A proposed super inquiry which could have had major implications for developers wishing to build hundreds of new homes on greenfield sites in Cheshire East has been dropped.
The first in what could be a series of independent hearings into planning decisions will now take place on Tuesday 16 July.
Taylor Wimpey and Seddon Homes' appeal against a refusal of permission for up to 160 homes in Sandbach hinges on a claim that Cheshire East Council cannot demonstrate a five year supply of land for new housing, breaching the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework.
It is possible that the Planning Inspectorate could grant consent for the scheme if it agrees with the developers, paving the way for other developers to be successful in securing permission for similar schemes.
Scheduled to run from 16 to 19 July and 23 to 26 July, the inquiry will not hear appeals from other developers as originally suggested by the Planning Inspectorate.
Other developers have however been asked to supply statements to the inquiry and it it possible that the hearing could establish facts pertinent to subsequent applications and appeals.
To be held at the Municipal Buildings in Earle Street, Crewe, the inquiry relates to an application from Taylor Wimpey and Seddon Homes for permission to develop a 19-acre agricultural site to the rear of 130 Congleton Road, Sandbach.
Cheshire East's grounds for refusing consent for the scheme include it being "unsustainably located within the open countryside".
A document prepared on behalf of the council states that "the existence of a five year housing land supply is a key material consideration in the determination of the appeal" and insists that a 7.1 year supply of housing land can be demonstrated.
Cheshire East has still to produce its local plan in line with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework, which came into force in March 2012.
Cheshire East Council leader Cllr Michael Jones vowed earlier this year to oppose speculative housing development on "green gap" land, saying that he wants to protect the integrity of villages in the areas.
It is understood that as many as 15 developers want to challenge Cheshire East's housing land supply claims, some of them competing for the same sites.
Those sites include:
- Abbeyfields, Sandbach
- Congleton Road, Sandbach
- Sandbach Road North, Alsager
- Gresty Green Road and Crewe Road, Shavington
- Crewe Road, Crewe
- Elworth Hall Farm, Elworth
- Hassall Road, Alsager
- Audlem Road, Hankelow
- The Moorings and Goldfinch Close/Kestrel Close, Congleton
- Gresty Green Road, Shavington