De­vel­op­ers sit­ting on hous­ing per­mis­sions

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - KAREN BRIT­TON

DE­VEL­OP­ERS are sit­ting on plan­ning per­mis­sions for hun­dreds of homes at a time when swathes of green belt are at risk.

Fig­ures re­leased by Cheshire East Couc­nil show de­vel­op­ers are ‘land bank­ing’ sites around Mac­cles­field, gain­ing plan­ning per­mis­sion to build new homes but fail­ing to com­plete the build.

Be­tween April 1, 2009 and De­cem­ber 31, 2015 plan­ning per­mis­sion was given for 4,921 houses in Mac­cles­field.

This is a net fig­ure of 4,294 af­ter tak­ing into ac­count the num­ber of homes which are de­mol­ished to make way for new de­vel­op­ments.

Cheshire East was not able to pro­vide the num­ber of homes built for the same pe­riod, but fig­ures be­tween April 1, 2010 and Septem­ber 30, 2015, show that the house com­ple­tions recorded within the Mac­cles­field bor­ough set­tle­ments was just 608 for Mac­cles­field town, 52 for Bolling­ton, 16 in Prest­bury, two in Chelford, 52 in Dis­ley and just one in Poyn­ton.

This is an av­er­age of 132 built a year, for ev­ery 636 granted.

At the same time large swathes of green belt are at risk from de­vel­op­ment in the lat­est draft of the coun­cil’s Lo­cal Plan.

Coun­cil bosses have writ­ten to min­is­ters and met MPs to call for mea­sures to get de­vel­op­ers build­ing.

Coun Ains­ley Arnold, coun­cil­lor for Tyther­ing­ton and Cab­i­net mem­ber in charge of hous­ing and plan­ning, said: “It should not be pos­si­ble for de­vel­op­ers to press for more coun­try­side to be re­leased when there is clearly a healthy sup­ply of de­vel­op­ment land.

“We seem to be locked into a sys­tem where the de­liv­ery of new homes is largely dic­tated by a lim­ited num­ber of large house­builders. The re­al­ity is they con­trol the sup­ply of new hous­ing and if they choose not to bring for­ward sites very quickly there seems to be very lit­tle we can do.

“Govern­ment should con­sider in­tro­duc­ing reg­u­la­tions that tie house­builders to achiev­ing ac­cept­able build rates or lose their plan­ning per­mis­sions.”

Coun Janet Jack­son, ward coun­cil­lor for Cen­tral Mac­cles­field, said de­vel­op­ers needed to act be­fore ask­ing for more land.

She said: “This is a big is­sue.

“De­vel­op­ers are com­ing for­ward get­ting per­mis­sions for houses in Mac­cles­field and then not build­ing them.

“They are land back­ing at a time when we are un­der pres­sure from govern­ment to pro­vide more homes and green belt is be­ing ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment. We should build on brown­field first.”

The re­vised Lo­cal Plan ear­marks 4,250 homes by 2030, in­clud­ing 200 homes south of Chelford Road, an ex­tra 150 homes at Gaw End Lane and 150 homes be­tween Chelford Road and Whirley Road - all on green belt.

Tim White­ley, from Save Mac­cles­field Green Belt, said: “Mac­cles­field is los­ing hun­dreds of acres of green belt and we need to fight to pro­tect it.”

●● Green Belt near Fence Av­enue in­cluded in Lo­cal Plan, un­der threat from the King’s School pro­posal

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