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Details emerge over 1,400 Chester homes plan

Council planners and developers don't agree on all guidelines that should be followed

The land off Wrexham Road, Chester, where there are plans to build at least 1,300 homes.

A vision document will help guide councillors in assessing future applications relating to plans for 1,400 homes alongside Wrexham Road in Chester.

The land was removed from the green belt when the Local Plan was adopted by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), as planning authority, to make provision for the future growth.

House builders Taylor Wimpey and Redrow, who will deliver the majority of the homes, held public consultations alongside a council exercise with the stated aim of involving the community in shaping the plans from an early stage.

Next Tuesday (April 4) members of CWaC’s planning committee will be asked to approve a development brief that will be referenced when determining the planning applications that follow.

Issues to be considered include the types of housing as well as making sure there will be sufficient school places, GP surgeries and road capacity to cope with the large housing estate.

There are many points of agreement between the planning authority and developers who have worked together on the development brief.

Around 370 people visited the Wrexham Road housing estate consultation held at Lache Community Centre.

This includes the need to the address the fact Wrexham Road already ‘runs close to capacity at peak periods’.

However, appendix 2 indicates apparent disagreement over the scope of the traffic impact assessment required. And the two parties are at odds over whether supplementary planning guidance on parking standards is ‘a relevant material planning consideration’.

CWaC and the developers agree provision for two GP practices is needed but local NHS bosses say this is ‘not viable’ and want a larger site involving the relocation of existing practices.

And there is consensus a 1.5 form entry primary school should be provided during an early stage of development. But council officers are unhappy the plan sub-divides the playing fields into two parcels, either side of the school.

A camera operator for Granada TV at the Wrexham Road site.

Other community amenities cited in the briefing include retail units such as a supermarket, shops, cafe/restaurant, pub, community building and associated car parking.

Both parties agree a range of housing types are needed with the briefing anticipating a mix of two, three, four and five bed properties and a requirement that ‘up to 30%’ of total housing will be ‘affordable’ but ‘subject to viability’.

However, the council would wish to see consideration for ‘Lifetime homes’, bungalows and extra care housing to cater for older residents.

Environmental campaigner Andy Scargill hopes CWaC does not allow a repetition of what happened at Saighton Camp in Huntington.

There, one housing developer was allowed to build an extra 120 homes by removing employment land and a planned primary school from within the estate, meaning an alternative school site is now being contemplated separated by two busy roads and on green belt land.

“With Huntington we have seen the problems of piecemeal development,” he said.

Although little is made of potential drainage issues, Mr Scargill has concerns around whether the surface-water drainage plans will meet modern building regulations once the large housing estate is built out.

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