The housing association heads to planning committee with hope as it looks to bring 73 homes to the LMR Club site, which has been derelict for a decade.
The Goddard Street club closed down in 2009, more than a century since its opening. Originally promoted as a coffee tavern to offer a leisure choice for non-drinking employees of Crewe’s railway works, it grew to have its own sports pitches and a small grandstand. All structures on site were demolished in 2012.
Wulvern Homes applied to build 74 one-, two-, and three-bedroom houses on the site in 2017 but permission was refused on grounds of over-development. The group then became part of the Guinness Partnership.
The developer is now looking to develop a scheme comprising 42 “independent living” apartments and 31 houses in a 100% affordable homes project.
A total of 25 of the houses would be three-bedroom and six would have two bedrooms. The apartments will be socially rented, and the houses available through shared ownership.
As a former sports ground, much of the site is classed as protected open space. In line with policy, where a playing pitch will be lost, a site has to be identified to invest in as mitigation. In this case, £80,000 is to be paid to improve facilities at Sutton Lane playing fields.
Although this site is 20 minutes drive from Goddard Street, Sutton Lane has emerged as the best option to put the contribution to work. Officers said the payment will fund a drainage system that will allow the full site to be used as playing pitches, which isn’t currently feasible.
Sport England’s holding objection could still be an issue: if SE isn’t swayed, the local authority will need to consult with the secretary of state should it grant approval. The sports body has said it is satisfied with the Sutton Lane idea in theory, but still requires more information on implementation before its holding objection is removed.
The recommendation from planning officers is that approval be granted, subject to the Section 106 agreement, with authority delegated to the head of planning to negotiate further with Sport England. Sums are also requested in health, education and highways as part of the S106.
The Guinness Partnership’s professional team includes planner Knights, architect the Bowker Sadler Partnership and landscaping consultant Ascerta. The developer is also advancing projects in Stockport, again working with Bowker Sadler, and on Salford’s Kiwi Street
The proposal will be considered by Cheshire East’s southern planning committee on 25 August.