Hermitage Lane refused

Proposal off Netherlea/Hermitage Lane refused at the Northern Planning Committee yesterday.

Notice of decision

Although Cheshire East stated that the site was sustainable for rural housing the committee fortunately refused the application for 26 houses off Netherlea on the basis that the development would be in Open Countryside and Cheshire East now has a 5 year housing supply.  Other considerations were that Jodrell Bank had objected to an increase in housing in the village and that the proposal had an inadequate road layout.

It is worth repeating that the published Local Plan confirmed that the majority of Goostrey’s development needs are to be met by Holmes Chapel – therefore there is no need for more large housing estates in the village.  The parish council’s recent Site Allocation for the Grange site was not a material consideration and did not influence the outcome.

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  1. Reply

    Good news. A skirmish won but will the battle continue?

    All in all a very interesting afternoon.

    The opposition case was clearly and eloquently delivered by Andrew Kolker, Cath McCubbin and Caroline Goodchild.

    The Case Officer’s presentation to the Committee was very poor and demonstrated a poor level of understanding of the Application. At one point I thought he was going to recommend the application for approval as he glossed over or failed to mention most of the negatives! Perhaps this was because he had already recommended the Application for refusal.

    The Case Officer mentioned that there had been “some opposition” but he failed to mention numbers. I reckon objections came from around 70 / 80 different houses across the Village which surely would have had an impact on the Committee.

    More surprisingly, he stated that it was a sustainable development, despite the fact that the proposed development fails to meet over 60% of the standards. Apparently, it is considered “sustainable” as the standards which could not be met could be met could be met nearby!

    There seems little point in having standards and then saying that it does not matter if most of the standards are not met. It would be interesting to see how this interpretation fits with the NPPF.

    The representative from Ashall’s, speaking in support on behalf of the Applicant, could also have been challenged on a number of his statements but unfortunately the Committee members did not have the background knowledge or will to do this.

    It is very frustrating to sit at the meeting and hear what is being said without having the opportunity to “butt in” to ask a question, ask for clarification etc when you know what is being said is plainly not correct or is stretching the truth. From Cath’s reaction at times it was evident that she felt as frustrated as I did!

    Some of the statements made and the important information which was glossed over or poorly delivered could have been accepted at face value and influenced a Committee member’s decision.

    Fortunately the Committee confirmed the recommendation to refuse the Application.

    The level of knowledge and comment from some of the Committee members was also an eye opener.

    Apart from making the correct decision, the above reflected poorly on a very important “process”, the decisions from which have an impact on so many people.

    Finally, if any planning application that has been refused by Cheshire East on the basis that they can prove that they have met their 5 year housing supply goes to Appeal then I hope that Cheshire East will fight the appeal to the bitter end regardless of cost.

    Cheshire East has invested a lot of time and effort in proving their five year housing supply and all of this would be wasted if they did not fight the first appeal as a test case to prove (or otherwise) the robustness of their conclusion that the five year housing supply has been met.

    • Reply

      Thank you Martin for your kind words. I find it incredible that local planners feel that they can disagree with “weight” to a very detailed three page letter from one of the worlds leading Radio Astro Physicists objecting to the development.

      They seem to be under the impression that as Twemlow was permitted then further development has no impact on Jodrell Bank. As one Councillor did say it could be akin to light pollution, one or two makes no difference but lots do!

      Sandy the Harrison Drive proposal was approved by CW&C planners again under difficult circumstances!

      • Reply

        Well done to all involved regards Hermitage Lane, and commiserations to those people on Harrison Drive and Lea Avenue. With respect to Cath’s comments on Jodrell Bank, it is unfortunately the precedent set by the recent Twemlow development that will cause the harm to Jodrell Bank, opening up the potential for development at sites like Hermitage Lane in the village. It is the overall increase in housing around the Observatory and the interference that this can generate which apparently is the problem, with the number of houses and proximity to the observatory being the key issue. We will need to be very careful with any future development we as a village propose, to ensure that we do not further undermine Jodrell Banks’s consultation zone and do not make the precedent set by the Twemlow development any worse for them. It is encouraging that the Local Plan recognises the majority of development needs for Goostrey will be met by Holmes Chapel, as this will also help Jodrell Bank. I note that Jodrell Bank have no objections to the latest proposal for 100 houses at Saltersford Corner in Holmes Chapel, and this is certainly a more sustainable site than the ones that can be proved in Goostrey. Nobody likes change and development near them but unfortunately difficult choices have to be made at the end of the day.

      • Reply

        Can anyone clarify if there is a clearly defined and agreed zone around Jodrell Bank as regards their interest in Planning Applications or does it extend to all of Cheshire East (and West)?

  2. Reply

    Quote from Nicholas Boles, Sec of State for Communities and Local Government, in parliament yesterday in answer to a question from Fiona Bruce, asking what help there is to protect from legal appeal by developers where there is no local plan yet in place for their area:

    “The National Planning Policy Framework sets out clearly that plans may gain weight in planning decisions before they are formally adopted or made. We have now set out in planning guidance where circumstances may justify the refusal of planning permission on grounds that an application would be premature in relation to the emerging local or neighbourhood plan.”

  3. Reply

    It is clear that both the Cheshire East and Cheshire West Committee processes need reviewing.

    Yes, supporters and objectors should to have their say but this week’s events clearly shows that the Committee Members do not have the knowledge or expertise to “cross-examine” those who speak OR the Case Officer. They are therefore heavily swayed to support the Case Officer’s recommendation.

    I would suggest that, in addition to the Committee members, those supporters and objectors who have spoken should also be allowed to ask questions as well. This would ensure that the more contentious statements are challenged.

    It would lengthen the process but, at the end of the day, do we want Committee Members to make decisions based on a full understanding of all the issues arising?

  4. Reply

    Jodrell Bank have a 6 mile zone where they are consulted on developments. They try to be accommodating by suggesting appropriate building materials for proposals that are at a distance or shielded by existing houses or topography. But the risk is incremental. The larger number of houses, the closer the development, the greater the risk. Will they only know that their research has been damaged once it’s too late, when too many houses have been built too close?

  5. Reply

    the Jodrell Bank Consultation Zone is defined in The Town and Country Planning (Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope) Direction 1973. Further guidance is reported to be issued with the Site Allocation consultation documents later this year which may update this Direction.

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