Cheshire East’s Strategic Planning Board has today approved the building of 350 houses on the White Moss site. Basically the argument put forward was “because it’s in the Submission Version of the Local Plan it can’t be refused.” which seems a ridiculous argument considering that the Planning Inspectorate was scheduled to determine if White Moss should even be in the Local Plan.

There was a three-hour debate with a range of substantive issues raised about the problems of the site. The Officers largely led this debate and argued that the ‘benefits to housing supply’ effectively trumped all other issues. It was clearly being railroaded through prior to the Inspector’s Examination of the Local Plan next month.

An initial ‘Motion to Refuse’ permission was only supported by Councillor Hough – who had presented the arguments very well, Councillor Brendan Murphy (Independent) – who was excellent on the issues – and Councillor Janet Jackson (Labour/Macclesfield). Councillor Paul Edwards (Independent/Middlewich) abstained on all votes.

A ‘Motion to Approve’ was then proposed by Councillor David Brown and seconded by Councillor Steve Wilkinson and put to the vote.

It was not a ‘named vote’ but we believe those in favour of approval were:

  • Councillor Harold Davenport (Chair/Disley/ Con))
  • Councillor George Walton (Deputy Chair/ Chelford/Con)
  • Councillor Rhoda Bailey (Odd Rode/Con)
  • Councillor David Brown (Congleton East/ Deputy Leader/Portfolio Holder-Local Plan/ Con)
  • Councillor John Hammond (Haslington/Con)
  • Councillor Roger West (Poynton West and Adlington/ Con)
  • Councillor Steve Wilkinson (High Leigh/Con)
  • Councillor John Wray (Brereton Rural/ Con)
Which seems to suggest that this was a political group decision that conflicts with statements by the Council’s Leadership ‘that politics plays no part in planning’.

It is particularly sad that Councillors Rhoda Bailey (Odd Rode) and John Hammond (Haslington) voted against the wishes of their neighbouring community of Alsager.