Cheshire mixed-use scheme refused over nearby town centre retail impact concerns

Plans for a retail-led mixed-use development on an out-of-centre site in Cheshire have been refused by the local authority after planners advised that the scheme would have a "significantly adverse impact" on a nearby town centre.

A masterplan visualisation of the development. (pic: Muller Property Group)
A masterplan visualisation of the development. (pic: Muller Property Group)

Cheshire East Council yesterday refused a hybrid application for the New Cross Square scheme on a seven-hectare greenfield site at Sandbach.

The application sought full consent for a 1,956 square metre foodstore with 110 parking spaces, a petrol station, food and retail units, and 849 square metres of office space.

Outline consent was also sought for a care home, 85 new homes, and the refurbishment of an existing farmhouse currently occupied as two separate dwellings.

A planning report, which recommended refusal, noted that the site is within the Settlement Zone Line identified in the Sandbach Neighbourhood Plan. As such, it said, "the principle of residential development on this site is considered to be acceptable".

However, on retail impacts, planners advised that the impacts of the scheme would be unacceptable.

Despite accepting that there were no sequentially preferable sites for the scheme, planners found that the "development would have a high trade impact and would have a significantly adverse impact upon Sandbach Town Centre".

As a result, the proposed development would be contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework and local planning policies, the report advised.

While recognising employment benefits arising from the scheme, planners concluded that these would be outweighed by the identified harms.

Earlier this month, plans were refused for a 14,650 square metre retail park to the north west of Cambridge after planners advised that the scheme could have a "significant adverse impact" on investment in the town centre of a 10,000-home new settlement currently under construction.

In June, plans were refused for a 56,000 square metre mixed-use employment-led scheme on a greenfield site on the edge of Yeovil in Somerset, in line with a recommendation from planners who concluded that the development could compromise the council's strategy for "regenerating, enhancing and improving the vitality of Yeovil town centre".

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