Shavington Affordable Housing July 2019

Affordable housing scheme set for refusal by Cheshire East

Charlie Schouten

A 100%-affordable scheme of 44 homes in Shavington is set to be refused by Cheshire East Council after its design and impact on the countryside was criticised by planning officers.

The proposals by housing association The Guinness Partnership and Keyworker Homes are for 44 houses, with a mix of one to four-bedroom properties, all of which will be available for either shared ownership or affordable rent.

These cover a  greenfield site just outside Shavington, which has had a chequered history; outline plans for 39 houses were put forward in 2013, and were approved; however, an appeal was launched against the conditions stipulated on the site by Cheshire East, and the Planning Inspector awarded costs against the council for “unreasonable behaviour”.

A reserved matters application was then put forward in 2016 but was refused in July 2017.

With a recommendation to refuse ahead of next week’s planning committee, the latest proposals do not appear to have fared better; planning officers have argued against the scheme going ahead based on its impact on the open countryside as well as criticising its “poor” design and layout.

The applicant had argued the development would “enhance the local settlement and provide much-needed quality housing for the area” and the homes would contribute towards addressing a shortfall in affordable housing in Cheshire East.

However, council planners pointed out the proposals were contrary to existing planning policy, with the site not designated for development under the borough’s existing Local Plan; while smaller-scale affordable housing schemes are allowed on non-designated sites, the maximum number of homes is capped at 10.

The planning officers also said the “poor” layout “fails to take the opportunities available for improved the character and quality of the area”, while pointing out an existing bat roost exists in one of the farm buildings to be cleared as part of the scheme.

Criticising the design, officers said: “The existing buildings on this site are to be demolished as part of the proposed development and this was accepted as part of the outline application.

“In this case it is unfortunate that the architectural detailing of the existing buildings on the site has not been transferred over to the proposed dwellings to reference the local vernacular and original character of the area.

“The proposed dwellings give the impression of a front facing development. However, the spacing does not reflect the grain of development that is common to the area and opens up views through the site to the rear of properties placed further into the site.

“The hierarchy of the street and subsequent reinforcement of the front boundary treatment is not clear nor is the allocation of surface materials to the carriage way or footpaths.”

Cheshire East’s southern planning committee is due to make a decision on the project on 7 August.

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I know this location I used to live local, I had to move out were I lived as we couldn’t afford local prices for a family home. “In this case it is unfortunate that the architectural detailing of the existing buildings on the site has not been transferred over to the proposed dwellings to reference the local vernacular and original character of the area’ Its next door to a petrol station, shop and car repair garage, and is infill. Well done Cheshire East Planning much needed affordable homes (Includes 1 and 4 bed) for local families not delivered. Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot. No doubt other families will have to move out of the area where they were born and move away from family support network. Good grief!!!

By Geoff