Awaiting decision of public inquiry on 6 homes 51/61 Main Rd

The Henderson Homes public inquiry on the refusal of 6 further homes on the paddock between 51/61 Main Road ended yesterday with Closing Statements from the three parties.

16/4306 application for 6 dwellings

The hearing, held in Congleton Town Hall, had been adjourned since October having taken longer than anticipated, but it will still be some weeks yet until we hear of the Inspector’s final decision.

In short…and not all inclusive….

Cheshire East Council

Scott Lyness, barrister for Cheshire East, outlined the international importance of the Jodrell Bank Observatory – the 3rd largest steerable telescope on the planet, “recognised by the international scientific community as one of the world’s major radio astronomy facilities”.  He stated that its “globally important operations can only take place at the leading edge of science if their exceptional characteristics are protected” and pointed out that the six homes would be close to JBO in a direction that the Lovell is often pointed to to conduct its “internationally significant pulsar work” and are clearly in breach of JBO policies as well as Goostrey’s Neighbourhood Plan.

Mr Lyness pointed out that the proposed dwellings would cause the quality of data to take a “significant step downwards”, as detailed in Professor Garrington’s evidence of harm – which was unchallenged throughout the inquiry – and would produce a “hotspot” of interference.  He also described the expression ‘relatively minor’ used in planning objections; explaining that a relatively minor numerical change “in no way means that the impact…on the work of JBO would be minor”; Professor Garrington acknowledged that the term does not fully reflect JBO’s concern. (for instance, in pulsar timing measurements, small increases in interference can have a much larger non-linear effect on the quality of the data).

JBO’s Prof. Garrington (L) and CEC barrister Scott Lyness (R)

Mr Lyness also explained that the 39 new houses [Blackberry Gardens] will “in practice be part of Goostrey and contribute to its sustainability and viability”.

Goostrey Parish Council

Goostrey PC summed up their position; that the proposal breaches several N’hood Plan policies covering JBO and density. The PC referred to all parties at the Inquiry being in agreement that the proposal will impair the efficiency of the telescope and the NP’s policy is very clear – “There is no leeway, no ‘unless’ , no latitude”.

The appellant (Henderson Homes) proposes to use mitigation measures however the PC pointed out that mitigation had already been taken into account in Prof. Garrington’s calculations – resulting in the ITU threshold being exceeded by a factor of 100.  The Professor had “told the inquiry that even small increases in interference will have larger and larger effects as radio astronomers make more and more sensitive observations. In that scenario it is easy to see why an exceedance factor of 100 is so significant.”

Goostrey’s unique position as an LSC was also pointed out, the CELPS stating ‘In the case of Goostrey’…’it is anticipated that development needs will largely be provided for in Holmes Chapel’.  In addition to the new 39 dwellings [Blackberry Gardens] the PC pointed to the fact that many existing houses will become available during the life of the Plan, so “these 6 appeal houses therefore cannot be regarded as needed for Goostrey to retain its vitality.”

The PC also highlighted that the outcome of this appeal is being “eagerly awaited by small landowners and developers” – “allowing this appeal could open the flood gates”; a member of the public had in fact supported the appeal saying they would re-apply if the appeal is successful.  Others may similarly re-apply, as well as other propositions that the PC are aware of but are not yet formal applications “in the knowledge that the developments could potentially harm the JBO telescopes.”

Henderson Homes:

Barrister John Hunter for Henderson Homes then gave their closing statement: covering the ins and outs of Goostrey being a Local Service Centre and the “residual requirement for at least” 27 homes,  problems with affordability for younger households, the “disproportionate number of elderly residents” and its “consequential impacts on the vitality of the settlement” [..non taken! LG] . 

The Lovell

Mr Hunter opined that the 6 homes would “assist significantly in helping achieve the housing requirement” of the local area and the district as a whole, and the inclusion of 2 affordable homes should carry “significant weight”.  He said there was “no dispute” that JBO should be afforded “reasonable protection” and no dispute that the “modest additional interference” of the proposed scheme would give rise to some impairment. “However, that does not mean that any level of impairment is necessarily unacceptable”, he added.  Mr Hunter pointed to the JBO response to the initial consultation of “relatively minor” which should therefore only be given ‘moderate’ weight in the decision balance.

Mr Hunter also commented on the wording in Goostrey’s NP Policy HOU1 [“and should not individually or cumulatively harm the operation of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescopes“] saying the “word ‘should’ does not always mean the same as ‘must’.

Goostrey Neighbourhood Plan

17/4451:  Current application for 1 detached and 2 semis on the appeal site.


School launches The Nell Jones prize

Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School has launched The Nell Jones prize for a short story competition, to start in January, in honour of Nell who tragically lost her life in the Manchester terror attack.  Her family and friends hope this will build a lasting tribute to her in launching an annual writing competition in her memory.

Nell attended Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School in Cheshire and was described by her family as a ‘bright’ and ‘hard-working’ student who loved school.  Her dad Ernie said that losing her was the hardest thing they have ever had to deal with, and that they have been working closely with the school to make sure she is never forgotten.  The school has now announced it was launching a short story competition in Nell’s memory, which will be held each year and a special prize, sponsored by Nell’s parents, will be awarded to the winner.

The Nell Jones prize will be awarded to students in Year 9, which is the year Nell was in when she died.

However to mark the start of the competition, this year a special prize will also be presented for the best stories from Year 10, which is the year group that Nell would have been part of.

Nell Jones

Nell’s dad Ernie said his daughter would have been proud to have known her memory was encouraging youngsters at school.

