Galliford Try Regenda Crewe Homes

Cheshire East to depart from Local Plan with countryside homes approval

Cheshire East’s Southern planning committee is set to give consent to 40 affordable homes on open countryside, after planning officers said the project “justifies a departure” from the council’s development framework.

Galliford Try Partnerships plans to build 40 homes for housing association Regenda Homes on the land just off Sydney Road, next to a site currently being developed by David Wilson Homes, building 72 homes as part of its Meadow View scheme.

The land is designated as open countryside under Cheshire East’s Local Plan, but has not been put forward as a rural exception site; under the Local Plan this would lead to a presumption against any new residential development.

However, planning officers said: “It is considered that the benefits arising from proposed scheme of 40 affordable dwellings on this site weighs significantly in the planning balance, and would outweigh the disadvantages of the scheme, and justify a departure from the development plan.”

The site was originally on the planning committee’s agenda at the beginning of November, but a decision was deferred after the committee asked for more information on the development’s properties for affordable rent.

Since the previous meeting, the tenure mix of the project has been revised to include 13 units for affordable rent, and 27 units for shared ownership.

The original plans included 17 two-bed homes and 23 three-bed homes, all for shared ownership.

It has also been confirmed that the project will received an Homes & Communities Agency affordable housing grant of £1.1m since the earlier planning committee.

The committee had also asked Regenda to consider the addition of a play area in the development, but the housing association said this would lead to “the loss of at least one, or possibly two homes” and said this would “post a significant risk to project deliverability”.

As a result, no changes to the site’s layout have been made since the last committee.

Alongside Galliford Try Partnerships as contractor, the professional team also includes JDA as architect and planner Barton Willmore.

Cheshire East’s Southern planning committee will meet on 29 November.

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If the land had a protective status before “planners” ruled otherwise, we’re brownfield sites considered but rejected before this site was selected. Did “developers” prefer the fresh field to a brownfield to ensure a more profitable margin with these so-called cheaper homes?

By Martin Hunt