The Secretary of State has backed Cheshire East Council’s decision to refuse planning permission in 2016 for a 900-home extension to Wychwood Village on the site of the former Gorsty Hill Golf Club.
The contested scheme was proposed by Haddon Developments in 2014. A ruling on the project was delayed while a decision was made on whether to include the site in Cheshire East’s Local Plan. When the site was not included, the project was rejected.
Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government backed Cheshire East’s position yesterday.
In his decision letter, Javid gave “significant weight” to the policies of the council’s recently adopted Local Plan for the protection of the countryside. He also found that, via the adoption of the plan, the council is now able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land.
The lack of a five-year housing supply has been an important factor in appeals being successful for unplanned development in the borough over recent years.
Meanwhile, last month Cheshire East Council received a legal challenge to the Local Plan from Muller Properties, over the issue of incorrect air quality data, currently being investigated by Cheshire Police. Muller has been provided with additional information on the data, and the council is waiting to hear whether the challenge will be progressed. There was no update on the situation from the council as of this morning.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the [Gorsty Hill] decision. It is a vindication of our stand against unplanned development.
“The Secretary of State has strongly backed the policies of the recently-adopted Local Plan. He has also agreed that the council is now able to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land through the Local Plan.
“This is a very welcome return to plan-led decision making. It is also a ringing endorsement of the council’s efforts to put in place a robust, up-to-date Local Plan which gives the people of Cheshire East its best protection against unwelcome unplanned and unsustainable development.”