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Saturday 9 March 2013

Strong local objections to proposed housing development in Willaston


  I attended the last meeting of the Willaston Parish Council and I fully supported the objections (listed below) of the many concerned residents present and the Parish Council to the proposed development of 21 houses on land off Cheerbrook Road in Willaston. I would urge local residents who want to object to the application to write or e-mail to Cheshire East Planning  by the 20th of March. The application is due to be decided at the Southern Planning meeting  on the 1/5/13 and I have asked to speak in support of the local residents and the Parish Council, who are objecting  against the application. I have also written to the Council to object.

The objections of the Parish Council are these :-

13/0641N - Construction of 21 two-storey residential dwellings, new shared access and associated works, Land to the north of Cheerbrook Road, Willaston

Willaston Parish Council strongly objects to the above planning application on the following grounds :-

1. This site lies within the Green Gap as defined in Policy NE.4 of the saved Borough of Crewe and Nantwich Replacement Local Plan 2011 and also within the Strategic Open Gap as defined in Policy CS 5 of the emerging Cheshire East Local Plan.  The application is, therefore, in contravention of both the existing saved local planning policy and the emerging Cheshire East Council planning policy and should be refused on those grounds alone.

2. The site fails to meet at least 10 of the criteria on the North West Sustainability Checklist, including some of the key criteria of proximity to schools, medical facilities and transport links.  In four of the criteria the site would be rated as "Significant failure to meet minimum standards." Therefore, the proposed development should be considered unsustainable. 

3. Not only is the local primary school more than 1,000 metres from this site, but it is also already over-subscribed.  There have been several cases over recent years when young children living in the village have not been able to gain a place in the local primary school and have had to travel to surrounding areas in order to secure a primary school place.

4. The drains and sewers along Cheerbrook Road do not have the capacity to cope with further development and there are grave concerns regarding potential flooding.  When The Paddock development was built on the other side of Cheerbrook Road some of the properties had to have cesspits included as the existing drains and sewers were inadequate.

5. There are already significant issues with traffic congestion in the area.  The very busy Cheerbrook roundabout at the junction with the A51 Nantwich bypass is at the end of the road and long queues of traffic form at peak times along the A51 between the Cheerbrook, Peacock and Middlewich Road roundabouts.  Travel in the opposite direction from the site involves passing through the centre of Willaston village, where congestion occurs due to the narrow roads filled with parked cars.  There is a significant lack of parking facilities within the village and this is exacerbated by rows of terraced houses in the village centre with no off road parking.

6. Cheerbrook Road itself is a narrow road with no pavement on one side of the road, but being a relatively straight road it is subject to all too frequent speeding by motorists.  It is a key area monitored by the local Speedwatch team and a significant number of vehicles are recorded exceeding the speed limit.  The proposed entrance to the site is directly opposite to the entrance to another small development and would effectively form a dangerous crossroads. 

7. There is no public transport at all covering this area of the village.

8. There are several wildlife species afforded protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the European Habitats Directive which have been regularly observed on the site, including barn owls and bats.

9. Some of the proposed properties as shown on the Landscape Layout are in very close proximity to existing properties on The Fields and would be overbearing. 

This council would also like to express great concern at the cynical and premature removal of several mature trees at the frontage of the proposed site.  This site was previously subject to planning applications for the construction of a single dwelling (application nos. P07/1435 and 10/4452N).  Condition 5 of the planning approval to application 10/4452N stated :-

"Prior to the commencement of the development, details of measures to be used to protect the existing trees along the frontage of the site with Cheerbrook Road from damage due to construction work shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority, and such measures as approved shall be carried out before the development commences and maintained throughout the period of construction until completion of the development."

"Reason : To ensure that these trees which make a significant contribution to the visual character of the area are not prejudiced by the development.  This is in accordance with Policies NE.5 (Nature Conservation and Habitats) and BE.2 (Design Standards) of the Borough of Crewe and Nantwich Replacement Local Plan 2011."

Whilst this is a separate application, the premature removal of these trees prior to the submission of this application is directly defiant of the above condition and is clearly designed to remove a potential obstacle prior to consideration of the application.

Yours faithfully
Cllr Brian Silvester
Willaston and Rope Ward Councillor

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