A reality TV star and ex-footballers' controversial proposal to create a conference and wedding venue at their Great Warford home has been rejected, despite being recommended for approval.
Having struggled to sell Warford Hall for the past 4 years, Dawn Ward, star of The Real Housewives of Cheshire, and her husband Ashley Ward applied to change the use of the hall from a private residence with ancillary offices to a dwelling with conference and banquet facilities for up to 130 people.
The parish councils of Little Warford, Nether Alderley and Great Warford all objected to the application along with over 200 local residents who complained that "Party Warford" was inappropriate in a quiet, rural village and would cause noise disturbance and increased levels of traffic on the narrow country lanes.
Despite the level of opposition, the Planning Officer recommended the plans for approval by the Northern Planning Committee because he considered it an appropriate development which was not contrary to Green Belt policies.
However, members of the committee voted overwhelmingly against the planning application at their meeting today (Wednesday, 6th July), with the exception of one member who voted in favour and another who abstained.
The Wards bought the hall 11 years ago and ran their property construction business 'Bilton Ward Developments' from there. However, this was hit by the recession so they are now looking to start a new business which they expect to create 8 full time jobs and attract up to 100 functions a year.
Cllr Chris Sweetman, Chairman of Great Warford Parish Council, attended the Northern Planning Committee meeting today to speak against the plans on behalf of the Parish Council and local residents.
Afterwards he told alderleyedge.com "We are obviously pleased that the Committee decided to vote in the way they did. Beyond that I have no comments to make."
At the time of going to print we are waiting for a statement from Cheshire East Council confirming why the application was refused.