Cheshire housing inquiry opens

Simon Donohue

A planning inquiry started today into Cheshire East Council's refusal to grant permission for the construction of 160 homes on a greenfield site in Sandbach.

The appellants in the inquiry are Taylor Wimpey and Seddon Homes.

Held at the Municipal Buildings in Crewe, the inquiry is being heard by Planning Inspector Philip Major and is scheduled to last for eight days.

Outlining the scope of the appeal, the inspector said the main issues under consideration were the availability of a five-year housing land supply and associated policies; impact on the character and appearance and loss of countryside; issues relating to traffic and congestion; and issues relating to the loss of agricultural land.

Cheshire East Council is represented by Richard Humphreys QC. Taylor Wimpey and Seddon Homes are represented by Paul Tucker QC.

Around 40 members of the public, representatives from action groups and other developers proposing residential schemes in Cheshire East were also at the hearing. Several people representing groups opposed to developments said they want to address the inquiry.

Among those who identified themselves when asked by the inspector were representatives from Campaign to Protect Rural England, planning consultancy DPP, Alsager Action Group and Congleton Road Residents Action.

In his opening statement, Tucker urged the inspector to grant permission to the scheme on the basis that Cheshire East was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of land for local housing and that local impact from the development would be within accepted policy guidelines.

The hearing continues.

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