AS your council leader I am delighted to announce our continued fight against unplanned, unsustainable and speculative developments has now taken a major step forward.

We have just approved our five-year housing land supply (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment).

This means the council should now have a solid defence against speculative developers who are seeking to build unwanted homes – driven purely for profit – on Cheshire East’s beautiful countryside. This also means CEC can focus its efforts on getting its Local Plan in place so we have a blueprint of acceptable sustainable growth up to 2030, which will be ratified by the Government later this year. I have always maintained we would work hard to protect Cheshire East’s green belt and countryside This hasn’t been easy, since local government reorganisation left us without a local plan, but this all-important document is proof of our commitment to fight against unplanned, unsustainable and speculative developments. In the meantime, it’s been well documented that I have renewed calls for CEC’s Brownfield First Policy to protect our countryside, which I care passionately about.

This is a call to your readers for their help and ideas about where we can build without cutting into our beautiful countryside.

This is particularly important in your area where, over the next two decades, a significant amount of house building and associated infrastructure will – and needs – to take place so Cheshire East has the jobs and houses needed for future generations in a plan-led way.

Knutsford is a landmark tourist destination we are proud of. But it needs investment and improved infrastructure if it is to grow in a sustainable way.

We need to keep Knutsford vibrant but also need to manage its evolution very carefully so it can keep its unique identity I will continue to fight vigorously to deter unplanned, unsustainable and unwelcome speculative developments, until we have a finalised Local Plan in place, which will then provide a blueprint for building and a blueprint for areas which need our protection.