‘Rural exception’ consent for green belt homes

Mosaic Town Planning has gained approval for an affordable housing scheme on green belt land in the village of Christleton near Chester.

Developer MCI Developments propose to build 13 affordable two- and three-bedroom homes on 1.2 acres off Whitchurch Road next to the Cheshire Cat pub, alongside the Shropshire Union Canal.

The application was approved by committee members at Cheshire West & Chester Council following the planning officer's recommendation.

Planning policy makes exceptions for affordable housing where there is an identified need.

This need was demonstrated within the Council's Strategic Housing Market Assessment in 2010 which showed a shortfall of 1,298 affordable units throughout the borough.

Manchester-based Mosaic argued the proposed rural exception site is within a sustainable location, close to local facilities and public transport and there are no appropriate or available brownfield sites in the village. Mosaic added that the site is in a Conservation Area and the new houses will therefore be built to a high standard, complying to Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and will sit in harmony with their neighbours.

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There is no such thing as ‘affordable housing’. These properties will be bought by speculators who,in the not too distant future ,will sell them on at a profit;especially situated where they are. The construction industry is not going to provide the solution to the problems of this country.It is short term and is reliant on borrowed finance.

By Tony Cozzolino

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