Proposals to build 200 houses on a greenfield site opposite Sandbach Rugby Club have been recommended for refusal by Cheshire East planners, more than a year after similar proposals were rejected by the council.
The outline planning application by Site Plan UK is for up to 200 homes on a 20-acre site off Bradwall Road to the north of existing homes on Barlow Way. Around 30% of these homes have been earmarked as affordable.
Previous residential development had been proposed for the site but this was initially rejected in February last year. An appeal on the decision was initially brought forwards but then withdrawn.
These similar proposals were rejected last year owing to a loss of open countryside and an “adverse impact” on the landscape, as well as the loss of agricultural land.
However, Site Plan has decided to try again with the proposals following Cheshire East’s new local plan, and a statement by planners AAP said that recent appeal decisions show “the council’s stated housing supply position is not as clear as suggested”.
Despite this, the latest proposals have also been recommended for refusal for similar reasons as the previous application, with planning officers arguing the loss of open countryside was not justifiable owing to the fact that Cheshire East could demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.
While planners said the development would provide “significant economic benefits” and said the level of affordable housing was a benefit, the proposals have been criticised over traffic issues.
The planners’ report, due to be discussed by Cheshire East’s strategic planning board next week, said the plans show “insufficient information” on how the new homes would impact local highways.
Planners point to an increase in congestion along the A533/A534 and increased usage of Congleton Road since 2016. Cheshire East’s highways department also reported concerns over the “cumulative increase in traffic” caused by a number of recent developments in Sandbach, and said the nearby Crewe Road/Hightown roundabout was already operating over capacity.
The scheme also attracted criticism from Sandbach Town Council which argued that 2,970 homes had already been approved in the town, above the 2,750 set out in Cheshire East’s local plan.
The town council also echoed concerns over traffic issues, arguing that Bradwall Road had already seen an “excessive increase” in usage.
There have also been 266 letters of objection from local households, who have argued the scheme would be “out of keeping” with the local area and decried the loss of agricultural land, alongside a potential increase in traffic the development would bring.
Cheshire East’s strategic planning board is due to meet on 16 May.