Rule change means less for com­mu­nity

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

THE COM­MU­NITY is miss­ing out on more than £120,000 of de­vel­op­ers’ cash af­ter a change in the law.

Cheshire East coun­cil is al­lowed to ask de­vel­op­ers for money to put to­wards com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties as part of agree­ments made in plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions.

This ‘sec­tion 106’ agree­ment could go to­wards af­ford­able hous­ing or parks, and is a con­di­tion of the plan­ning per­mis­sion.

But the gov­ern­ment has is­sued new guid­ance which means coun­cils can no longer ask de­vel­op­ers build­ing less than ten houses for sec­tion 106 con­tri­bu­tions.

This has led to de­vel­op­ers re­sub­mit­ting pre­vi­ously ap­proved ap­pli­ca­tions with sec­tion 106 agree­ments re­moved, with the po­ten­tial for more de­vel­op­ers com­ing for­ward.

At the last North­ern Plan­ning Com­mit­tee meet­ing, coun­cil­lors dealt with three such ap­pli­ca­tions for Mac­cles­field. The first ap­pli­ca­tion to de­mol­ish Ar­mitt Street Works and build 10 ter­raced homes was pre­vi­ously ap­proved with an agree­ment for £40,000 for im­prove­ments at South Park. Another ap­pli­ca­tion by the same ap­pli­cant for ten ter­raced homes on land north of Park Royal Drive was agreed with £40,000 per house for out­door fa­cil­i­ties at Christchurch, West Park, Shaw Street and South Park.

An ap­pli­ca­tion by Peaks and Plains Hous­ing Trust to de­mol­ish garages and build a three-storey apart­ment block and houses on Tenby Road, Mac­cles­field, was orig­i­nally agreed with £24,000 for public open space else­where in the town. But the ap­pli­cants re­sub­mit­ted the ap­pli­ca­tions and coun­cil­lors were forced to ap­prove them with­out the ex­tra cash.

Nick Turpin, coun­cil plan­ning of­fi­cer, said the move is to en­cour­age de­vel­op­ers to build on brown­field and warned the coun­cil has no chance of win­ning at ap­peal if coun­cil­lors re­fused the ap­pli­ca­tions.

Coun Martin Hardy, speak­ing on the Ar­mitt Street ap­pli­ca­tion, said: “This doesn’t fit well with me what­so­ever. The ap­pli­ca­tion was granted on March 4 and all of a sud­den it’s com­ing back to us. This has been ap­proved and now we’re hav­ing a point­less de­bate about whether we’re happy. This is at detri­ment to the lo­cal com­mu­nity and peo­ple who use South Park. I’ve got no is­sue with the scheme but that prin­ci­ple. It’s a quandary, we’re dammed if we do or don’t.”

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