Cheshire East has refused planning for a stable block and ménage near Swanwick Hall in an effort to preserve the setting of Grade II-listed building. Link: 19/1653C
Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee agreed with planning officers on Wednesday that a proposed new equestrian business on land near Swanwick Hall, off Booth Bed Lane, would harm the building’s setting.
It comes three years after the Government upheld a CEC decision not to allow 119 new homes on the land due to its proximity to Swanwick Hall – and officers felt any social benefits to the new equestrian business would not outweigh its harm to the site.
Cllr Ken Morris, chairman of Goostrey Parish Council, said: “CEC has already spent a lot of time and money protecting the fields in this location and there have been a whole series of refusals. Any public benefits would be very small – there are already established commercial liveries and menages operating in Goostrey.” [ The PC supported the Heritage Officer’s report which said….] “There would be an unacceptable impact and a harmful precedent for development in these fields.”
Cllr Morris added that the road leading to the site is too narrow for pedestrians to stand aside while wide vehicles pass by. That was a concern shared by Cllr Andrew Kolker, who suggested there is ‘just nowhere to leap to’ away from oncoming traffic.
The Conservative CEC member for Dane Valley also argued it is a ‘very sensitive area of land’ in light of the need to preserve Swanwick Hall. Cllr Kolker said: “I would be very nervous about challenging a decision that has been considered, not only by a planning inspector, but reaffirmed by the Secretary of State.”
But Andy Woodward, representing the developer, insisted the scheme would not cause harm to Swanwick Hall – pointing out that the Government’s decision was based on a major housing development. He said: “Surely a small equestrian business like this cannot possibly be viewed in a similar way as a housing estate? The hall is over 250m away from the gate, the grass track and the stables. The hall can’t be seen from any of those positions – so the hall can’t see them either.”
Cllr Kathryn Flavell, Labour, agreed with Mr Woodward – and suggested the business would be a ‘good use of the land’.
The scheme was narrowly rejected by six votes to five.