OUTLINE plans for housing development on a controversial Green Belt site have approval.
The application has been made at The Cedars, Plemstall Lane in Mickle Trafford by F McClements.Š
Two redundant poultry sheds on the smallholding just outside Mickle Trafford have been the subject of a number of planning applications in the last three years with permission being granted for business and storage.Š
Three other mainly business applications have been refused.Š
Chester's planning board heard that approval was being sought for nine detached and four semi-detached homes.Š
The semis would be affordable rented accommodation.Š
The application was opposed by Cheshire County Council.
Neighbours sent in 10 letters, six of which object.Š
They pointed out the development would be on Green Belt land and would be contrary to the Mickle Trafford and District Parish Plan.Š
It would harm the character of the village and would set an undesirable precedent for similar developments in the Green Belt.Š
Concern was put forward that additional housing would add to trespass and vandalism on a nearby railway and could lead to increased risk of flooding.Š
Other occupiers said they supported the scheme on the grounds that housing is preferable from a highway safety point of view than the approved business and storage use.Š
Mickle Trafford and District Parish Council believes the scheme would be overdevelopment and would harm the Green Belt.Š
Councillors are also concerned about highway safety.Š
Sufficient special reasons had been put forward to justify the development, the planning board heard, including the fact that business and storage has proved unpopular with local residents.Š
Housing would also be less harmful to the Green Belt, planning officers suggested.Š
They feel that business development will have “a significantly greater effect” than 13 dwellings, particularly in terms of traffic.Š
The properties will cause no greater harm to the character of the open countryside than the disused poultry sheds, they suggest and will be more consistent with the character of the locality.Š
They describe the scheme as “relatively low density” and feel there will be a greater sense of openness on the holding than the current poultry sheds.Š
Recommending the application should be approved subject to the views of the Government Office for the North West, they argued very special circumstances exist and the development will improve the character and quality of the area.Š
Agents for the developers said their clients were aware of the “fierce local opposition” to the business and storage use.
In investigating alternatives meetings had been held with local city councillor Margaret Parker (Con, Mickle Trafford) and the city's development control co-ordinator Mr Brian Hughes.
Mickle Trafford residents Helen and Michael Boothman of Bridgend, told the city council that any permission must not set a precedent for further residential development in and around the village.Š
Donna Jackson of St Peters Way pointed out that both affordable and executive housing had been built in Mickle Trafford in recent years “putting great strain on the existing village infrastructure”.
“It is difficult to see the overwhelming need that would justify breaching open for development our endangered green belt,” she argued.Š
Adjoining landowner Huw Rowlands of The Grange, Warrington Road raised a number of objections including the diversion of a public footpath which he believed would add to trespass and vandalism on fields at the farm.
Mr Rowlands also felt the development would set a precedent for further building in the Green Belt which would “destroy the character of Plemstall”.
“I have a bit of a problem with this,” said Vicars Cross councillor Paul Cheetham (Lib Dem).Š
“The officers appear to be saying this is the best of a bad lot.ŠI am not convinced.”
Labour planning spokesman Cllr Sandra Rudd (College), a Mickle Trafford resident, said: “I hope this is the last time this site comes before us.It is an eyesore.Š
“Previous applications created out cry in the village but this time almost nothing.”
She described the provision of affordable housing as “important”.
Cllr Rudd moved permission and this was agreed by the board on a unanimous 13-0 vote.