Chelford retirement community rejected outright

Plans for the Holly Tree House site in Cheshire’s green belt have been turned down, while a 200,000 square foot warehouse at the British Salt factory in Middlewich can go ahead.

In accordance with the officer’s recommendation, Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board refused Chelford’s proposal, with 11 members voting to reject the application of David Hughes, the former sports retail magnate.

The town planner J10 and the architect Pozzoni advised the applicant.

The Holly Tree Park scheme proposed the demolition of some existing buildings and their replacement with a 60-bed registered care home with isolation facilities, 72 assisted living apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms each in 13 blocks, and a central village building comprising 14 community care units and a clinic.

On the site would be retained a fishing and boating lake, a tennis court, gardens and wooded walks. The plans were originally due to be presented to the SPB in October but, with a recommended rejection, they were withdrawn and amended.

Planning documents refer to a 10-acre site being considered, while the entire Holly Tree House estate has already been marketed at 24 acres in total.

A total of 133 objections were registered locally, but more than 40 letters of support were also submitted, while a Christie & Co care needs assessment suggested a severe shortage of care beds in the area, a shortage over 500 in 2020.

However, the site is entirely within the green belt and its developers have failed to convince officers that the threshold of ‘very special circumstances’ required to overcome this weighting has been met.

Webb Gray is the architect of the British Salt project. Credit: via Barques

British Salt’s application, discussed at the end of a five-hour meeting, saw the approval of a motion that authority be delegated to the head of planning to approve the program with a series of conditions attached .

The company, together with its partner Stoford Properties, has presented plans for a 197,715 square foot building comprising a warehouse and ancillary offices on land off Faulkner Drive, Middlewich, within the company estate. Webb Gray is the architect and Avison Young the planner.

British Salt, owned by Tata Chemicals Europe, has received consent for plans including a new manufacturing plant in the summer of 2021. Local concerns were mainly centered on increased heavy truck traffic caused by the expansion.

The approval means some loss of biodiversity as the planned 11.3 acre site is partly forested, meaning a condition has been attached to the provision of off-site biodiversity. Ten of the SPB voted in favor of the plans.

Elsewhere in a packed agenda, Redrow received reserved matters approval for 454 homes on land off Giantswood Lane and Manchester Road in Congleton.

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