MORE than 40 new homes could be approved in a Chester hamlet.
The development is proposed on land on Tattenhall Road, Newton by Tattenhall by Mr R Blackham and Blackham Developments.
It is occupied by a number of commercial buildings and The Oak Room pub, all of which are vacant, together with a yard and a car park.
The commercial part of the site was previously occupied by an architectural salvage business which has moved to premises on the opposite side of the road.
Thirty nine new dwellings would be built, planning officers at Chester City Council have been told and four self-contained flats would be created above the pub.
The pub itself would be retained and refurbished and a small shop would be reinstated attached to the pub.
The vacant commercial buildings and modern additions to the pub would be demolished.
The traditional design houses would be mainly two storey dwellings arranged as semis and terraced blocks.
Objections have been raised by Cheshire County Council and by the City Council's affordable housing officer who argues the development would not include any affordable housing.
Forward planners at the Town Hall fear the site is in an unsustainable location and there would be a loss of employment land.
The development is opposed by Tattenhall Parish Council who believe it is premature and that a master plan for the hamlet should be produced.
The density of housing is too high, they feel and it will detract from adjacent cottages.
Parish councillors also point to a lack of affordable housing and say parking is inadequate and the scheme would affect highway safety.
They are also concerned about the potential for flooding.
The city council has had seven objections from residents raising similar concerns and arguing the developers have not identified a need for the proposed housing which, they say, would significantly impair views of the open countryside towards Beeston and Peckforton.
Occupiers are also worried about the effect of the development, taken with other large-scale projects in the area including a nearby 300 berth marina, which they feel would be highly detrimental in terms of traffic and light pollution.
Councillors will hear that Chester district is required to provide 7,500 new houses by 2021 with eight out of 10 being built on previously used land.
They will be told that “large windfall sites” such as the land in Newton by Tattenhall can play a "major role'' in ensuring the district's housing targets are met.
Planning officers accept the land is in a rural area but say the benefits include the redevelopment of the vacant site.
They point out it can lawfully be used for a variety of business purposes including storage and warehousing and has previously seen the storage of haulage vehicles, a motor repair garage, a reclamation yard and a coal yard.
Since 1992 it has had a permit to allow the storage of up to 1,500 tonnes of any hazardous substance.
“The applicants have indicated they intend to dispose of the land for commercial purposes if this application for housing development does not succeed,'' says a report.
It argues the use of the site for business purposes does not conform with the character of the area and has the potential to cause significant harm to the visual amenity of the open countryside and nearby dwellings.
The development would allow for the creation of a pub and shop which could serve the “significant levels of visitors” to the area expected from the large marina, say planning officers.
They accept the development would normally be required to include 22 affordable homes but say the applicants have shown this would render the scheme unviable bearing in mind the high value of the site for commercial purposes and the current economic slowdown.
The developers have now offered three affordable homes together with a financial contribution towards affordable housing in Tattenhall, according to the report.
Recommending the application should be approved, planning officers say the Environment Agency has raised no objection with regard to flood risk.
Councillors will be asked to agree the development subject to a number of conditions including the pub and shop to be let before the first dwelling is occupied and a legal agreement to cover affordable housing.