CWAC housing rejection overturned

A development of 113 new homes near Northwich has been approved following an appeal by Russell Homes.

The planning inspector overturned a decision by Cheshire West & Chester Council, which had rejected a proposal for homes on the 10-acre Hill Top Farm, off the A556 at Davenham.

The planning inspector said he judged the development was sustainable, disagreeing with the council’s refusal. He found the development would have little visual or environmental impact and would bring significant benefits to the area in the form of new homes, affordable properties and highways improvements.

The appeal was brought by Emery Planning on behalf of Russell Homes. The outline approval paves the way for detailed plans to be drawn up and development to begin within the next three years.

Daniel Kershaw, director of Russell Homes, said: “We are extremely pleased with the inspector’s decision, particularly with his agreement with us that the proposed development is not only sustainable but also offers benefits to the area in terms of meeting housing need and improving the local highways.”

In addition to rejecting the council’s objection, the report dismisses concerns raised by local residents as part of the initial planning process with regard to road safety on the A556. The inspector said the developer’s proposals would significantly improve the existing situation with the inclusion of a traffic light junction for vehicles coming into the site, a Toucan pedestrian crossing and a reduction in the 70mph speed limit, all designed to enhance road safety on the A556 and improve access to the dual carriageway from an existing pinch point on Hartford Road.

Other concerns addressed include his judgement that there would be little impact on local amenities, including medical facilities, and that any impact on education facilities could be addressed with a developer’s S106 contribution. He found there would be no harm to the environment or the neighbouring Poors Wood, which would actually be extended with the developer handing over some of its own woodland to be managed by the Poors Wood Trust, which made no objection to the original plans.

In his conclusion, the inspector said he did not agree with the original reasons for refusal and states: “none of these matters establishes that there would be harm which is significant or demonstrably outweighs the benefits, the most significant of which include housing provision, affordable housing provision, and improvements to the highway network.”

Alison Freeman from Emery Planning added: “We are delighted with the decision, which endorses our approach to this proposal at both the application and appeal stages. The decision is clear that proposals which represent sustainable development in line with the NPPF should be approved.”

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