Redrow Knutsford Houses August 2019

Knutsford homes knocked back over ‘Anywheresville’ claims

Charlie Schouten

Redrow’s proposals for 190 homes have been struck a blow with Cheshire East’s planning committee unanimously voting to defer the scheme claiming it could make Knutsford look like “Anywheresville”.

The housebuilder had put forward a reserved matters application for the 190 properties on a greenfield plot of nearly 39 acres north of Northwich Road after securing outline permission in 2017.

Planning officers had recommended approval ahead of a strategic planning board this week, praising the housebuilder for “improving its design” over the development process, with no issues raised over environment or highways.

Redrow had argued in its design statement submitted ahead of committee that “the style and appearance [of the homes] will sit well in the rural setting with its unique character, however, it is ideally suited to the Cheshire and Knutsford setting and local vernacular”.

But these arguments failed to sway the planning committee, which voted unanimously to defer the scheme.

While lauding certain aspects of the scheme, including its inclusion of community orchards, and praising Redrow as “a good-quality housebuilder”, the design of the homes, particularly around the gateway to the site, came in for heavy criticism.

Committee vice-chair, and Conservative councillor for Knutsford, Cllr Stewart Gardiner led the objections to the design, arguing: “This will be the first point of reference to Knutsford. I do not want the town I call home to be seen as ‘Anywheresville’. It would not take any significant amount of time or money to redesign those six homes at the gateway to the site.”

Cllr Gardiner also criticised Redrow for a lack of engagement with local parties, particularly in regard to Knutsford’s neighbourhood plan.

He said: “The former landowners of the site [the Crown Estate] had engaged with the neighbourhood plan to ensure its sites, knitted together, would involve the population of the town.

“There has been an ignorance of what the neighbourhood plan requires, and at best, disregard of the policies held therein. The neighbourhood plan is not the cherry on the cake, it is the icing on the cake, and that’s what makes a significant difference to what a cake looks like, and therefore significant weight should be afforded to it in determination of a planning application.”

He added the proposals by Redrow “fail to comply” with the adopted neighbourhood plan.

Design concerns were echoed by Crewe West Labour Cllr Brian Roberts, who said: “Redrow are a good company and build good-quality houses but the design leaves a lot to be desired on this site.”

Adding there would be “no identity” and the houses would be “same-old, same-old,” Roberts said: “If we can’t make something special, something that stands out, something that will be a future heritage site, say, in a place like Knutsford, where can we?”

The committee ultimately voted unanimously to defer the application to allow more time for Redrow to work with the town council and local members to address the design concerns, as well as providing more information around the scheme’s environmental impact.

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Great to see trees and green (and blue) space dominating the visual…

By The Lorax

Good for you Cheshire East Planning ! I admire your consideration and commitment to Knutsford and its community. Would that CWAC had the same consideration for the environs of Northwich where a developer has been granted permission to build a housing development on a floodplain !

By June Wheeler

Tell Redrow to build them in Northwich ( Cheshire West ) you can build Anywheresville developments, anywhere. Even on FLOOD PLAINS !!!!

By A Clarke

How snobbish of the council to say the house are anywhersville’ at the end of the day they are bricks and mortar like most houses in knutsford cheshire apart from the rich homes shame on them for such blataent abuse of power people won’t care what you call it so long as they have a chance to buy one and yet they want a gypsies site where lorries have been for over 30 years once again council screw up again

By Edward bellamy

Well done Cheshire East for standing up against the absolute rubbish that volume house builders churn out.

By House builder sceptic

“Anywheresville” properties not welcome in Knutsford, but acceptable in Sandbach, Crewe, Congleton, Nantwich et al?

By Deja

We are desperate for new builds at affordable prices in knutsford. Sadly this seems to be just a few opinions of people who don’t even live in the area like we do!
The sooner the locals are considered & involved the better chance of moving forward

By Gillian Warman