Hassall Road Decision
Unfortunately, we have to report the bad news that the Hassall Road Appeal has been successful, which means that unless Cheshire East decides to fight the case and take it to judicial review, the Hassall Road site is now lost.
In his report, which can be found here, the Inspector justified his decision with some key points:
- ”The National Planning Policy Framework (the NPP Framework) advises that a lack of a demonstrable five-year supply of deliverable housing sites would mean that relevant policies in the local plan should not be considered up to date. Where relevant policies in the development plan are out of date, planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefit.” (6). CheshireEast can not demonstrate a 5 year supply, so there is a presumption in favour of development,
- The Alsager Town plan only identifies sites for 890 houses out of its 1,000 allocation and the Inspector decided that this was a justification to pass this proposal. (58). During the appeal, the Barrister representing the Developer pointed out that the Town Plan numbers don’t add up.
- The Town Plan records, that there is a need for an additional 36 affordable houses each year in Alsager (60) . As previously pointed out, this is a mistake in the Town plan, as 36 affordable houses per annum over the plan period would represent over 70 % of the houses to be built. The target is 30%. The Barrister representing the Developer successfully used this discrepancy to identify what she termed as pent-up demand in Alsager.
( (n) references the Inspector’s report )
The obvious point from this decision is that if we as a Community are to defend Alsager, we need robust professional evidence. It is quite clear from the Inspector’s report that Cheshire East offered no defence base on Highways, Infrastructure, Environment or Services.
To use the language of the Inspector’s report,
“planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefit.”
If we can’t identify adverse impacts which demonstrably outweigh the benefit, we will lose most if not all of the sites.