Ward member Cllr Jones (Con, Tattenhall) had ‘called in’ the application at Huxley Lane, Huxley, for a committee decision after the planning officer indicated his intention to refuse the scheme as an isolated location in the open countryside.
Speaking in favour, Cllr Jones said: “It’s been mentioned about there’s been no letters of support. Well, I’m not surprised with the nastiness that’s gone on in the village against people that have supported it.”
Cllr Jones argued it was “a sustainable site” which included two desperately needed affordable homes given the average house price in the rural area was £240,000 – or 10 times the average national wage.
“Young people can’t afford to live there,” said Cllr Jones, who said he had supported small developments in the rural area over many years because they helped maintain “vibrancy” in the community.
Objector Lesley Ankers told members: “We ask your support in not allowing individual councillors, their friends, associates, neighbours to impose their own ideas, particularly when they conflict with the present national and local policy plus the council’s sustainable development policy.”
Earlier this year Huxley Parish Council unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in Cllr Mike Jones for supporting an eight-homes scheme at the same site against the wishes of the community.
Parish chairman Olivier De Braekeleer told the planning committee: “There are 37 objections from residents and no sign of local support for this scheme. The parish council has also expressed its objections. The planning officer has produced a very objective and professional report which, despite heavy pressure from the consultant hired by the applicant, is recommending refusal.”
Agent Paul Entwistle said the new design was “more suited to the character of Huxley” and he considered the location sustainable given the school, pub, cycleway and bus service, plus the proximity of Tattenhall and Tarporley.
But moving refusal, Cllr Ralph Oultram said: “It was bizarre to call that a sustainable location. It is classed as an unsustainable location. It is out in the sticks. I can’t think of a less sustainable location.”