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Duke of Westminster and Highways England raise concerns over massive Wrexham Road housing plan

Worries over traffic flows, housing mix and level of affordable homes
The land off Wrexham Road, Chester, where there are plans to build up to 1,400 homes.

The Duke of Westminster and the government’s highways agency are raising concerns about a massive housing scheme for up to 1,400 homes alongside Wrexham Road in Chester.

Highways England wants more information before giving a view on plans for the new neighbourhood on farmland removed from the green belt to make provision for future growth.

And the duke’s Grosvenor Estate is concerned about the level of affordable housing, lack of smaller homes and the potential impact on long term plans for the Chester Western Relief Road.

Redrow Homes has lodged a planning application with Cheshire West and Chester Council for 509 homes and associated infrastructure including a shopping centre with supermarket, restaurant and pub plus a health centre, nursery and primary school.

Redrow and Taylor Wimpey will deliver the majority of the homes through a company called Paycause Ltd with three linked planning applications to include the rest of the housing, more detailed plans for the infrastructure and an ecological area where great crested newts, a protected species, can be relocated.

But Highways England has asked for more time to consider its views on the first application as it feels information provided by the applicant is insufficient.

Robert Heywood, asset manager with the government agency, pointed out the development will ultimately be served by three accesses into the site via the Wrexham Road park and ride junction, a new fourth arm at the existing Heronsway north roundabout and a new signalised junction with the existing King’s School access.

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

However, details supplied by the applicant only related to traffic flows based on when the development was complete, not during the early phase when access would rely on the park and ride access only.

He wrote: “Modelling contained within the transport assessment is for the full development only when alternative route options will exist for traffic accessing and egressing the development site.”

Asking for more time to give a considered view, Mr Heywood requested information from the applicant’s consultants which the agency could run through its own computer model.

Barton Willmore, on behalf of the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor Estate, welcomes the development but ‘cannot support’ the planning application until issues have been addressed by either the applicant and/or the council.

The A483 Wrexham Road in Chester

There are concerns around what level of affordable housing will be delivered, that affordable homes are concentrated in the western and southern parts of the scheme rather than being dispersed and that these locations mean affordable homes won’t be delivered until later in the build.

Grosvenor Estate is also bothered the housing mix ‘does not adequately reflect local need’ with the majority of homes being three to five-bed rather than one and two-bed dwellings. To prevent any adverse impact on existing residents, it is argued the council puts conditions in place that ensure the infrastructure evolves at the right pace.

Clarity is sought on whether the position of the great crested newts mitigation area could jeopardise plans for the Chester Western Relief Road, a scheme aimed at reducing city centre congestion and supported by Grosvenor.

And the rate of delivery of the housing is described as ‘challenging’, resulting in a ‘likely shortfall’ in the council’s development plan which ‘must be addressed elsewhere within Chester’.

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