Going against officer recommendation, Cheshire East’s planning committee has unanimously refused plans by the McGoff Group for a care home on Handforth Road, citing “overdevelopment” and the impact on neighbouring properties.
In a move that was greeted with a round of applause in the council chamber, Cheshire East’s Northern Planning Committee voted down the proposals, which had been recommended for approval by planning officers.
New Care, a division of the McGoff Group, had proposed a 65-bed care home; this would involve the demolition of two existing houses on the largely-residential street.
New Care had made attempts to placate the council and locals who had objected to the scheme with a series of revisions. Initial plans were for 83 bedrooms, but these were first scaled back to 69 bedrooms, before being cut further to the 65-bed care home that went before yesterday’s planning committee.
The developer had argued there was an “acute need” for housing for the elderly within Cheshire East and Wilmslow, and was supported by planning officers, who agreed on the need for the development; the report ahead of committee said: “The proposal would make a valuable contribution towards meeting an identified housing need for elderly people within the borough, as well as continuity in their care”. This was assigned “significant weight” in the planning balance.
Officers also argued there were “no significant visual, highway safety, amenity, design or flooding issues” and noted the scheme “complies with relevant local and national planning policies”.
Cllr Barry Burkhill, one of the scheme’s primary objectors, argued the scheme should go to committee due to “significant and extensive local concern”; this centred around potential overlooking, the scale of the build, and car parking.
Ahead of committee, planning officers had noted the concerns, but argued none were strong enough to justify refusal; officers also noted there was the potential for the Secretary of State to call in the plans, but maintained a recommendation for approval, subject to call-in.
At committee, however, councillors were not swayed by the arguments put forward by planning officers or the developer, and the scheme was moved for refusal on four separate grounds: the impact on neighbouring properties, overdevelopment of the site, the under-provision of parking, and the impact of the development on the street scene.
Prominent objections had come from Wilmslow Town Council, while there were 84 objections to both the original scheme and the revised proposals.
DEP Landscape Architecture and transport planner SCP are also on the professional team for the project.
New Care continues to progress developments across the region, winning consent from Stockport in January for a pair of £15m projects in Cheadle and Bramhall, comprising a total of 139 bed spaces.