MONEY from a housing developer will be used to pay for a new playground – but in the wrong village to the dismay of Goostrey residents. Knutsford Guardian 27th March 2016
Goostrey resident David Johnson is in the process of setting up a Friends of Booth Bed Lane Playground and is about to survey users on their priorities for improvement and development of the playground.
He was hoping that section 106 money, from the Bloor Homes Woodlands development which is within 700 metres of the playground, could be used to implement the resulting changes requested by the playground users.
Section 106 payments are intended to make a development proposal acceptable by providing funds to compensate councils for the extra demands that the development will make on local facilities.
But David was told that the money had been paid to neighbouring Cheshire West and Chester Council and was earmarked for a playground more than 3km from the development in the village of Allostock.
“We are not blaming Bloor Homes for this situation,” said Cllr Peter Godfrey, chairman of Goostrey Parish Council.
“The houses, although adjacent to Goostrey, are actually in Allostock Parish in Cheshire West and Chester.
“As a condition of granting Planning Permission, CWaC Council required the developer under a Section 106 Agreement to pay a contribution around £84,000 towards education and around £40,000 towards the provision of open spaces, £20,000 of which was earmarked for formal play areas such as the Booth Bed Lane playground.
David added: “Parents and children living in the new houses will be able to walk to the Booth Bed Lane playground in less than 10 minutes – how many of them will get in their cars and drive to Allostock?”
Cllr Godfrey added: “Surely, even at this late stage, CWaC could recognise the unfairness of the current situation and agree to transfer the funds to where they will be needed to provide facilities to the people occupying the new homes.
“Goostrey is a small village with limited facilities.
“Goostrey Parish Council and many residents objected to the Bloor Homes planning application on the grounds that people purchasing the 38 houses would swamp the existing village facilities; however CWaC approved the application even though it adjoins Goostrey and Cheshire East. It is ironic that they are now holding onto the funds intended to provide facilities for the newcomers.”
CHESHIRE West and Chester Council said it could not help as it does not have any formal reciprocal agreement with Cheshire East Council whereby Section 106 monies from one development could be used in another borough.
Cllr Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “As is usual in many residential applications, the developer is required to make financial contributions towards education.
“As the houses will be in the Cheshire West and Chester area, the council is legally required to ensure sufficient school places are available, therefore a sum was secured from the developer towards such school places within West Cheshire.
“As no informal or formal space was provided within the actual development site a contribution was secured for the provision of informal open space and for the provision of formal play space within the local area.
Martin Aston, design and technical director for Bloor Homes North West, said: “The vast majority of The Woodlands site, including 38 of the 39 houses, falls within the Cheshire West and Chester local authority area.
As a result, the Section 106 planning agreement for the development, which includes a contribution from Bloor Homes of £39,748 towards a play area and public open space, was made with Cheshire West and Chester Council.
“During initial discussions about the development, we encouraged Cheshire East Council to enter dialogue with Cheshire West and Chester Council regarding the allocation of S106 funding.
“However, the responsibility for deciding where the money is allocated ultimately lies with the local authorities concerned.”
Cheshire East Council was asked to comment on the situation.