Cheshire East loses Sandbach High Court review

Cheshire East Council has lost its battle against the development of 96 homes in Sandbach, with the High Court judge highlighting the council's "record of persistent under delivery of housing".

In April planning inspector M Middleton approved an application from Rowland Homes for the scheme at Elworth Hall Farm, after the developer was refused permission by the council in 2013 and issued an appeal.

As part of the public inquiry the council provided the planning inspectorate with a document outlining its revised five-year land position.

In the appeal decision letter dated 11 April, the planning inspector identified issues with the council's proposed pipeline of housing, pointing out that 40% of houses assumed to be delivered within five years do not have planning permission. The document also said that "their early development is by no means a certainty" and that "significant infrastructure requirements will undoubtedly cause delays".

In total, the inspector pointed to a housing shortfall of 3,000 homes over the past six years.

The council has lost a string of housing appeals at inquiry in the past two years as inspectors found it could not meet the legal requirement to show five years of deliverable housing plots.

The Cheshire East core strategy which outlines housing development plans for the next 20 years in currently under examination, with the inspector adjourning the hearings in October due to the large quantity of additional material supplied in the inquiry. The sessions are expected to recommence in December.

In his ruling on the Sandbach case, Justice Lewis said: "The conclusion that the claimant had a record of persistent under delivery of housing, not least because it had failed to meet its housing targets over almost 6 years since 2008/09, was one that the inspector was entitled to reach on the evidence before him.

"In deciding whether to allow the appeal and grant planning permission, the inspector correctly considered the question of whether or not the claimant was able to demonstrate it had a five-year supply of housing land. The inspector was entitled to reach the conclusion that the claimant had not done so and gave adequate intelligible reasons for that conclusion.

"In those circumstances, the inspector correctly considered the question of whether the proposed development represented sustainable development. He was entitled on the material before him to conclude that it was."

Rowland Homes and Cheshire East Council were unavailable to comment.

Your Comments

Why is this not surprising. CEC under the direction of Cllr Jones has failed at every attempt to block multiple housing proposals across the Borough in the High Court and at what cost, please tell us Cllr Jones. It’s about time the Council started accepting what Inspectors have to say and stop wasting our money on hopeless legal challenges and planning appeals because it’s track record is beyond embarrassing it is persistently under performing and hopeless.

By Dirt Digger

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