Housing developments at two former industrial sites will go before Cheshire East’s strategic planning board next week, with approval recommended.
In Crewe, Countryside Properties and co-applicant Bombardier Transportation UK intends to demolish former works buildings, including a boundary wall along West Street, and build 239 houses and 24 apartments are recommended for approval.
The proposal was deferred in August, with Countryside asked to do more to convince the board on design and layout. Chief among its efforts has been a reduction of the scheme by six dwellings and increasing its open space by 50%, to around 0.75 acres. The applicants are advised by Lichfields and eScape Urbanists.
The 17-acre application site is vacant and unallocated in the Local Plan, and consists of a sizable part of the Bombardier engineering works, currently housing a huge brick and metal-clad former railway engine repair building, a warehouse and hardstanding. The site adjoins the still-functional part of the Bombardier works to the east and the Chester railway line to the south
Countryside and Your Housing Group completed a 143-home scheme on part of the Bombardier site in 2014
Officers point out that the project brings a significant volume of housing to a brownfield site, balancing against this a lack of provision of affordable homes and increasing strain on local facilities. The developer has used the Vacant Building Credit calculation, introduced to encourage brownfield development, to allow it to proceed without any affordable housing provision.
The strategic planning board will also consider the proposal by Bluefield to make revisions to an outline consent at the former Albion Works chemicals site in Moston, 3.5km from Sandbach, a scheme where it originally proposed offices, but last year changed the scheme to housing-led.
Officers recommend that committee delegate to the head of planning to approve, subject to the removal of the Health & Safety Executive’s ‘advise against’ consultation response.
This is an outline consent, seeking permission for either 100 homes and a care home, or up to 120 homes and 28,000 sq ft of retail, with offices, family pub/restaurant and other facilities. Agreements are in place with Brenntag for a 10,000 sq ft office and LNT for a care home.
Although some remediation has taken place at the cleared site, the HSE said that there are sufficient reasons on safety grounds to advise against consent. The council’s contaminated land officer, however, has no objection to the application, being satisfied that contaminated areas would be contained and sited well away from dwellings.
Walsignham Planning is advising Bluefield, with TerraConsult providing specialist advice on contamination issues and masterplanning work coming from Design by Pod.