Leisure lake pro­ject re­fused again

Macclesfield Express - - NOSTALGIA -

A WA­TER sports cen­tre has lost its bid for plan­ning per­mis­sion af­ter a coun­cil com­mit­tee heard the ap­pli­ca­tion for a third time.

Tim Wood­head wants to build Cheshire Lakes wa­ter sports and wake­board­ing cen­tre at the old Mere Farm Quarry in Chelford. Coun­cil­lors on the Strate­gic Plan­ning Board orig­i­nally re­fused the ap­pli­ca­tion as a re­sult of ob­jec­tions due to the im­pact on wildlife.

But Mr Wood­head suc­cess­fully ap­plied for it to be re­heard af­ter it was dis­cov­ered he missed the meet­ing due to an ad­min blun­der.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was again heard by the com­mit­tee and this time per­mis­sion was granted.

A Section 106 agreement was at­tached to the plan which stated the pro­ject should not at­tract more large birds to the site af­ter an ob­jec­tion by Manch­ester Air­port.

But be­fore the con­di­tions were agreed, an ob­jec­tor threat­ened to take it to Ju­di­cial Re­view be­cause coun­cil­lors had not taken proper ac­count of the im­pact on wildlife.

The ap­pli­ca­tion went back to the com­mit­tee and now Mr Wood­head has lost his per­mis­sion.

He said: “In an al­most un­be­liev­able turn of events, Cheshire East has now re­jected our ap­pli­ca­tion for Cheshire Lakes.

“We are get­ting in­un­dated with peo­ple ask­ing what hap­pened.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve the coun­cil finds it so hard to ap­prove an ap­pli­ca­tion they ad­mit has wide and var­ied ben­e­fits. Un­for­tu­nately a lo­cal res­i­dent paid a QC to see if there were any grounds for a Ju­di­cial Re­view and he ad­vised that the case of­fi­cer missed out a para­graph of text from their report in re­la­tion to a reg­u­la­tion about the con­ser­va­tion of habi­tats and species. This in­for­ma­tion would not have made any dif­fer­ence to our ap­proval in Au­gust. If we had al­ready signed the section 106 the only op­tion for the coun­cil would have been to let the case go for a Ju­di­cial Re­view but in­stead they called it back to the com­mit­tee. Some of the mem­bers on the board had changed and un­for­tu­nately these new mem­bers didn’t get to hear our sup­port­ers speak, did not have a site visit and did not hear our speech in full. It was not a fair hear­ing.

“We are try­ing to use a for­mer sand quarry which is still some way from being re­stored to cre­ate a so­cial en­ter­prise leisure and tourism fa­cil­ity which is wanted by the ma­jor­ity of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion.”

The coun­cil has been con­tacted for a com­ment.

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