Points To Make

There are a wide range of points that can be raised when objecting to a planning proposal, the list that follows gives some of them:

  • Alsager does not have a need for 1000 more houses.  We have empty properties and houses which have been on the market for a long time.  There is no justification for releasing greenfield sites to housing.
  • Alsager has 3 brownfield sites which should be considered first before any greenfield sites are released.
  • Greenfield sites should only be used in exceptional circumstances.
  • The town plan has withdrawn the greenfield sites from consideration.
  • In the absence of a Cheshire East Plan, the old Congleton Borough plan stands and this states that Alsager is an area of housing restraint.  Greenfield sites should not be used.
  • Alsager is in a rural setting and the greenfields are vital to agriculture, recreation and wild life .  Destroying greenfields removes possibilities for future  generations. 
This an interesting extract from a residents recent objection:
  • Sustainability. By definition housing developments must meet the present needs of communities without compromising those of future generations. As with other human activity, housing development must focus on using less natural resources and avoid negative impacts on the environment and precious eco-systems. I therefore object to this application in particular and all other unnecessary building on our green fields on the grounds that all such developments around Alsager are NOT SUSTAINABLE in any way. This and other proposed green field developments, artificial and disputed forecasts notwithstanding, neither meet Alsager’s present needs nor the needs of future generations and their right to enjoy living in a well-planned, attractive, thriving community which has within it sufficient green space for leisure and sports and outside it – unspoilt countryside and not urban sprawl. 
These points were raised on Dunnocksfold Road.

Jones Homes in their planning submission admit that their proposal for a
Dunnocksfold Road development is contrary to existing Local Plan policies. Similarly,
the Cheshire East public notice states that it appears to the council that this
development does not accord with the provisions of the Development plan in force in
the area. This is obviously the case.
The Town Development Plan was produced by the Town Council, after consulting on
the expressed wishes of Alsager Residents. Central Government and Cheshire East
procedures were rigidly followed and Cheshire East accepted the Alsager Town plan
as part of their emerging plan.
The Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board are responsible amongst other things for
the development and implementation of their Development Strategy & Policy
Principles. Any proposal that does not fit with these principles therefore must be
rejected. The legitimacy of the existing Alsager Town Plan defines one of those
principles.
All of the Jones Homes arguments about the need for housing in Alsager are therefore
irrelevant, the ability to generate a 5 years supply is demonstrated by adherence to the
Alsager Town plan. Furthermore, as this Town plan embodies the expressed wishes of
Alsager residents, i.e. Area J is specifically excluded from consideration, this
application must be rejected on these ground alone.
Jones Homes make great play in their submission that the proposed development is
sustainable. The most sustainable course of action is to keep the field as it is. It is
Cheshire Agricultural land. Nothing could be more sustainable than that.
In Alsager, there is no strong evidential base of a demand for housing. Probably the
main housing driver is elderly people wanting to move to either bungalows or sheltered
housing but they are struggling to sell their own houses anyhow. Anything that drives
up the supply of houses above the assessed need of Alsager (that defined in the Town
plan) is therefore unsustainable.
If the owners of the field do not want to use the field for agriculture that is their decision
but that is not a justification for changing the status of the land and then building. This
year, the year the owners submit their application, the fields and hedges have not been maintained after constant continual agricultural use and effective maintenance.
If sustainability is so important and if the owner does not wish to use the field
for agriculture or care that this dereliction of duty is inconsistent with the well
maintained nature of the local area , a much better solution would be for the
town or like minded residents to buy the field and provide much needed
recreational facilities. That would be really sustainable.
Jones Homes argue that the Alsager Brownfield sites can not be taken into
account because it is unlikely that plans would come forward in the next 5 years
to meet the Alsager Quota. They are wrong. The Twyfords submission has
been passed and we are led to believe that a MMU submission is imminent.
The residents of Alsager have clearly expressed their view that the substantial
brownfield sites of Alsager should be carefully developed in a way that
enhances the town. This now appears to be happening and therefore far from
being sustainable, any attempts to build outside the parameters set by the Town
Plan themselves would be unsustainable.
Apart from the above arguments, which are sufficient ground for rejection
themselves, it must be taken into account that contrary to Jones Homes
assessment, Dunnocksfold Road is dangerous. Adding a significant amount of
traffic along this country road and increasing the already large numbers of
children walking along the single footpath to school would be irresponsible. The
road is narrow in places, with blind corners. Parking creates blind spots along
the road with oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road and there can be
significant congestion and confusion at the junction with Hassall Road. Near
misses are a regular occurrence on Dunnocksfold Road. Rather than believing
Jones Homes’ selective and biassed statistics, it would be far more effective
and democratic if Cheshire East carried out a poll of local people who use
Dunnocksfold Road to ask them if they consider the road to be safe, well
maintained and capable of taking extra load. It can only be a matter of time
before there is a serious accident. Is is not very likely that Jones Homes or
Cheshire East would take or acknowledge any responsibility should such an
accident occur having ignored the expressed wishes of the Alsager Community.
Alsager already has serious congestion in the town centre. The infrastructure
can barely support the current population. Any increase that is outside the
parameters of the Town plan will exacerbate the situation, which is rapidly
becoming non-sustainable.

