The revised planning application for a watersports centre in a disused quarry in Cheshire has once again been refused, with councillors going against the recommendation to finally approve the project two years after its first submission.
At Cheshire East Council’s planning committee on Wednesday 24 May, the plans for a £1.6m adventure park in Chelford was on the agenda as recommended for approval, subject to more than 30 conditions including mitigation plans for birds to ensure the protection of breeding grounds.
However, councillors overall decided the project would create an unacceptable scale of harm to bird life, and determined that the scheme was not a wholly suitable use in the Green Belt.
The scheme would see the transformation of a 55-acre former Hanson quarry into a visitor attraction with two lakes for wakeboarding, swimming, canoeing and paddle boarding.
The first planning application by Cheshire Lakes Community Interest Company was submitted in 2015 and has been approved and unapproved through a series of council administrative errors and changes of mind by committee members.
Tim Woodhead, managing director of Cheshire Lakes, said: “The Cheshire East strategic planning committee yesterday refused our application by six votes to five. This was despite being recommended for approval by the Cheshire East planning experts, having no objection from the RSBP, no objection from Manchester Airport and having over 90% of all our feedback from Cheshire East being positive including the local ward councillor.
“There was simply no legitimate reason to refuse the application. As Cheshire residents we are utterly appalled at the way this application has been handled and decided upon. They ignored the evidence in front of them, ignored their officers’ advice and ignored the views of the local communities they represent.
“We have already appealed the rejection from 2016, and we are hoping this appeal will be heard in summer. We now focus everything on the appeal and will not be giving up any time soon.”
Walsingham Planning is lead consultant alongside Aecom, Campbell Reith, FOB Design and Urban Green.