Plans for 350 homes at White Moss Quarry in Alsager have been recommended for refusal after planners criticised the scheme for not adhering to the borough’s design guide, despite part of the proposals being prepared by the design guide’s author, eScape Urbanists.
Housebuilder Persimmon’s plans for the site, which is currently a working quarry, were given outline approval in September 2015, and the company’s reserved matters application is now due to be discussed by the planning board.
The outline application also included a possible extra care facility and four retail units as well as public open spaces and children’s play areas.
The proposals on next week’s planning agenda include 350 homes over around 24 acres, covering half of the White Moss Quarry site, which has been designated for housing under the borough’s local plan. Around 30% of these have been earmarked as affordable.
The plans for the site have been designed by Persimmon’s in-house design team supported by Macclesfield-based eScape Urbanists.
However, planners have recommended the application for refusal based on a series of issues with the site’s design and layout, arguing it was “not in accordance with the requirements [of] Cheshire East’s design guide”. The design guide was also authored by eScape in 2017.
Singled out for particular criticism was the housing mix, with planners arguing affordable homes were “overly concentrated in certain areas of the site which is contrary to the design requirements of pepper-potting affordable units to provide a diverse community”.
The planners’ report also said there was “an under-representation of apartments” and added it was “unclear” what provision was being made for elderly residents.
The density of the scheme also came in for scrutiny with planners arguing the site “presents an overly-dense built edge” while its gateway “is not considered sufficiently dense or of a scale to appropriately define the key gateway into the site”.
The site’s nature as a former quarry also presented a “very distinct opportunity”, said the planners’ report, as the proposals have “not sufficiently exploited the context of the site as a wetland environment”.
Cheshire East’s strategic planning board is due to discuss the proposals on 27 June. eScape declined to comment.