Unfortunately in her report following the appeal, the Inspector, having  agreed with all of these points, stated that in her view, the need for housing and Cheshire East’s lack of a Local Plan meant that there must be a presumption in favour of development.  This argument has trumped all others.  

 

The points below are an extract from objections raised by an Alsager resident about the Hall Drive proposal.  These are well worth reading and several of the points apply to all Green Field applications.  You can see all of the detailed objections  on a particular planning application.  See CURRENT GREENFIELD APPLICATIONS, select the one you are interested in and click on the first column of any objection / document  to get the detail..  This can really help in putting together your own objections..
I disagree with the entire proposal for housing off Hall Drive.
(1) It is not “underutilised agricultural fields”: both cropped well last year. One crop failed this year because it was waterlogged.
(2) The waterlogged nature of the site makes it unattractive without extensive land drains.
(3) Putting in such land drains would destroy the water retentive nature of the fields, so creating flooding problems elsewhere by tipping water (from heavy rain) straight into the brook at a faster rate than that with which it can cope.
(4) It is a proposal to build on a flood plain and water retention area.
(5) When we took out house insurance this year, only 7 quotes were available on price comparison sites because our house is within 250m of the watercourse. However we got it because our house is raised above the flood plain. This development will not be raised above it.

(6) Whereas the developers claim to be building above the flood risk line, it is just the type and location of development that will raise that flood risk line.

(7) It is wrong to build on green field land south of the brook, extending the built-up area of Alsager unnecessarily.

(8) Alsager has 10-20 years’ building land already identified in the Alsager Town Development Plan, mainly on the MMU and Twyfords sites. We do not need additional building land.

(9) That town plan identifies this land as NOT to be built on.

(10) It is particularly wrong to be proposing to build on these sites before the MMU and Twyfords sites are developed. We must use brownfield sites before greenfield ones, and those other two sites offer vastly more housing potential than your proposed sites.

(11) As for the forecast requirement for housing, that is derived by mere statistical techniques with little or no reference to local conditions. In Alsager we have just lost the two largest remaining employers, the MMU and Twyfords factory. The remaining large employer (BAE Radway Green) has automated its lines and cut workforce despite winning the full UK supply contract. Lack of employment is translating already into lack of demand for housing in Alsager, with one primary school closing last year due to lack of demand. House prices have dropped greatly over the last decade, in comparison with prices in Kidsgrove, and there are many houses proving impossible to sell in the town. Therefore, if there will be renewed demand in Alsager after the recession is over, that will be weak and fully met by the Twyfords and MMU sites.

(12) The electric power lines on that side of Alsager are considered over capacity. (Practical capacity is set at 85% of nominal capacity, to accommodate variations and surges in demand.)

(13) Sewerage is inadequate to take this additional housing.

(14) Part of the site lies within the blast exclusion zone of Radway Green, which is illegal to build on in such developments.

(15) At peak times, the junction from Hall Drive onto Crewe Road clogs up severely. While I recognise that the entrance has been previously determined as having a much larger capacity, that is only true when considered alone. In reality it is very near to the cross-roads of Crewe Road with Church Road and Station Road, so the two junctions affect each other’s capacity and smooth flowing.

(16) There are voles resident in the brook, which will be disturbed by the development and by having so much housing nearby. They are an endangered species. Likewise, much wildlife (including buzzard, hawks and hoopoes) feed on the fields.

(17) The pedestrian crossing of the railway line, rarely used now by unaccompanied children, will be used frequently if there are houses nearby (even right up to it), leading to a major safety risk.

(18) According to the Congleton Borough Plan (which is still valid until Cheshire East publishes its own) identifies Alsager as an area of HOUSING RESTRAINT.

(19) We need to retain as much agricultural land as possible, given the rapidly expanding population of Great Britain and increasing difficulties in importing food from abroad as other countries develop and consume more.