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Cheshire couple’s emotional journey on camera

A CHESHIRE family feature in a BBC TV documentary this evening about how a long-running planning saga took them to the brink of financial ruin.

A CHESHIRE family feature in a BBC TV documentary this evening about how a long-running planning saga took them to the brink of financial ruin.

Robin and Amanda Blackham, of Nomansheath, near Malpas, are a case study in BBC 2 series The Planners broadcast at 8pm tonight.

The Blackhams finally won their four-year battle to gain planning permission to refurbish a community pub and build 31 homes on a brownfield site at Newton-by-Tattenhall last September.

A trailer for the show shows a fraught Mr Blackham, who runs Tattenhall-based Blackham Reclamation, interviewed prior to planning approval, saying: “We’ve got a house up for sale. if this doesn’t happen this time, it won’t work. We couldn’t carry on with the business, everything goes. It’s the end of the line.”

This was the Blackhams’ fourth attempt in a case highlighted by Private Eye because of Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Mike Jones’ opposition to earlier versions of the scheme.

However, on the day of the strategic planning committee Cllr Jones, who addressed the meeting as ward councillor, told members his previous concerns about lack of sustainability and insufficient affordable housing had now been satisfied.

Welcoming the provision of a footpath, he added: “This will massively improve the safety of the route for pedestrians.”

On learning the decision had gone their way, the husband and wife team – who have three children – embraced, in a moment captured by the BBC cameras.

The Blackhams said in a statement afterwards: “We are delighted with the decision to approve our development at the Oak Rooms and would like to thank the people of Tattenhall and the parish council for their overwhelming support and the support of the planning officers.”

 

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