Brokenshire blocks 'undeliverable' 1,200-home Cheshire scheme

The housing secretary has refused a planning appeal for a 1,200-home development in Cheshire, after agreeing with a planning inspector that it was 'very difficult to see how the scheme can be regarded as deliverable' because of site ownership issues.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire
Housing secretary James Brokenshire

Developer Satnam Millennium had appealed against the decision of Warrington Borough Council to refuse its plans for the homes, employment and retail space, a school and supporting infrastructure on the site at Peel Hall, Warrington.

Following an appeal, a planning inspector recommended that the plans be refused. A decision letter issued on behalf of the housing secretary James Brokenshire this afternoon agreed with this conclusion.

The letter said that Brokenshire had found that the council was unable to demonstrate a five year housing land supply, as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). As such, he concluded, the NPPF’s presumption in favour of sustainable development applied.

The letter said that the secretary of state was "not satisfied that there would be no adverse impacts on the efficiency and safety of the local and strategic network or on local air quality, and he gives significant weight to these factors".

However, the letter said that, "of even greater weight" than this was "the fact that he considers that the scheme is not deliverable as proposed".

The letter said Brokenshire agreed with the inspector that, without any evidence that a playing field site is available for the development proposed, "it is very difficult to see how the scheme can be regarded as deliverable as there is no reason to consider that the site would necessarily be sold to the appellant or that it would come forward as part of, or linked to, this scheme".

The letter said Brokenshire recognised that, "if the scheme were to be considered deliverable, the fact that it could provide up to 1,200 dwellings, 30 per cent of which would be affordable, would attract significant weight".

However, the letter concluded, Brokenshire considered that "the merits of the scheme need to be left for further consideration once the issue of control over all parts of the site has been resolved and it becomes capable of implementation".

Earlier this weekBrokenshire rejected a housing association's appeal against a council's refusal of its plans for the 366-home redevelopment of a west London housing estate, after he concluded that the resulting net loss of social housing would be unacceptable.

Earlier in December, the minister rejected an appeal seeking planning permission for 203 homes in Milton Keynes, against an inspector's recommendation for approval, citing concerns about the low density of the proposals.

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