Redrow designs for Moston and Harpurhey

Redrow’s 2,000 homes plan thrown out

A 2,000-home development proposed by Redrow for farmland near Little Sutton near Ellesmere Port was rejected by Cheshire West & Chester Council's strategic planning committee against officers' recommendation.

Councillors on the planning committee instructed officers to bring back to the next meeting "robust" detailed wording for the grounds for refusal and the concerns they had identified in their debate.

The plan by Redrow Homes included a new primary school, shop and community building with parks, tree-lined roads and cycle ways.

A smaller proposal by Redrow for 145 homes on part of the site which had previously been allocated for housing was approved by the committee.

The committee took into account 400 letters of objection and opposition from the Ledsham & Manor Action Group, petitions with 3,244 names as well as Capenhurst & Ledsham Parish Council, Puddington & District Parish Council and a number of wildlife and environmental organisations.

The meeting at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, with more than 200 members of the public attending, considered a 160-page report from officers which detailed objections to the application for the garden neighbourhood homes on 105 hectares of land at Sutton New Hall Farm, Ledsham Road.

Some of the objections to the plan were against the use of high grade arable farmland in principle, but others warned of serious traffic issues, the proximity to Urenco, pressure on doctors and schools, and damage to wildlife and the environment.

The report to committee members pointed out that the majority of the site was land that had previously been "safeguarded" in case it was needed for development.

Officers had recommended approval with a list of more than 100 conditions and requests for contributions from Redrow of around £4.4m towards the new school, £2.5m to subsidise improved bus services for five years, £355,000 for improvements to the Little Sutton shopping area, and around £250,000 for additional traffic management and highway improvements and £518,000 towards the cost of building additional health facilities in the area.

Graham Phipp, co-chairman of the Ledsham & Manor Action Group, described it as a "vast and disproportionate plan" which would destroy a semi rural environment. He warned that local roads would be unable to cope with the extra traffic and that the work phased over many years would create a dusty and noisy environment for residents.

Jacqueline Mulliner, on behalf of Redrow, said that all the points of objection had been considered during lengthy consultations. The proposal was to create the UK's first garden neighbourhood village of the 21st century and would bring many benefits to the Ellesmere Port area.

Cllr Gareth Anderson, speaking as the ward councillor, not a member of the committee, said that even under the higher, out-of-date figures, over 90% of the area's housing need allocation could be met on brownfield sites and 100% on existing allocated sites.

He warned that giving approval to the Redrow plan would make it impossible to develop brownfield sites in Ellesmere Port for housing.

Cllr Anderson said: "I want to stress that this is not remotely about nimbyism. This ward that I represent has had about 30% growth over the last several years and we are used to it. This site is unique, it is exceptional, it is different. This isn't just a planning application for some houses, it isn't just a planning application for just 2,000 houses, it is an application for an entirely new neighbourhood in Ellesmere Port.

"This development is not sustainable so the argument that there is a presumption in favour should be absolutely rejected. This won't bring any regeneration to our town centre.

"Building over a farm that's such high quality goes against the National Planning Policy Framework it goes against local plan policy GEN 13. It goes against everything we have said and it has almost total opposition from the people of this town and this area."

The committee will be provided with the detailed wording spelling out its decision at its meeting on 11 July.

Your Comments

This would have provided an unprecedented garden village for the 21st century, with huge investment in the local economy. The developers had included a vast amount of green space, a new £4.4 million Primary school, houses of quality interspersed with garden neighbourhoods. No wonder the planning officers recommended it and provided a detailed report running into hundreds of pages. Yet despite this, local councillors bowed to local nimbyism. Hardly a great surprise, but what is more surprising is that are now seeking to cover their backs by instructing the same planning officers, who recommended approval, to provide "robust" detailed wording to support the grounds of their refusal in time for their next meeting in around three weeks time.

By Michael

Describing a development as "garden village" or a "garden suburb" or garden anything (the latest house builder marketing ploy) will not blind people to the fact that what is proposed is a bog standard estate composed of the identikit noddy boxes, dumped in the middle of nowhere. These sprawling non-places only serve to put our infrastructure under increasing strain whilst our towns and cities continue to hollow out. This is manifestly unsustainable development that really should have had its day. Well done Cheshire West Council for taking a stand. I only wish other authorities were as brave.

By Common or garden

Well done to the Councillors who saw this application for what it is – A Redrow profit exercise, benefiting certain individuals and not the wider community. Now for the appeal

By Vickster Murray

Well done Cllr Anderson for standing up for the principle of building on brownfield sites first. Developers do not like them because they make less profit but local planning must put the wishes and common good of the local community first.

Thank you too for pointing out that the RSS figures that CWaC still insist on using to predict future housing need in the Borough are now wildly out-of-date and that they should be replaced by the ONS 2011 Census figures instead. Why won’t they do this?

Finally, thank you for championing the cause of retaining good quality farm land – as one of your colleagues who was a Member sitting on the Committee said, we must not let any more of it be lost.

By Friends of North Chester Greenbelt

Common or garden – well said!
Michael – I guess you must be benefitting from these types of schemes!

By Noddy Box Hater

An example of how the NPPF will deliver the countries future requirements!


don’t worry it will go through at appeal

By Mike The BOSS

What everyone should do is object to the contemptuous way in which the new Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee (Howard Greenwood) treated local ward Councillor Gareth Anderson. He changed the ‘running order’ of the meeting with no explanation and was offensively rude when queried as to his reasons for this. He clearly showed his lack of suitability to be Chair of this committee. View the webcast at:- from about 10:15 minutes into the webcast to about 12:00 minutes. And then go to http://www.tinyurl/myleshogg, follow the link, and sign the petition.

By Marmy

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