Plans for residential development in Handforth Green Belt refused

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Plans to build a new residential development on the site of the former Knowle House on Sagars Road in Handforth have been refused.

Members of the Northern Planning Committee voted unanimously against the scheme from Morris Homes to build 26 dwellings, of which 13 were to be affordable, due to the harmful impact on the Green Belt.

Councillor Barry Burkhill spoke against the application and recommended refusal to the committee on the grounds of its Greenbelt status, following the recommendation of the planning case officer.

He said "The site is assessed as part of the Local Landscape Designation Study, formally Areas of Special County Value and it is now also located within the Bollin Valley Local Landscape Designation Area. It has been regenerating Greenbelt since the Macclesfield Borough Local Plan and Its status as Greenbelt was confirmed within the 2017 Cheshire East Local Plan, which stripped the Clay Lane/Sagars Road site of its precious Greenbelt status, allowing the disastrous development of 174 houses. It was therefore vital to defend Greenbelt on this other side of Sagars Road to prevent further loss to development along that stretch of land towards Styal."

He added "The draft Cheshire East Site Allocation and Development Policies Document (SADPD) does not include any further sites for development with Handforth. This document will be on the agenda for confirmation at the 19th April meeting of CEC. Allowing further housing development beyond what is already planned (including the Garden Village site for 1500 houses) would once again allow unplanned and uncontrolled development within our northern area of Cheshire East."

Twenty-two letters were received from local residents and interested parties objecting to the proposal on the following grounds: no more development is needed in this area; major disruption already being experienced due to adjacent housing development of 250 houses; local infrastructure cannot accommodate increase in population; increased traffic and risk to safety; loss of open space and inappropriate in the Green Belt.

Seven were received supporting the proposal for the following reasons: affordable housing is exactly what people need; the site needs developing as it is a blot on the landscape; ideal for young first time buyers; land has no visibility to the public, has no pasture or crop fields, no woodland and would have no material impact on its natural surroundings.

Handforth Parish Council had no objection to the plans stating "The site is brownfield and currently derelict, overgrown and an eyesore. The developer is proposing a 50% affordable homes allocation from 26 dwellings."

Styal Parish Council objected to the planning application on the grounds that the proposed development is on greenbelt land.

in a report prepared for the meeting the officer concluded "The introduction of 26 two-storey dwellings will result in substantial harm to the openness of this site and the wider Green Belt. This harm to the Green Belt is considered to be so substantial that it is not outweighed by the social benefits arising from the provision of 50% affordable dwellings and the identified enhancements to biodiversity."

Plans for a residential development of 20 dwellings and associated works on the site were refused in January 2014.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Thursday 8th April 2021 at 9:28 pm
Surely we are now way over the number of PlanningConsents in the original Local Plan and that number was considerably reduced under the review.
Toni Fox
Friday 9th April 2021 at 4:29 pm
Hi Pete,

Sites were allocated to provide in the region of 41,000 houses in the Local Plan period 2010-2030. 36,000 is the required minimum however Government requires an additional number to be allocated in case some of the sites do not come forward.

Divided over the 20 year period this works out at a requirement for 1,800 new homes per annum.

Whilst for the last 2 years well in excess of 3,000 homes have been built pa in previous years 2010 - 2017 less than 1,800 pa were built and therefore there remains a shortfall at this point in time on where we would be 'expected' to be in terms of new builds. Completions are calculated annually and are reported on the Councils website.

The critical fact is that Cheshire East Council cannot refuse to accept and consider planning applications - site owners have the legal right to submit planning applications whether the sites were in the Local Plan or not. These applications are determined according to planning legislation. The Council has refused some planning applications for large developments not included in the Local Plan however at Appeal the Planning Inspector overturned the decisions on the basis that new homes are needed; remember the Prime Ministers statement "BUILD, BUILD, BUILD"?

There hasn't been a review of the Local Plan yet, this is required 5 years after adoption which will be in 2022 - although the Government may change Planning Legislation before then.

The Local Plans daughter document, the SADPD, which allocates sites for Local Service Centres that were not included in the Local Plan, will be going to Full Council later this month seeking approval for it to be submitted to the Government for Examination. Some Green Belt sites that the previous administration had proposed to release for immediate development have been removed.

This document also includes the allocation of Gypsy and Traveller Sites, a Transit Site which will give greater power to the Police to more expediently move on illegal encampments, new Policies that will replace the remaining Policies from three regional Local Plans (including Macclesfield Borough Councils) and Policies that will help to bring in measures to address Climate change.
Pete Taylor
Friday 9th April 2021 at 5:30 pm
Thanks for your comprehensive explanation Toni.

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