Gresty Oaks masterplan

Himor takes on Duchy over Crewe housing

Developer Himor has objected to proposals by the Duchy of Lancaster, one of the Queen's estate managers, to build new villages outside Crewe.

Himor used its representations on the Draft Cheshire East Development Strategy to urge the council to reconsider its support for villages east of Crewe. Himor said the draft strategy is "seriously flawed, does not represent the appropriate strategy for Crewe and in many areas is entirely unjustified."

The Duchy of Lancaster said the two new villages in the A500 corridor would "contribute vital land required for the dualling and upgrading of the A500 to Junction 16 of the M6", but Himor argued these objectives were not reliant upon the development of new settlements in the A500 corridor.

Himor said the works could be funded by development elsewhere within and adjoining Crewe and the developer emphasised that the Duchy's immunity from compulsory purchase legislation should not allow it to control development in one of the borough's principal towns.

Sam Stafford, associate director at Himor, said: "We consider the Duchy of Lancaster's proposition to be unjustified, contrary to both national policy and the stated vision and objectives of the council's own emerging plan, and by no means the appropriate option amongst alternatives, not least our own Gresty Oaks proposals."

Himor revealed last year its proposals for an urban extension to the south of Crewe. Gresty Oaks was Himor's response to the Draft Town Strategy for Crewe prepared by Cheshire East Council that anticipated a need for 3,300 new dwellings to be accommodated in extensions to the town.

Steve Bell, director at Himor's planning advisor GVA, added: "The proposed new villages are isolated from Crewe, will not encourage sustainable travel patterns and will not contribute towards the economic growth and regeneration of Crewe in the same way as extensions to the town itself would achieve. There is real lack of evidence presented by the council to justify its approach and should the council intend to pursue this proposition, it runs the severe risk of the core strategy being found unsound, leading to further delay in establishing a robust planning policy framework for the borough."

The Duchy of Lancaster plans two new villages and three employment sites on land to the east of Crewe. The Duchy owns around 3,500 acres in the Crewe area.

A spokesman for the Duchy said the proposal was in direct response to Cheshire East Council's development strategy Shaping Our Future which set targets to deliver 27,000 new homes, give greater accessibility to the countryside, provide improvements to the infrastructure including the A500 and "positive targeted and sustainable development".

The Duchy's proposal is for 4,250 new dwellings in the area over 20 years.

Paul Clarke, chief executive of the Duchy of Lancaster, said: "The Duchy's proposal is very much in response to an identified need and are at an early stage. We have today submitted further details around the case for the location and scale of the proposed new employment and residential villages.

"We are working towards providing sustainable, high-quality housing and employment to help achieve the growth strategy of Cheshire East Council."

He added: "We are aware of the concerns of some local residents and will be meeting with them to explain the plans but we must stress that no development is planned around the villages of Barthomley and Weston."

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