“Losing Nell is the hardest thing we have ever had to deal with; it is heartbreaking,” he said. “Nell was a lovely girl who loved school. She just got on with it.  She was bright, worked hard and was doing really well. We are delighted that her name will live on at the school in this way.  The thought that her memory will be used to encourage children to learn and to succeed at school would make her very proud.”

Helena Collison, the school’s literacy coordinator and director of The Communications Super Faculty added,  “We will be linking the Nell Jones Award to Radio 2’s national, 500 word, short story competition for children in the 10 to 13 age range.  Entries will be encouraged from year groups 7 to 10, with entries from the Year 7 and 8 entered into the national competition.  The Nell Jones prize will be awarded to the best short story from a student in Year 9, and as with the national competition, there will be a gold, silver and bronze award.”

Manchester Evening News

Housing strategy survey

During the coming months Cheshire East Council will be developing a new Housing Strategy for the period 2018-2023.  If you would like to submit your comments to their consultation click through the link:

“We have a Housing Strategy to directly support the ambitions of the Cheshire East Local Plan, so we have a clear approach on how we intend to find solutions to the major housing issues that affect residents of Cheshire East.

We are responsible for providing a range of activities and services to meet housing need. We work jointly with local organisations and residents; which include voluntary and community groups; registered housing providers; home makers and developers; planning agents; private landlords and their agents; Government organisations and neighbouring councils. Our new Housing Strategy will look forward to what our ambitions and priorities should be for the next five years and how we should focus our resources.

Have your say:
We are looking for the views from a range of groups, organisations and individuals to help us inform the final Housing Strategy. Therefore, please take the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the new strategy by completing the our short online survey.” Cheshire East Council.

  • Download the draft Housing Strategy 2018-2023 (PDF, 3348KB)

Santa’s looking for helpers on 6th

Goostrey Scout Group have received a tip-off that Santa is visiting the village on the evening of Wednesday 6th of December, calling-in at the Scout Hut to coincide with the Beaver Scout meeting at 6pm on his sleigh.  He will then go to the Trading Post for about 6.20pm.

Santa has asked for helpers to accompany him as he travels around the Trading Post end of the village to collect money for local charities.  (By helping Santa on the 6th December Goostrey Scouts get a share of the proceeds from collections made during this visit as well as all the other visits Santa makes this year around Goostrey and Holmes Chapel, which are run by other volunteer groups).

The Scouts need your help to collect money door to door as the sleigh travels through the village on the 6th please. This is a fun evening, which usually lasts about an hour or so. We would love you to join us and help raise money for local charities. If you can help, please meet at the Trading Post at 6.20pm on Wednesday 6th December. Everybody is welcome!!

Thank you very much for your support.
David Giles – Group Scout Leader – 1st Goostrey Scout Group

Public inquiry resumes today

Henderson Homes’ public inquiry into the refusal of 6 homes next to 51 Main Road resumes at 10am this morning for Closing Statements.  The inquiry is being held in Congleton Town Hall and due to the length of time taken to present evidence etc it was adjourned until today.
Cheshire East’s barrister Scott Lyness has stated,” What the appellant fails to recognise is the importance of Jodrell Bank policies and the weight which should be accorded to them”.

(click here to read Closing Statements) 

It will be some time yet tho until the Inspector determines the outcome.

£4m for First Light project

Jodrell Bank was awarded £4m in the Autumn Statement to go towards a new project to promote the historical importance of the scientific work undertaken at the Cheshire site.

Subject to the approval of a business plan, the £4m completes the fundraising for the £20.5m ‘First Light’ project which combines a celebration of scientific heritage with an enhanced educational programme. The development will include construction of a new gallery, incorporating a spectacular exhibition and immersive auditorium.

‘First Light’ is supported by an offer of £12M from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with generous support from the Garfield Weston Foundationthe Wolfson Foundation, the Denise Coates Foundation, the University of Manchester Alumni and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre currently attracts around 185,000 visitors each year, including 26,000 school pupils on educational visits. The new project is expected to increase the overall visitor numbers to 250,000, and reach an additional 6,000 school pupils each year.

The new facility will help people learn more about the history of the Observatory at Jodrell Bank, including its pivotal role in the development of radio astronomy, its work in space tracking and its contribution to defence during the cold war.

Professor Teresa Anderson“This is fantastic news and provides the final piece in the jigsaw to enable us to move ahead with this very exciting project. We are very grateful to all our funders for their support and are looking forward to creating something very special to celebrate the history of this unique place”
Professor Teresa Anderson, Director Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
The site was recently selected as the UK’s next candidate for nomination to UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and has numerous listed structures, including the Grade I listed Lovell and Mark II telescopes.

Building on this proud history, the astronomers at Jodrell Bank, part of The University of Manchester’s School of Physics & Astronomy, currently operate e-MERLIN, the UK’s national facility for radio astronomy, and the site hosts the international headquarters of the upcoming Square Kilometre Array.

Professor Teresa Anderson, Director of the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre said: “This is fantastic news and provides the final piece in the jigsaw to enable us to move ahead with this very exciting project. We are very grateful to all our funders for their support and are looking forward to creating something very special to celebrate the history of this unique place.

“I’d like to place on record my thanks to David Rutley MP who has been tireless in his support for our plans.”

Mr Rutley added: “I am delighted that the Chancellor has responded so positively to the request for funding for Jodrell Bank’s ‘First Light’ heritage gallery. This is a significant boost to the project and will make a huge difference in enabling this world-leading and iconic site to promote its history and inspire the next generation of scientists. I am very grateful to Professor Anderson and her colleagues for their outstanding hard work to get the project to this stage, and look forward to seeing this great initiative come to fruition.”