Pickles rules against Himor’s Cheshire housing plan

Himor said it was considering its options after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles rejected plans for housing on 'green gap' land near Crewe.

The Manchester-based property company proposed 800 homes, school, retirement village and other amenities on 108 acres of largely agricultural land at Shavington, 1.5 miles south of Crewe.

Pickles upheld the planning inspector's decision to reject the plans following a public inquiry last year.

Stan Shreeve, land director at Himor, said today: "We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of our recent appeal but genuinely believe that our proposal was right for the area and would have conveyed significant benefits. We are presently reviewing the Secretary of State's decision and his reasoning in detail and will be considering our position in due course. We would note at this stage however, that he did find the proposal to be sustainable development and would deliver much needed housing. That he found only the 'arguably premature loss' of Green Gap to outweigh this, when the [Local] Plan that is intended to resolve this issue has been found to be significantly flawed and will be subject to substantial delay, is surprising to us."

Pickles said "…a decision to allow development on the appeal site could reasonably be seen to pre-empt or prejudice the outcome of the local plan examination."

Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, welcomed the decision. He said: "This is excellent news and clearly vindicates our continued policy of contesting housing schemes that do not meet with our long-term aspirations for a balanced and sustainable development strategy across the borough.

"It also sends out a message that, despite claims to the contrary, developers are not in a position to dictate the council's planning policy simply because we have yet to complete on our strategic local plan for the borough."

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