Two separate appeals were made by developers Harrow Estates plc and Bridgemere Land PLC and Bridgemere JV Ltd against refusals for outline planning permission by Cheshire West and Chester Council for 300 and 350 homes respectively.
The council’s grounds for refusal centred on concerns about the impact of the developments on local roads.
However, following a public inquiry, inspector Stephen Roscoe recommended that both appeals be allowed. A decision letter issued on behalf of Pickles this week said he agreed with the inspector's conclusions.
The letter said Pickles found that the council was unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites, as required by the National Planning Policy Framework, and agreed with the inspector that the appeals "should be considered in the context of the presumption in favour of sustainable development".
It said Pickles agreed with the inspector that the council’s "poor housing land supply situation renders the related local plan policies out of date [and] the appeal proposals, either in combination or individually, are necessary now to meet immediate housing need".
It also said Pickles "found that proposals would provide substantial benefits both in terms of the government’s objective to secure a better balance between housing demand and supply, and the government’s objective to secure the creation of high quality, sustainable, mixed and inclusive communities".
Pickles concluded that the proposals "would not have a severe impact on the transportation network with reference to the highway junctions in Hartford, although would have an adverse but limited impact on the network in relation to the morning peak queuing on The Green and on Chester Road in an eastbound direction".
But it said that he agreed with the inspector’s conclusion that any negative impact "in combination or individually would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposals such as to justify dismissing the appeals".
"The secretary of state is satisfied that the proposals represent sustainable development", it added.
Click here to download the decision from Compass Online (subscription service): DCS number 200-001-281