Bellway’s plans for 157 homes off Chelford Road west of Macclesfield have been recommended for approval despite concerns over the impact the development could have on the environment.
A decision on the proposals by Cheshire East Council was deferred in January so that further information about peat removal could be provided to the planning committee.
Since then, the developer has confirmed that a total of 10,000 cubic metres of peat would need to be removed from the site, out of a total of 24,000 cubic metres excavated, following investigations by environmental consultancy E3p.
Henbury Parish Council, which has repeatedly objected to the plans, claims that this level of peat removal, coupled with plans to fell trees on the site, goes against the council’s climate change objectives.
The parish council has asked that further investigations into the issue of peat be carried out before a decision is made on the application. This request was backed by environmental consultancy Gavia, which Henbury Parish Council commissioned to look into E3p’s report.
However, while the council said the extraction and removal of peat “carries weight against the proposal”, that negative is partly outweighed by the benefits of bringing forward the site for residential development.
In the past, the parish council has also raised concerns about a lack of high school places in the area, and the impact Bellway’s scheme could have on local air quality, claiming there have been “serious shortcomings” in the way that the application has been handled.
Previously allocated as Green Belt, the site was released from this designation under the council’s local plan and earmarked for residential development.
The plot, opposite the Cock Inn outside Henbury, was originally brought forward to planning by brewer Frederic Robinsons but has since been taken on by housebuilder Bellway.
Since 2018, when outline plans for the site were approved, the housebuilder has submitted a reserved matters application for 134 homes, while also putting forward a full application for an additional 23 houses bordering Whirley Road to the North East.
The two planning applications include a mix of 157 one, two, three, and four-bedroom homes with the reserved matters application including 40 affordable units.
Cheshire East’s strategic planning board is to meet on Friday to discuss the proposals.