Muller tries again with Sandbach site

Cheshire developer Muller Property Group’s proposal for a site at Brookhouse Road, Sandbach lookS set to be knocked back for a second time.

Muller’s aspirations have clashed with those of Cheshire East Council several times in recent years, notably at Old Mill Road in Sandbach, where it has been refused consent three times.

The local authority’s planning committee, which meets on Wednesday 26 May, will consider the firm’s plans for Brookhouse Road, having refused a previous application in 2019.

Muller has now tweaked that scheme. The firm proposes to demolish the existing Croft building, and introduce a three-storey building with six ground floor commercial units offering either retail, food & beverage or business services; with 14 two-bedroom apartments above.

The intention is to develop on the Croft’s footprint site and the adjacent empty plot. The commercial units are generally between 1,000 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft each, totalling 7,570 sq ft, slightly smaller than the previous proposal.

Macclesfield-based Bower Mattin is the scheme’s architect, with Nexus Heritage advising on heritage aspects.

The site features active frontages to Brookhouse Lane, and to the side of the building facing George’s Walk and the post office; while at the site’s rear, there is also an active frontage where the building faces the pedestrian lane through to the High Street.

The design is for two blocks with three ground floor units in each, with a residents’ entrance link building in the middle.

Bower Mattin’s design & access statement says: “The proposals seek to provide an attractive mixed-use scheme as a positive addition to the townscape of Sandbach and to bolster both retail provision and town centre living.

“The scheme looks to address and enhance the street scene leading off George’s Walk and bring vacant town centre land back into use.

“It is intended to provide a strong edge at the boundary of the town centre conservation area and provide a positive transition between the historic centre and more recent larger scale patterns of modern development seen on the opposite side of Brookhouse Road.”

Although officers describe the plans as acceptable in most areas, such as impact on highways, amenity, and ecology, it is seated that the proposal “fails to take the opportunities available for improving the quality and character of the area,” namely the Sandbach conservation area and nearby listed buildings – although it is acknowledged the plans are preferable to the 2019 iteration.

The 2019 application was refused on the grounds that “the proposed development would be at the higher end of less than substantial harm” and ran counter to five Local Plan policies, a list reduced to three for the latest plans in officers’ view.

Sandbach Town Council is an objector. Opposition has come from 17 households, and support from three.

Brookhouse Road is described in documents from planning advisor Harris Lamb as a service road, providing access to housing on one side and to the Waitrose car park close to the A533 roundabout

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