RESIDENTS have claimed victory over a developer they feared would overrun their rural village with large town houses.
The planning inspectorate upheld Chester City Council's decision to reject Persimmon Homes' outline planning application to demolish Valley View and Quarry Croft houses and build eight dwellings off Quarry Lane, Kelsall.
The inspector, who visited the site this month, said: 'It is evident that over the years there has been a significant degree of new housing in the locality.
'However, I do not regard this as a good reason to permit further development, which would potentially harm the character and appearance of the village.'
City councillor Joan Fairhurst hopes the decision will deter the developer, which already has 13 houses in its Swallowfields development on Chester Road.
She said she was 'shaking with delight' as she read the inspector's verdict.
'This appeal was for me the crux - if we could manage to counter Persimmon on this one we might have an argument against other applications,' she said. 'It's the first time we have managed to stop them and so it gives us hope for the future.
'The city council officers were minded to grant the outline permission but I persuaded them to reject it because we have learned from experience that you can get tied into inappropriate development.
'It is not that we are against development - it is the kind of development that we are concerned about.
'We have several really good examples of recent construction in the village that really fit in and we would like to see affordable housing.
'The question now is what Persimmon will do with the four houses they own. I told them that if they offered to build four individual bungalows with garages set back from the road I would eat their hands off but they said 'no way'.
'They have their own style, which is big town houses, and they don't fit in with the village.'
Cllr Fairhurst and parish councillor John Leather are working with residents to produce a village design statement that will help planners en-sure future developments fit the village's characteristics.
Grant Dinsdale of Persimmon Homes commented: 'We are very surprised and disappointed that the out-line planning application for this proposed development has been refused, and which was only to establish the principle of development. We strongly disagree with the decision in planning terms. The Company is now considering its response to the decision.'