CEC’s draft Site Allocations for Goostrey

The Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD) is part two of the Local Plan and identifies additional sites for development throughout Cheshire East.  It will be presented to the Strategic Planning Board at the end of August – followed by a six week public consultation from 11th Sept.  The revised version will have a second public consultation then goes to an Inspector for approval (probably) in 2019.  The housing figure for Goostrey is low due to its location in one of the most sensitive areas for radio interference for the Jodrell Bank Observatory.”

A Settlement Report  on Goostrey supports the overall SADPD..here are some extracted relevant points:    “…it is recommended that no sites should be allocated in the SADPD for development in Goostrey.”

2.1 Goostrey is a village with its own settlement boundary, set in the Open Countryside, as defined on the Proposals Map of the Congleton Borough Local Plan First Review, adopted in 2005. It is identified as a Local Service Centre (“LSC”) in the adopted Local Plan Strategy (“LPS”), and has a 2016 mid-year population estimate of 3,800 people.  [LG: yes we disagree with it being an LSC and all know that Goostrey village does not have 3800 residents !]

2.1 The focus for Goostrey over the LPS period is that of limiting any further impact, exacerbated by development, on the globally important work being carried out Jodrell Bank Observatory. It is also anticipated that Goostrey’s development needs will be largely provided for in Holmes Chapel (LPS ¶8.34).

Settlement Report Aug 2018.png

3.7  There were 8 housing completions (net) in Goostrey between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2017, and 0.00ha employment land take up. Commitments as at 31 March 2017 were 8 dwellings and 0.00ha of employment land.  A planning permission for 38 dwellings, granted by Cheshire West and Chester Council, does not technically count towards Cheshire East’s figures, however, in a practical sense the proposed development will also be part of Goostrey, and therefore should not be ignored in the context of considering the village’s growth.

3.8  Taking into account existing completions/take up and commitments, this leaves a remaining requirement for the provision of 0 dwellings and 0.00ha of employment land over the remaining Plan period.

4.7  Goostrey has small centre with limited services. However, it has representation from all of the respective retail and service sectors, which provides a key resource to local residents. There is a vacant unit that reduces the vitality of the centre, given the small number of overall units. Although Goostrey has a lower level of retail and service units than expected in a LSC, it is recognised that the centre provides an important role in catering for the day to day needs of the local community and as such support its designation as a local centre (“LC”).

To read the whole report click here – Goostrey Settlement Report.

It is certainly interesting to see the Allocations throughout all the Local Service Centres:Draft SADPD 2.2.png


Precautionary approach to development in JBO zone justified

A report on recent Appeals at CEC was presented to the Southern Planning Committee earlier this month by CEC’s Head of Planning Regulations to provide ‘information that should help measure and improve the Council’s quality of decision making in respect of planning applications’.

‘..electro-magnetic interference arising from small scale developments can and does have a harmful impact on the workings of the Telescope and should be resisted to protect this important asset.’

The report highlights the recent Appeal for 6 houses in Goostrey that was dismissed – due to the ‘significant weight’ given to the impact on the Lovell and work of JBO – recognised to be of ‘global importance’.  Developers take note!

The Lovell radio telescope

As this is relevant to current/future applications in the Goostrey area, as part of the JBO Consultation Zone, I will reproduce the particular section in full:

5.5  Application ref. 16/4306C was subject to an appeal decision on 18 January 2018 following an Inquiry in October 2017. The proposal was for a small scale housing development of 6 dwellings on a site adjacent to the settlement boundary of Goostrey. The key issue for this appeal was the impact on the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope. The appeal was dismissed due to the impact on the telescope as a result of cumulative exceedances in the levels of interference for radio astronomy. Significant weight was attached to the impact on the research facility, recognised of global importance.

