Bulkeley homes - councillors reject

A developer’s bid to add four more homes to a rural development near Bickerton Hill has been rejected by councillors, writes Stephen Topping.

Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee turned down a scheme from Torus Group to build 17 homes – including six affordable properties – on vacant former agricultural land in Mill Lane, Bulkeley.

The developer previously secured planning permission for 13 homes on the site at appeal in 2017.

CEC officers felt there was “no justification” to add the extra homes, with the council having more than the five-year housing land supply it needs under planning law.

Calling on the committee to agree with their view, Cllr Stan Davies, Conservative CEC member for Wrenbury, said: “We do agree there have to be more houses and that is why we came up with a plan.

“Thirteen was plenty – too many more on that site makes it look like a housing estate, and not part of the countryside.

“If you live where I live there is nowhere more beautiful in the world.

“This must not be spoiled.”

CEC received 13 objections to the plans from residents, while Bulkeley and Ridley Parish Council argued the development’s housing density would be ‘at odds with the general character’ of the area.

But Ben Thornley, representing Torus, emphasised the developer is a not-for-profit association looking to provide the “homes people need in the location they need them”.

He said: “The development site in Bulkeley offers the opportunity for Torus to deliver six affordable homes for local people, while also delivering a further 11 open-market properties.

“All of the properties have been designed to a very high standard to ensure they offer some of the highest levels of energy efficiency.

“The proposed development does not seek to increase the developable area of the site – rather, it makes best use of an existing site with planning permission.”

During the debate, Labour Cllr Jill Rhodes admitted she could understand the increase in housing to make the scheme commercially viable, but suggested the design is ‘not appropriate for the location’.

Cllr Andrew Kolker, Conservative, added: “When this first came before this committee several years ago we were in different times.

“We now certainly do have a local plan, we certainly do have more than a five-year housing land supply, so I have no hesitation in supporting the officers’ recommendation to refuse.”

Members voted to reject the plans by nine votes to one.

Cllr Davies, who normally sits on the southern planning committee, did not vote on the item.

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