Massive Nantwich houses plan a 'big ask' - council leader

Crewe Guardian: This diagram shows the footprint of the approved project This diagram shows the footprint of the approved project

AN application to build 1,100 houses on greenfields north of Nantwich town centre has been approved by borough councillors.

The bid, tabled by the ‘North West Nantwich Consortium’, which includes Reaseheath College and Mosaic Estates, is the single biggest parcel of land in the emerging Chshire East Local Plan – representing 4 per cent of all housing outlined in the document.

Leader of Cheshire East Council, Michael Jones, said granting planning permission was the ‘right thing to do’, but rejected a need for new primary school on the site because of its potential impact on drawing intake from rural schools.

Clr Jones added English Heritage had indicated they would not oppose Acton primary School being allowed to expand onto a neighbouring battlefield.

“I think this is a very easy decision for you,” he told councillors at Cheshire East Council's Strategic Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, February 5.

“People are saying: ‘if we have to have development in Nantwich, we want it here’.”

He said the ‘big ask’ of asking parish councils to accept the new houses would be eased by £20 million in Section 106 mitigation to improve local highways, which would include a diversion of the A51 and new north to south road extending from Waterlode.

“The parish councils are not happy, as you might expect. But we can get benefits to make it worthwhile.

“We’re going to take out some dangerous junctions and reduce traffic through Acton itself.

“This is a well thought through, well developed plan that’s taken a long, long time. It’s been very broadly consulted.

“Do I want this in my ward? No councillor would. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to make me popular? No. But it’s the right decision to approve it.”

A proposed amendment by clr Brendan Murphy to demand ‘at least’ 30 per cent affordable housing, rather than ‘up to’ 30 per cent was not supported.

Nantwich independent clr, Arthur Moran, supported the proposal, but said that message to Secretary of State Eric Pickles should be that ‘Nantwich has now done enough’ in meeting Government housing supply targets.

Citing extra cars on an already busy Nantwich school run, he added that councillors should keep an ‘open mind’ on Okaying a new primary school within walking distance of the new homes, when it is discussed in a later reserved matters application.

Work on new houses is likely to start in the New Year, with homes completed at a rate of 100 per year.

The entire scheme is likely to take 12 years to complete, with highways improvement triggered by the completion of the first 400 new homes.

The proposal includes land for small businesses linked to Reaseheath College, a retail centre, a community centre, riverside walkway, allotments, open space for a children’s playground, a multi-use games area and outdoor gym.

Meredydd David, principal at Reaseheath College, told the Guardian that cash generated by the land sale would pave the way for first class college facilities.

“We are very pleased with the decision and the recognition from the planners that this was a well thought out application with significant benefits that will come from the 106 agreement for the local community,” he said.

“It will mean that we will be able to deliver our master plan, which is to ensure our facilities and resources are the best possible for all of our students.”

What do you think about the plans for Nantwich being approved? Leave a comment below or email the newsdesk at yourviews@guardiangrp.co.uk

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