The housing partnership can progress its 73-home, 100% affordable Goddard Street scheme, after members agreed to withhold a sports pitch contribution until a suitable location can be found.
Although there has been near-unanimous support for the housing project in itself, a proposal for 31 affordable houses and 42 independent living apartments on a long-abandoned sports and social club site, sports pitch provision had proven a sticking point.
Sport England had registered a holding objection, requesting a full-sized adult football pitch be found to replace that lost at Goddard Street.
The Guinness Partnership’s application was deferred at August’s meeting of Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee, as members questioned the suggestion that an £80,000 contribution should be spent on improvements at the Sutton Lane playing fields in Middlewich.
This led to officers suggesting a workaround, that the £80,000 should be kept back by the council and put to work as and when a site in Crewe might become available in the next five years.
Members preferred this option to the Middlewich plan, with authority now delegated to the head of planning, in consultation with the chair of the southern planning committee, to approve the plan subject to legal agreements.
There was some resistance at Wednesday’s southern planning committee meeting, with local councillors concerned that the money may be lost to the town, also suggesting alternative locations put forward had been dismissed too quickly.
A late representation was made to committee from Crewe FC, that the money could go towards the proposed development of the King George V playing fields, an idea described as not policy-copmliant at this point by planning officers.
The Guinness Partnership’s professional team includes planner Knights, architect Bowker Sadler Partnership and landscaping consultant Ascerta.