Midpoint 18 Total Developments

Council in row over developer contributions at Midpoint 18

Charlie Schouten

Despite approving Total Development’s proposals for 250,000 sq ft of industrial space at Middlewich’s Midpoint 18 last year, Cheshire East Council is now proposing to refuse planning permission after a row over developer contributions.

Cheshire East’s strategic planning board has been recommended to knock back the scheme next week with the developer’s proposed contribution towards the Middlewich Eastern Bypass in focus.

Total Developments originally secured consent for the scheme of eight industrial units in October 2018, subject to a contribution of £687,540 towards construction of the Middlewich link road.

The planning application is in hybrid form; the developer is seeking full permission for two units totalling 100,000 sq ft, along with outline permission for a further six units, totalling 147,000 sq ft. Total Developments bought the plot off Pochin Way for £4.1m in October 2017 from former Grafton Group chairman Michael Chadwick.

Despite the grant of planning permission last year, Chehisre East has now said the developer is “unwilling” to provide the financial contribution towards the road, and with funding towards the Middlewich bypass a condition of development at Midpoint 18, is recommending refusal at next week’s strategic planning board.

The council said: “The requirement for this contribution was set out in the original report and was not questioned by the developer prior to the resolution to approve being made.

“In addition, pre-application advice was given to the developer and this set out clearly that a contribution would be required and how it would be calculated. Subsequently the developer contacted the case officer questioning the need for the contribution and putting forward the argument that the contribution is not necessary.”

The Middlewich Eastern Bypass was given the green light by Cheshire East in April this year; the 1.7-mile, £59m link road will join the Salt Cellar roundabout on the A54 to Booth Lane, south of Middlewich. Construction is set to begin next year with Balfour Beatty as main contractor.

A decision is set to be made on Total Developments’ proposals on 20 November. The developer declined to comment.

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