Water­sports plan sunk by in­spec­tor

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A WATER­SPORTS cen­tre in a dis­used quarry has been re­jected by a gov­ern­ment plan­ning in­spec­tor.

Ap­pli­cant Tim Wood­head from Cheshire Lakes hoped to cre­ate the cen­tre in the old Mere Farm Quarry at Chelford, which has two lakes and an area of open grass­land.

The plans have been at the heart of a long bat­tle with coun­cil plan­ners. There was a blun­der at the first plan­ning hear­ing, then the ap­pli­ca­tion went on to be heard four times be­fore be­ing fi­nally re­jected.

The ap­pli­cant re­fused to give up and ap­pealed the re­fusal with the gov­ern­ment’s plan­ning in­spec­torate.

But now the ap­peal has been dis­missed by the plan­ning in­spec­tor – so the water­sports cen­tre, which sup­port­ers say would boost the area’s recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties with wake­board­ing, pad­dle sports, ca­noe­ing and kayak­ing, can­not go ahead.

In­spec­tor El­iz­a­beth Pleas­ant stated the ‘very spe­cial cir­cum­stances’ needed to build in the green belt had not been met. She also said bird habi­tats would be dis­turbed.

She stated: “It is clear to me that even though the pro­posed build­ings and car park would only be on a small por­tion of the over­all site, and would be largely screened from the neigh­bour­ing road, the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment would still have an ur­ban­is­ing ef­fect on the over­all char­ac­ter and ap­pear­ance of this in­trin­si­cally open, tran­quil and ru­ral site, par­tic­u­larly when viewed from the pub­lic foot­path that runs through it.

“I con­clude that the ap­peal pro­posal would not pre­serve Green Belt open­ness and would con­flict with the pur­poses of safe­guard­ing the coun­try­side from en­croach­ment.”

She added: “There would also be an im­pact on the site’s na­ture con­ser­va­tion value for birds by rea­son of dis­tur­bance from the pro­posed recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties and an in­crease in hu­man ac­tiv­ity on the site over­all.”

The Ex­press was not able to make con­tact with ap­pli­cant Tim Wood­head be­fore go­ing to press but he has in the past said he was ‘ap­palled’ at how the coun­cil han­dled the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The ap­pli­ca­tion went be­fore coun­cil plan­ning three times after coun­cil­lors first re­fused it, then ap­proved it, then re­fused it again. Mr Wood­head sub­mit­ted a re­vised ap­pli­ca­tion with im­prove­ments for the bird pop­u­la­tion but this was re­jected.

The re­jected plans for a water­sports cen­tre at an old Chelford quarry

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