Plan appeal decision could be challenged
The decision to allow five warehouses to be built in Alsager could be challenged, according to a town councillor.
In March, Construction Development Projects' proposal, involving 19,236sqm of floorspace, parking and landscaping off Crewe Road, was won on appeal after Cheshire East Council had twice refused permission.
Planning inspector Kelly Ford ruled that while the warehousing would be taller than surrounding residential developments, the three units closest to the homes would be set back within the site and that overall the height, scale and massing would be less than other units at Radway Green.
She said the scale of the scheme would allow for “sufficient space for adequate mitigation planting and would not cause significant harm to the changing character of that part of Alsager”.
In reaching her decision, Ms Ford set out a number of conditions relating to landscaping, ecological surveys and compliance with flood risk assessments.
In response to concerns that the type of employment proposed would not generate appropriate economic benefits, the inspector said Cheshire East Council's local plan did not specify a specific type of employment use for the site.
The outcome of the appeal hearing was met with disappointment by those in Alsager who opposed it, as reported by the Chronicle.
One of them, Lib Dem town councillor Derek Hough, who spoke in opposition to the application during the appeal hearing last month, has indicated an attempt could be made to challenge the appeal decision.
He said: “My first inclination is to check whether the appeal result can be challenged and whether we can afford it. If so it will be considered by the planning division of the town council.
“If not we will have to work with the conclusion of the appeal. It stresses that there is still much to play for. An application - the reserved matters application - must be agreed with Cheshire East Council regarding the site's appearance. That has still to be submitted. We should ask for a pre-submission stage where all residents would have a say before the application is made and hopefully we can reach agreement that in spite of the previous animosity a suitable solution can be found.”
Challenges to a planning appeal can be made in the High Court if there is a belief that the planning inspectorate made a mistake in coming to its decision. Legal advice would be required, which could be costly.
Meanwhile “minor corrections” required to Alsager's neighbourhood plan will be considered by Cheshire East Council.
As reported previously, on the eve of the neighbourhood plan referendum in February, the result of which was overwhelmingly in favour of it, an error was found in the referendum document relating to the site proposed for the warehousing development.
Although the error would not “significantly impact the plan” Cheshire East said it would be corrected after the vote. However the planning appeal inspector said that as the amendments had not been confirmed and the relevant wording to comply with the findings was not before her, it limited the weight she could attach to the referendum conducting in coming to her appeal decision.
Now details of the decision to “make” the Alsager Neighbourhood Plan and make minor corrections have been published and will be considered by portfolio holder for planning Coun Toni Fox.
She will be asked to accept the proposed corrections and confirm the Alsager Neighbourhood Plan is made following the successful referendum, to ensure that the plan forms part of the development for Cheshire East.