A scheme to build 11 homes on fields in the picturesque village of Bunbury where ITV’s wartime series Home Fires is filmed has faced a barrage of criticism on design grounds.

Members of Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee today (Wednesday, February 3) deferred the application to build eight affordable homes and three detached properties on land at Bowe’s Gate Road in Bunbury.

Local councillor Stan Davies (Con) said he’d never seen ‘such a terrible plan to put three big houses on a slope, looking like something out of Switzerland in an area of outstanding natural beauty’.

More than 300 people have objected to plans by the Rural Trust to build the properties on the land which would result in the loss of green space outside the settlement boundary for the village.

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One objector told the meeting he was opposed mainly on design grounds.

He also pointed out there were 12 listed buildings in the conservation area and three in close proximity of the application site.

Home Fires, filmed in Bunbury, has been a huge success for ITV

And he feared the proposed development would have an impact on tourism.

“There’s been two television production companies that have filmed for the past two years on this very site,” he said. “That generates revenue, tourism and income in the summer and in the winter.”

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But the committee heard Bunbury Parish Council supported the scheme.

Parish council chairman Ron Pulford said: “The Neighbourhood Plan allows for development next to the settlement boundary. It’s the only way we are going to fit any development into the village. There are no sites of this size within the settlement boundary.”

Julie Summers, the author who inspired the latest TV drama Home Fires, officially opened the Bunbury Church Fete last summer and signed copies of her book
Julie Summers, the author who inspired the latest TV drama Home Fires, officially opened the Bunbury Church Fete last summer and signed copies of her book

He added: “The development is going to provide eight affordable properties, four of which we understand will be available as shared equity. We don’t have any of this kind of property in the village at the moment. We have many young adults who live in the village who can’t afford to stay in the village because they can’t afford to buy a property and we hope the shared equity development will allow them to have this opportunity.”

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Cllr Janet Clowes (Con) said she feared Cheshire East would not win an appeal if the planning committee refused the application because ‘the parish council has tentatively approved it’.

Cllr Rhoda Bailey (Con) said, in her opinion, it ‘would be criminal to build on this site’.

But most of the discussion centred around the design of the scheme - and in particular the three large detached properties.

Cllr Steve Edgar moved the application be deferred on the grounds of the design of those three houses. This was seconded by Cllr Steve Hogben (Lab)

The committee voted in favour of deferral by 10 votes to two.