5.6  This decision follows earlier appeal decisions that have been dismissed for larger developments where the Council has sought to uphold local plan policies for the protection of Jodrell Bank Observatory. In the light of those decisions, the local planning authority has been applying significant weight to the cumulative impacts on Jodrell Bank, even when individually the impacts have been relatively minor. This decision confirms that electro-magnetic interference arising from small scale developments can and does have a harmful impact on the workings of the Telescope and should be resisted to protect this important asset. The decision emphasises some of the complexities of assessing the individual impacts beyond purely the scale of the development, with location, proximity and orientation just some of the determinative factors.

5.7  The decision recognises that there has been a degree of inconsistency through both LPA decision and Appeal Decisions in relation to small scale developments in the Jodrell Bank Observatory consultation zone. In large part this has arisen from the nature of consultation responses that the Council now receives which are now worded to demonstrate the harmful impact of small scale and cumulative developments.

5.8 Whilst it should be recognised that there may be an opportunity to improve consistency through policy and working with Jodrell Bank on the wording of consultation responses, this Appeal Decision emphasises and justifies a precautionary approach to any new housing development in the Jodrell Bank consultation zone.

The report recommends that members of the committee note the contents to ‘learn from outcomes and to continue to improve the Council’s quality of decision making on planning applications.’

To read the report click the link: Appeals Review Southern Planning Committee August 2018.


Comments close on Twemlow office block 22 Aug

(Approved 19th October 2018)

Comments on the proposal for offices at the entrance to the exMoD site close on 22nd August (Wednesday).   JBO are yet to comment but if they don’t object then it would be an improvement on the old derelict buildings.

However Jodrell Bank Observatory has previously objected to activity in this area, stating “This is a general direction in which there is already significant development close to the telescope”  for instance 4 houses by Hiverley refused in Feb18, 6 houses opposite exMod entrance Dec16, 2 houses at Hiverley Cottage and 14 at Twemlow Manor Fields in Aug16.  It is common knowledge now that it is the cumulative effect of increased electro-magnetic interference that concerns JBO, though at least offices only operate 9-5 ish rather than 24hrs a day as dwellings would.

No applications in this area should be considered without JBO’s comments but equally they should not be prejudged.  It is surprising that Cheshire East said it is unlikely that the block of 14 offices proposed on Twemlow Lane ‘will be a concern’ to JBO in their Pre-planning advice  :

Although this proposal would introduce electronic interference with the assumed reintroduction of office equipment, the existing use, which includes an element of office space, could be re-introduced at anytime. As such, it is unlikely that … Jodrell Bank will be a concern as the impact upon JBO is likely to be neutral.” Nick Hulland Senior Planning Officer at CEC

The existing Sui Generis (unique in planning terms) buildings are “currently unfit for human occupation” and cannot be renovated due to asbestos so couldn’t “be re-introduced”;  it would undoubtedly be an improvement to have replacement buildings with change of use to offices that blend with the area – but not at the expense of of the Lovell’s efficiency.

As JBO look at proposals on a case-by-case basis they will be submitting their view on whether the offices will cause increased electro-magnetic impairment, after all there is bound to be a difference from a building that has been derelict and quiet for decades to a bank of 14 offices catering to a new community of workers, no matter what shielding is incorporated.

If JBO don’t object then the new office block (and the local business opportunities that it could offer) would be an improvement on the existing, untended building.

Proposal for 8 houses at the Grange Livery

An application has been submitted for outline planning for 8 houses on the site of The Grange livery’s stables and menage off Station Road.

Link to application: 18/4079C

The last date for submitting comments is the 12th September.  The CEC planning page states that the decision is due by 9th October by ‘delegated authority’ rather than committee.

As the site is a mere 1.75 km of open countryside from the Lovell telescope, and given recent refusals and dismissed appeals in the village following JBO objections, it could be argued that going to Committee would be preferable.

[further details to follow]

Grange site for 8 houses



Perseids meteor showers over this weekend

If the skies are clear over the next few days….and you are willing to gaze skyward at midnight onwards…….you should see ‘shooting stars’, or rather meteors burning up in earth’s atmosphere.  I saw half a dozen stunners last night til clouds rolled in #- here’s a ‘how to’ from @virtualastro.