Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has supported Cheshire East Council’s refusal of planning permission for a 280-dwelling residential scheme proposed for a greenfield location at Sandbach in Cheshire.
Developers Fox Strategic Land and Property appealed the council’s decision but the minister, acting on the recommendation of the planning inspector who took the appeal in April, agreed the proposals should be rejected.
The decision letter made it clear that the project had some benefits. He said it would have contributed towards meeting the shortfall resulting from the council’s failure to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land across Cheshire East and would have achieved a good mix of housing on a sustainable site. In addition the scheme would have helped to meet the affordable housing shortfall in the area.
However, he pointed out the proposal’s conflict with saved development plan policies with regard to settlement boundaries and the restriction on development in the countryside, and the need to avoid the permanent loss of productive good quality agricultural land unless absolutely unavoidable.
The minister said these issues tipped the balance against the scheme. He wrote:”Allowing the appeal in advance of establishing the appropriate level of future housing provision across the Cheshire East would pre-empt decisions on revised settlement boundaries before current uncertainties with regard to population growth and distribution can be settled in a statutory planning context.”
6 October 2011