CHESHIRE East Council’s deputy leader has given up his role overseeing the borough’s ‘inadequate’ local plan and Knutsford ward member Clr Peter Raynes has stepped into his shoes.

The borough council announced today that Clr David Brown, who has been in charge of the local plan since 2009, has quit the role.

The decision is hot on the heels of a damning report from the planning inspector, which stated the borough had met the ‘minimum legal requirements of the duty to co-operate’ and that the plan was ‘flawed and unduly pessimistic’.

Cheshire East Council (CEC) is now creating a ‘task force’ in an attempt to drive and co-ordinate the work to address the inspector’s concerns and strengthen the plan.

Clr Raynes has been chosen to spearhead the task force and will be assisted by Clr Jamie Macrae, ward member for Mobberley.

Clr Raynes said: “As a long term resident of Cheshire East, I have a passion to maintain the precious landscape of our beautiful borough. But at the same time, this council recognises the need to produce a local plan that meets the needs of the future.

“I cannot think of a more important task to be involved in.”

Last week, CEC received a report from inspector Stephen Pratt which provided his interim views on the soundness and legal compliance of the council’s local plan.

The inspector found that there were shortcomings in the council’s objective assessment of housing needs and an inadequate provision for future housing. Council leader Clr Michael Jones described the report as a ‘regrettable situation’ and the council has pressed paused on the examination process for six months for further work to be done.

Speaking about his decision, Clr David Brown said: “In order to ensure the best chance for the Cheshire East Local Plan to succeed, I have decided to take a backward step from overseeing the local plan to allow a fresh pair of eyes and perspective to be brought to bear.

“I believe this is the best solution for the way forward as I have spent many hours and met many residents during the production of the plan.”

He continued: “Now it is time for others to assess the Planning Inspector’s comments in total – to make sure we can address all the issues that have been raised.”