New ‘bombshell’ over 750-home plan for quarry

Residents and councillors have been shocked by the “bombshell” of plans for another 400 homes at White Moss Quarry. 
Campaigner and Alsager resident Sylvia Dyke told councillors at a council meeting last Tuesday about the announcement following a meeting with the White Moss Quarry Liaison Group earlier in the day.
Having spoke about her shock about the number of homes being set out for the old university site, Mrs Dyke added: “This is not the only sort of bombshell to all our hopes about a finish to the housing frenzy because today we had a White Moss Quarry meeting, where we were told about plans for another 400 houses on the northern part of the quarry, which would take the site up to 750 houses.”
Outline planning permission for 350 homes was granted in August this year for the southern part of the site. 
Renew Land Development put in an application in May for the northern part of the site and it was due to go before Cheshire East Council earlier this month, but was delayed. 
The documentation described plans for a large lake enclosed by woodland in the north of the site with marsh vegetation in and around the lake. 
Residents said they felt “cheated” by these proposals due to the lack of public access. 
These plans were due to go before the Southern Planning Board on Wednesday, but they were not on the agenda for the meeting. 
On Thursday a revised restoration plan was submitted to the council, which no longer made reference to the large lake and instead described “the introduction of a large shallow open waterbody to maximise opportunities for wading birds.”
There has been no mention by the applicant of plans for additional homes on the site but this was mentioned to representatives at the liaison meeting on Tuesday. 
The White Moss Quarry Liaison Group has been active for many years and after a break started up again in 2012 with the intention of keeping residents up to date with what was going on with the site. 
In addition Mrs Dyke, who is there to represent the local residents, the group consists of a town councillor, Cheshire East councillor, Haslington parish councillor and representatives from the quarry and Cheshire East Council.  
Coun Jane Smith, who was the town councillor present at last Tuesday’s meeting, said: “It was a total bombshell because we went thinking we were going to be talking about the restoring of the northern part of the quarry to wet land habitat but no, we were talking about potentially another 400 homes. It came as a bit of a shock.”
Coun Smith also criticised the lack of meetings that have been set up for the group. 
She said: “The communication has been absolutely appalling. Cheshire East Council promised us it would be better from now. One example of this is that there was a site visit on the 1st May and we only found out about it because Sylvia put an Freedom Of Information request in to get hold of any information she could about that meeting. 
“And that’s what’s happening with the liaison group in place.”
The site on Butterton Lane, is on the boundary of Alsager and Haslington and there was no representative from Haslington at the meeting last Tuesday. 
Coun Smith said: “There wasn’t anyone from Haslington there and this is a site that needs to be taken seriously.”
Mrs Dyke, along with others, has been fighting for the site for many years after she said there were plans drawn up for the restoration in 1988 and a bond of surety was drawn up in 1989.
She said that the original plans showed a large lake and restored wetland with public access around the entire site. 
However, the latest plans are just for a “waterbody” and now the group has been told of the potential extra 400 homes.  
Mrs Dyke added: “The trouble with this site is that’s outside the Alsager boundary. But the impact is all on Alsager and no one from Haslington turns up to the liaison meetings. So it’s all up to Alsager to put up a stand about that.
“The applicant has been stalling about the restoration and they don’t believe what we say about any agreements, they are ready to throw those out of the window and they are just going to make it one big building site.”
The plans for the restoration of the site can be viewed on Cheshire East Council’s website under 15/2259N.