PROTESTERS celebrated a partial victory in their fight against bids to build more than 2,000 homes in Little Sutton.

Two separate applications by Redrow went before the council’s strategic planning committee on Thursday at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall.

An application for 145 houses was approved, by five votes to four, but a second for 2,000 was unanimously rejected.

About 200 residents filled the public gallery to watch the meeting and there were angry scenes when chair of the meeting Howard Greenwood changed the order cases would be heard in before refusing to explain why.

Officers were instructed to bring back detailed wording for the grounds for refusal to the next meeting on July 11, in readiness for an appeal from Redrow.

The plan by Redrow Homes, which included proposals for a new primary school, shop and community building with parks, tree-lined roads and access to walk and cycleways – had been recommended for approval by planning officers.

The committee took into account 400 letters of objection and opposition from the Ledsham and Manor Action Group, including 3,244 names on paper and e-petitions, as well as Capenhurst and Ledsham Parish Council, Puddington and District Parish Council and a number of wildlife and environmental organisations.

The meeting considered a 160-page report from officers which detailed objections to the application for the garden neighbourhood homes on 105 hectares of land at Sutton New Hall Farm, Ledsham Road.

Some objected to the use of high grade arable farmland in principle, but others warned of serious traffic issues, the proximity to Urenco, pressure on doctors and schools, and damage to wildlife and the environment.

The report to committee members pointed out the majority of the site was land that had previously been ‘safeguarded’ in case it was needed for development.

Officers had recommended approval with a list of more than 100 conditions and requests for contributions from Redrow.

Jacqueline Mulliner, on behalf of Redrow, said all the points of objection had been considered during consultations.

Cllr Gareth Anderson, speaking as the ward councillor, said more than 90 per cent of the area’s housing needs allocation could be met on brownfield sites and 100 per cent on existing sites.

Cllr Anderson said: “This isn’t just a planning application for some houses, it isn’t just a planning application for just 2,000 houses, it is an application for an entirely new neighbourhood in Ellesmere Port.

“This development is not sustainable so the argument that there is a presumption in favour should be absolutely rejected. This won’t bring any regeneration to our town centre.

“Building over a farm that’s such high quality goes against the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It goes against local plan policy GEN 13. It goes against everything we have said and it has almost total opposition from the people of this town and this area.”