Coole Acres Fishery and Leisure Park - August 2022 (1) (1)

Councillors have deferred an application to expand a fishery and leisure park at Newhall near Nantwich so they can visit the site to assess the suitability of the access road, writes Belinda Ryan.

Coole Acres Fishery and Leisure Park, on Coole Lane, applied to Cheshire East Council for permission to remodel hatchery ponds to create a new lake and to use land for the siting of 19 holiday lodges and two mobile camping pods.

On Wednesday, ward councillor Rachel Bailey (Audlem, Con) told the southern planning committee: “Coole Lane is a rural lane of six miles long, in poor state of repair with no pavement ways and a road surface that is eroded and grass verges that are virtually not present.

“So actually, in glibly saying in the report that accessibility and the opportunity to cycle and walk is plentiful, is wrong.”

She added: “I don’t believe I can be assured that safety has been taken into account here.”

The committee also heard from objectors who claimed there was no evidence the business needed to expand on that site.

Richard Lee, the applicant’s agent, argued there was justification for the business to expand at that location.

He added: “Coole Lane is an existing developed site in its own right with access roads, associated buildings and infrastructure, it is not a greenfield site.”

In response to questions about the justification for the expansion, planning officer Gareth Taylerson told the committee: “The [council’s] visitor economy manager has said there is a need [for this type of staycation].

“He hasn’t said that it has to be in this location but he has said within Cheshire East… but it would make sense to utilise this existing site.”

Cllr David Marren (Shavington, Ind) said he was concerned about the highways issues and he would have liked a site visit.

Cllr Sarah Pochin (Bunbury, Non-Grouped) said: “I also would have welcomed a site visit because you can’t visualise what this is going to look like or really visualise the lane.”

Crewe councillor Laura Smith (Lab) asked whether the proposed lodges would just be for those taking advantage of the fishing or open to all kinds of tourists.

Mr Taylerson thought it would be both.

Cllr Steve Edgar (Haslington, Con) said he was concerned there could be up to 80 people staying at the site “and I would say probably 20 of them are going to be dangling worms in water”.

He continued: “There are over 60 other people who are going to be accessing Coole Lane.

“I know Coole Lane, I know how bad the road is for walkers and cyclists and I think we need to look at that road and just see what the other 60 people, who don’t want to go fishing, are going to be doing.”

He proposed the application be deferred for a site visit so councillors could see the highways issues and this was seconded by Cllr Pochin.

Officers were also asked, by Crewe councillor Anthony Critchley (Lab) to provide further evidence to the next meeting of a need for the expansion.

The application was deferred with six councillors voting in favour and four abstaining.

(Image courtesy of Jonathan White)

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