After an 18 month consultation period, the application to build a 60-bed care home, a further 72 apartments, 14 “close care” suites, along with a pumping station, electricity sub-station, bin storage, allotments, bowling feature and 100+ space car-park was unanimously rejected by Cheshire East Council Strategic Planning Board on Wednesday 2nd February, 2022.
Local parish councillors from Snelson, Chelford, Over Peover and Ollerton with Marthall along with several members of the public crowded into Macclesfield Town Hall to watch the proceedings. The aforementioned councils were united in their opposition to the proposal and had been working together to oppose the development since early 2020. Only one councillor was allowed to voice the concerns of locals and since the development fell within the boundary of our parish, Cllr Speakman spoke.
Cllr Speakman stressed that the site was currently just a “large-ish house with some outbuildings and mostly undeveloped land” making the plan wholly disproportionate. It was pointed out that “the application is unsustainable” and that the applicant was being forced to add “new footpaths, car parking, shuttle-busses and lighting to try and meet the required credentials”. The site and adjacent areas contain considerable biodiversity including important, protected wildlife such as Great Crested Newts. Indeed, part of the site is a peat bog, known as “Stockin Moss” it has been designated a “Local Wildlife Site” and as you would expect for a “moss” it is regularly flooded in winter and the proposed drainage of this land, would have had a devastating effect on wildlife.
Proceedings took an unusually short 30 minutes during which the following criticisms were made by the planning officer.
- The proposed development would represent inappropriate development within the Green Belt.
- Loss of openness and encroachment
- Unsustainable location
- Concentration of specialist care facilities resulting in an imbalance
- Adverse impact upon roosting bats and Great Crested Newts
Opposition was also received from a number of official bodies including the NHS, who said the development would have “an unfair negative impact on primary care services availability to other residents living locally”. It was also pointed out that the area already has “21 care homes…that have an 852 bed capacity”
The parish councils of Over Peover, Chelford, Snelson and Ollerton with Marthall await any appeal application, but remain resolute and determined in their opposition to this application which would have a devastatingly negative effect on local health, openness, amenity and wildlife.