Muller Nantwich
The council is furious at losing out on in a planning appeal for 189 homes in Nantwich

Cheshire East fires off Jenrick letter

Neil Tague

The local authority’s leader and cabinet planning head have issued an open letter to the Secretary of State strongly criticising his decision to grant a planning appeal in the borough.

Cheshire East has formally written to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for housing, communities and local government, expressing its dismay at his ruling in favour of Muller Property Group’s proposals for a mixed-use scheme in Stapeley, near Nantwich.

Muller’s scheme, first proposed in 2012 and subsequently reworked in 2017, includes up to 189 homes, local centre shopping, a primary school, village green and 40,000 sq ft of commercial space.

The local authority believes that, with a Local Plan and neighbourhood plans in place, it has been a victim of the Government’s national housebuilding drive.

In the letter, leader Cllr Sam Corcoran and cabinet member for planning Toni Fox said: “Cheshire East has embraced the need to deliver appropriate level of housing across the borough with a Local Plan target of 36,000 homes over the plan period to 2030 – which is well over household projections for the area.

“For the last two years, Cheshire East has seen more than 3,000 housing completions – the highest figures ever recorded in Cheshire East. It puts the borough among the highest-performing councils for housebuilding investment.

“This council has a very robust housing land supply and is on target to deliver that housing in a planned and sustainable manner by also bringing forward the delivery of supporting infrastructure in accordance with our adopted Local Plan Strategy.

“We are, therefore, dismayed by your decision to allow the planning appeal at Stapeley, despite the clear conflict with development plan policies on the grounds that it delivers more housing.

“Many thousands of Cheshire East residents have engaged in the Local Plan process over many years and have also been involved in the development of more than 30 neighbourhood plans across the borough. Your decision to place such significant weight on the delivery of housing undermines the principles of effective plan making.

“It will leave many, particularly around Nantwich, to question why they bothered. The decision flies in the face of the government’s stated commitment to a plan-led system.

“Cheshire East is an area promoting substantial plan-led growth, yet it is still vulnerable to unplanned, speculative housing development. The public’s confidence that up-to-date plans provide certainty as to what development they will see take place in their local area has taken a significant blow.

“Your decision will inevitably have further consequences and will likely lead to a further scramble for developers to seek permission for other unplanned sites.

“This will not only cause further disquiet for residents but also risks diverting valuable resources away from making progress on allocated site applications, causing delay to the very sites which would be able to deliver housing in a timely manner. It is notable that it will be 10 years from application submission for this site to actually deliver any beneficial housing.”

Although putting on record its anger over this issue, the council has said that it has been advised that any appeal is pointless, with no basis for appeal left open by the ruling.

Alsager-headquartered Muller, which bills the project as Nantwich South, has also struggled to win Cheshire East round with its plans for a mixed-use scheme in Sandbach, refused for a third time this February.

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By Mr Maxwell Benjamin

As in Devizes housing is being developed without appropriate improved infrastructure leading to traffic congestion, and a strain on local resources. Devizes also voted on a housing plan for the area which is being ignored. The use of the phrase mixed housing also appears to be ignored as housing seems to be marketed as luxury, which is sub text for not affordable to a lot of local young people. Eileen

By Anonymous

Congratulations to Cheshire East for standing against unwanted loss of Greenbelt. Local authorities can successfully fight manoeuvred planning decisions on behalf of their residents, as shown at Hillingdon – v-HS2LTD (Court of Appeal 2020) and Tower Hamlets. The UK is watching with interest.

By St George's Conservation Trust

Cheshire East Council really needs to look at itself, they question the need and the pipeline of sites they have available yet as an authority they have delayed on their own site to the South of Macclesfield. the sites sits there with an outline planning consent which hasnt moved forward at all.

They delay on signing the road agreement and there has been no sign of the site coming to market.

I’m sorry but they can’t openly object when they themselves have caused this situation.

By concerned

The land isn’t Green Belt.

By Anonymous

concerned – you’re mistaken to say the south Macclesfield development hasn’t moved forward, a reserved matters application is currently under consideration.

By Sten

Nantwich does not need this housing. The town is small and schools, GP practices roads and the general infrastructure is already overwhelmed. All this type of housing does is suck in residents from elsewhere who then have to travel to work
as there is no employment in Nantwich. This is contrary to all environmental policies. All Muller is concerned with is greed and profit. Someone has posted a comment that it is not green belt land however it is a green fields and certainly not a brown field sit.

By Dabber

It’s a little two faced of Cheshire East Council to be kicking up a fuss about this when they are quite happy to grant permission to build on Greenfield sites to the north west of Crewe. Thousands of new houses but no real improvement to infrastructure within the town or a good town centre.

By Trevor

The high average property prices in Nantwich show very clearly that it does need new housing.

By brero