PLANNING | Muller scheme returns to Cheshire East agenda

The local authority’s planning officers remain minded to refuse Muller Property’s proposal to develop a scheme in Stapeley, featuring 189 homes, a neighbourhood retail centre of up to 19,400 sq ft, 40,000 sq ft of employment space, a primary school and public space.

An application for the “substantive” part of the site was refused by committee in 2013 and went to public inquiry in 2014, subsequently entering a series of appeals and judgments, leading to a second public inquiry, which is due to start on 20 February 2018.

With the Local Plan Strategy finally adopted, and the Stapeley & Batherton Neighbourhood Plan similarly advanced, officers are seeking an updated position from the strategic planning board ahead of the public inquiry.

This summer, Crewe-based Muller lodged a legal challenge to Cheshire East’s Local Plan over the manipulation of air quality data and how that might have affected planning applications. The council admitted that incorrect data had been used between 2012 and 2014, and took the matter to Cheshire Police, which has launched an investigation.

While some elements of the Stapeley proposal, such as residential amenity, ecology, and contribution to public transport, are deemed acceptable, these are considered to be “insufficient to outweigh the harm that would be caused in terms of impact on the local countryside,” with officers reporting that the development’s “adverse impact” is “undiminished by the passage of time”.

The site comprises 30 acres of mostly flat land to the south of Nantwich, next to the former Stapeley Water Gardens site, where housebuilding has taken place since the centre’s 2012 closure. The proposal has an associated application for access from Peter deStapleigh Way, which officers are also minded to refuse.

Muller’s team includes Pegasus Planning, Lighthouse Acoustics, Redmore Environmental, Lighthouse Acoustic and Tyler Grange.

The planning meeting on 22 November is also set to consider two schemes recommended for approval. The first, a scheme by Barratt and David Wilson Homes, will bring 174 houses to a site accessed from Stanneylands Road north of Wilmslow. The site is presently paddock and grazing land and is to be accessed from a new roundabout opposite the Stanneylands Hotel.

The developers are seeking full consent for the scheme, which will deliver a new bridge over the River Dean and a pedestrian-cycleway connection at the top end of the site, close to Wilmslow Garden Centre, to provide pedestrian access to Manchester Road towards Handforth.

The site is included within Cheshire East’s five-year housing supply and 30% of the scheme will be affordable housing  The breakdown of the scheme is 24 apartments and 150 houses, 112 of which will be four-bedroom and 35 three-bedroom.

In Poynton, Ainscough Strategic Land has submitted an outline application to build 120 houses at a 10.8-acre greenfield site where 150 homes are allocated in the Local Plan. The scheme requires the demolition of buildings that form 199 Chester Road to access the site. Of the 30% affordable housing element, 65% will be allocated as affordable/social rent and 35% shared ownership. In both the Wilmslow and Poynton schemes, objections were lodged by town councils.

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