ENGINE OF NORTH SCHEME LEIGHTON
The proposals from Engine of the North make up part of the North West Crewe Package

Crewe primed for 1,200 homes

Neil Tague

Two major housing schemes are set to advance on the back of Cheshire East’s £36.5m highways expansion project to the north west of the town.

The local authority’s strategic planning board will next week be asked to give outline approval for a 400-home project put forward by council development company Engine of the North; along with an 850-home masterplan proposed by Bloor Homes and Vistry Partnerships. Avison Young is the planning advisor on both projects.

Both schemes are included in the North West Crewe Package, the housing and employment expansion plan built around a £36.5m investment in new highways infrastructure. CPO powers for the 1.8-mile series of road projects were approved in May.

In the same area, a proposal by Fairfield Partnership for 400 homes off Flowers Lane was approved in 2018, while Torus and Mulbury are now seeking reserved matters on a further 400-home scheme.

Engine of the North’s application site covers 47.7 acres across three parcels of currently agricultural land, the main part lying to the east and north of the proposed new road and west of Minshull New Road – which is effectively at present the western edge of Crewe’s built-up area – with its northern boundary formed by the Bloor application. The second part is west of the new road, and the third parcel to the south, north of Leighton Brook. IBI Group is the scheme’s architect.

The proposal has attracted an objection from Crewe Town Council on the grounds that it only proposes 10% affordable housing, against the target 30% – CTC arguing that “it is an opportunity for the local authority to set an example” even if that means accepting a lower land value than the £6m assumed in its independently verified viability assessment. The report prepared by planning officers states that the developer will seek to achieve 20% affordable housing if possible.

Around 12 acres remains within the allocation at the southern end of this site, which could be used in future to bring forward the quota of employment space earmarked for the site.

The Bloor site comprises 117 acres, in two parcels that effectively wrap around Leighton Hospital, which is itself subject to redevelopment proposals, and is also to accommodate the local retail centre required by the expansion area, and provide space for a primary school.

The first site, south of Flowers Lane, sits east of the A530 Middlewich Road and the hospital, north of land leading down to Leighton Brook with Bentley Motors beyond. The second plot is north of Flowers Lane and adjoins open countryside to the north with the village of Bradfield Green to the north west.

Again, Crewe Town Council has registered its concern over the lack of affordable housing outlined in the plans at this stage – a 10% viability threshold again being proposed – and reiterates its view that no consents should be given until proposals in total for the Leighton West LPS4 and Leighton LPS5 allocations have come forward.

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Why can’t more affordable housing be catered for? Large terraced houses would be of benefit if of decent design and construction. And could we have more than just a minute amount of bungalows built? Older people might want to scale down after they have retired, which would free up their homes to help the housing market, and especially help the elderly.

By Melvyn Brownell

Where will the medical services be along with the schools? Where are the jobs and roads capable of carrying the extra traffic? The town centre is being rebuilt without any thought to what shops people want.

By Garry Rimmer

What about people who are older, who can’t afford the deposit for a house but continue to pay high rental amounts each month. What are the opportunities for them to have a nice cosy new home? They could probably be able to afford the mortgage repayments just can’t get a deposit together. We are the forgotten people, even though we have worked all our adult lives.

By Jan Howatd

All these new houses being developed and maybe a school and yet no mention of a gp surgery. All surgeries are over crowded as it is, and yet this town is expanding with no facilities. Ie: town centre

By Anonymous