Strategic Planning Board – Dunnocksfold Road Decision.
The case against the Jones Homes Dunnocksfold Road building proposal was well presented at yesterday’s Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board meeting in Crewe, with a number of strong contributions.
The meeting itself was chaired by Councillor Derek Hough who also, following public participation, opened and steered the debate on the Dunnocksfold Road site very constructively.
Councillor Rod Fletcher, one of our Cheshire East councillors made a valuable contribution and gave a good presentation about Alsager and the site location arguing in favour of the planning officer’s recommendation of refusal. Strong and relevant points were also made by Hon. Alderman Derek Bould, the ARAG president and Chris Peake who lives close to the proposed site.
ARAG argued that this proposal is outside the Local and Town plan, the traffic on Dunnocksfold Road is very dangerous and mustn’t be exacerbated, the agricultural land classification is in dispute and the Hedgerow is important and therefore another reason for refusal.
The Board unanimously refused the proposal on the grounds that Cheshire East already has a 5 year supply, this site is not in the Town or the Local Plan and it intrudes into open countryside, in contravention with plan policies.
Following the public contributions and the debate, we understand that the Board when giving reasons for refusal, will point out that there is strong public concern over dangerous traffic, loss of hedgerow and the disputed agricultural field classification.
The developer did not present any evidence to support their application but they did take the opportunity to inform the Strategic Planning Board it would be their intention to appeal any refusal. This is a significant concern as it demonstrates the low level of importance placed by the developer on this phase of the democratic planning process.
We feel that it is very important at this stage of the planning process that every opportunity is taken to present the case which reflects the opinion of local residents. It is disappointing that although Rod Fletcher ably presented the Alsager case as a Cheshire East Councillor and the meeting was well attended by ARAG members who also contributed, the Town Council, with its wide range of planning experience did not take advantage of the prescribed presentation slot available to them to voice their concerns.
We must emphasise, having experienced the Inspector’s meeting on the recent Hassall Road appeal, that it is very important to make sure we are as well represented as possible in these meetings.
This is not the end of the matter, as it is highly likely the developer will appeal the decision, as has been the case in most of the other recent refusals. However, it was a very good start and the fight goes on.