Secretary of state rejects Salford mixed-use scheme again over greenway harm

A mixed-use scheme on open land in Greater Manchester, including up to 600 homes, has been turned down for a second time after the secretary of state concluded that it would contravene development plan policy and harm a 'greenway' running through the conurbation.

Salford City Council first refused outline planning permission for developer Peel Investments' application for up to 600 homes and marina facilities, along with retail and other uses, at the Aviary Field site in Worsley in April 2013. The proposal was originally recovered for ministerial decision in December 2013.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire’s decision, announced this morning, endorses the March 2015 decision by previous communities secretary Eric Pickles to refuse permission for the development. Pickles’s verdict was overturned by the High Court in 2016.

Brokenshire agreed with inspector Michael Boniface, who held a reconvened public inquiry into the proposal in February and March this year, that the proposal would "fragment and detract from the openness and continuity" of the greenway and would cause "unacceptable harm to its character and its value as an amenity and open recreational resource", in conflict with Salford Council’s unitary development plan.

While finding that the city council could "comfortably" show an adequate supply of housing land overall, he noted that it is not meeting "significant deficiencies" in the number of "larger, aspirational family homes". The provision of "affordable and aspirational" housing attracted significant weight, he found.

However, he concluded that the scheme was not in accordance with the development plan overall. He gave very limited weight to the proposal’s transport benefits, only moderate weight to flood risk improvements and minimal weight to the provision of sports pitches and play areas.

Peel’s plans for development of 165 houses on a smaller part of the site were also rejected by the secretary of state.

Last weekBrokenshire overruled an inspector and backed a council's decision to refuse plans for 225 homes in Kent, after taking into account a landmark European court ruling that changed the rules around assessing impacts on protected habitats.

In Octoberhe backed Cornwall Council's decision to refuse plans for 226 homes on an unallocated greenfield site after agreeing with an inspector that the scheme would "significantly harm the landscape character and visual amenity of the area". 

Today's decision can be found by clicking the link below. 

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