Winsford win for Engie at second time of asking

Plans by the French-owned housebuilder to build 268 homes in the Cheshire town have been approved, following deferral in July.

The proposals by Engie, which followed an earlier consent for 138 Winsford homes granted in January by Cheshire West & Chester Council, were pushed back while the developer looked to find a solution to an objection from Sport England, and answer concerns from the committee on environment & highways and viability.

Addressing the virtual committee, Avison Young principal planner Ed Harvey said the applicant has worked “tirelessly” to make the necessary changes to the JDA Architects-designed scheme. Its efforts were not in vain, with the committee voting 10.1 in favour of approval.

Sport England’s fears have been assuaged by the addition of a further five-a-side pitch, bringing the total of pitches in the scheme to seven – two full-size adult pitches, two mid-sized and two five-a-side – set against the five on the site’s current playing fields.

Other tweaks include a change in layout to provide greater separation from the wastewater treatment site to the north, and enhanced hedgerow screening to the south.

Ward councillor Mike Baynham spoke against the project, stating that the changes “don’t address the underlying issue of the increase in traffic for the Grange Lane area”. There will be one access route into the scheme off Roehurst Lane.

Several committee members however noted the time-sensitive nature of the £4.4m Homes England grant available for the scheme – it must be actioned by July 2021 – noting also that the project, which brings 30% affordable homes and a further 34% available through shared ownership with a registered provider, goes a significant way to meeting local housing need.

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