Wistaston residents are overjoyed that Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Committee have unanimously turned down the Gladman application to build up to 300 homes in the Green Gap on land off Church Lane, Wistaston known locally as Witter’s Field. The decision was made at the Council’s Strategic Planning Board meeting held in the Municipal Buildings, Crewe last Wednesday afternoon. The decision to refuse was based upon it being in the Open Countryside and because it would erode the Green Gap between Crewe and Nantwich. This application attracted over 1300 letters of objection from local people and a petition with 2000 signatures was also presented to the Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, to protect the Crewe and Nantwich Green Gaps. Green Gaps are vital to help to retain the individual character of our Crewe and Nantwich towns and villages.
Wistaston Ward Councillor Margaret Simon, who spoke at the meeting says;
“I emphasised the importance of Witters Field to our Wistaston Community saying that it has been used for a variety of recreational purposes for generations. I also pointed out that the excellent local Primary Schools in Church Lane and Willaston are full as are the Nantwich High Schools and that would cause a problem with parental choice as they would not be able to accommodate children from any new Wistaston developments. The Portfolio Holder, Cllr Rachel Bailey, happens to be a member of the Committee and she picked up on this and has asked for more work to be done on the evaluation of local school places.”
Cllr Jacquie Weatherill who also spoke says;
“I argued that that this field is Grade 2 agricultural land and it is also in Open Countryside which happens to be in the Green Gap. It is the overwhelming opinion of the local community that this land should be treasured and not built on. The Council and we Councillors should strive to prevent urban sprawl into strategic open gaps. The Green Gap is there to ensure the two towns of Crewe and Nantwich are not merged.”
Parish Councillor Joyce Bond says;
“I explained the Highways difficulties to the Committee and there were comments from Members acknowledging that this was a problematic location to want to site access to a development.”
Peter Wainwright who spoke on behalf of Hands off Wistaston says;
“I was delighted to hear that during the week before the meeting the Committee had paid an impromptu visit to Witter’s Field. They had been able to see for themselves that the field was of great importance as an amenity to the village and mattered greatly to the Health and Wellbeing of the Community. The site is not sustainable for development the infrastructure around it will not support it.”
Gladman, the development company wanting to gain planning permission on the land, were not represented at the meeting. Councillors and residents are waiting to hear if they will be taking the application on to Appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.
Borough Councillors, Parish Councillors and Hands off Wistaston representatives would like to publicly thank everyone who, in any way, has joined in with the campaign to help to fight this application and to remind them that their continued support is vitally needed if they are to keep Wistaston safe from unplanned, unsustainable and unwanted development.