Cheshire East Council specify that Goostrey parish is part of a Local Service Centre with a requirement to provide around 27* new homes.
But since the appeal for a development of 119 houses (and presumably all the evidence that JBO put forward in regard to the cumulative impact from housing) CEC are now giving signifiant weight to the potential impact on our iconic neighbour Jodrell Bank Observatory.
CEC Planning Officer Nick Hulland Oct 2016 in response to Emery Planning re the current appeal for 6 homes, “As such, the Council are no longer supportive of any residential applications, in particular within the closest Parishes, such as (but not exclusive to) – Twemlow, Goostrey, Cranage and the edge of Holmes Chapel due to the ‘cumulative impact of new development on the efficient operation of Jodrell Bank’.
Therefore, because the Council are now attributing significant weight to the impact upon Jodrell Bank, even if ‘relatively minor’ as advised by JBO, it will nonetheless have an impact to the extent that it would ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweigh the benefits of the vast majority of the residential schemes being considered by the Council.
Historically, when such a response has been received from JBO, the Council have still considered that on balance, the benefit of the new housing has outweighed the impact upon the telescope. However, the cumulative impact of the granting of new residential developments in recent years within these areas has now ‘tipped the balance’ as part of our planning assessments to the extent that all new residential development in these areas close to Jodrell Bank are considered to weigh heavily against the scheme in the planning balance.”
This dichotomy must be somewhat confusing for developers/planning consultants and no doubt clarification would benefit all, including Goostrey Parish Council, and especially JBO; Policy SC2 in the draft Neighbourhood Plan clearly states ‘Development should not be permitted where JBO determines that the efficiency of the radio telescopes would be impaired.’
Previously, in Feb 2016, CEC approved 2 houses on the site by 51 Main Road, despite JBO’s opposition. However, since then the Secretary of State agreed with the Planning Inspector after the appeal for 119 houses that JBO “as an established world class facility should be afforded reasonable protection”. He considered that the Council’s housing land supply shortfall was “ largely a local issue, while Jodrell Bank Observatory is a facility of international importance such that its protection from the identified harm transcends the current housing land supply circumstances.”
– JBO are currently objecting to just one additional dwelling (in addition to the two built) on the site of the forthcoming appeal for six. Albeit JBO prefer to comment on the degree of impact on a case-by-case basis it is hard to see where a further 27 dwellings would be acceptable – unless locations can be found for additional housing where the topography and existing development can be proven to provide sufficient screening. It is therefore likely that the remaining 27 houses in Goostrey may be just developments of single houses further away from the telescope and in any natural valleys.
* “the construction of around 50 new homes will be supported…..23 new dwellings have already been committed towards the 50” Policy HOU1 page 20/22 draft Goostrey NP.