this was met with great resistance,” said Clr Muprhy.

“If we really want to witness growth based on housing we only need to go to Essex; it’s one long urban sprawl. Cheshire is not Essex.

“The focus is on linking Crewe and Macclesfield by using Congleton as a corridor of opportunity, but the two communities have always had different orientations.

“Macclesfield and Knutsford look to metropolitan Manchester and Crewe looks towards the Potteries – a metropolis of a county is not what the people of Cheshire East want for the county.”

The authority’s Local Plan proposes 27,000 houses to be built in Cheshire East in a phased approach up to 2030, while also aiming to create 15,000 new jobs.

Clr Derek Hough added: “This does not mean each of the smaller developments will have their own urban sprawl, this is the balance we are going to have to make.”

However, Clr Murphy believes his Macclesfield and Tytherington ward is taking a hit and criticised closing Green Belt land between Cheshire East and Stockport in a North Cheshire Growth Village at Handforth East.

He added: “We are proud to be part of Cheshire East, but we have taken the brunt of the housing development.”

The Council’s legal advisers moved quickly to quash suggestions from a public speaker that leader Michael Jones was going to ‘cash in on Handforth’s Green Belt land’.

A Council lawyer said: “I want to place on record the leader is taking no part in this meeting and has not had an influence on the meeting.”