No go for houses to join up vil­lages

Leek Post & Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Leslie Jack­son leslie.jack­son@reach­plc.com

FAM­I­LIES have won their fight against plans for 97 new homes amid fears it would ‘join up’ two vil­lages.

All 12 mem­bers of Stafford­shire Moor­lands Dis­trict Coun­cil’s plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions com­mit­tee voted to refuse a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion last week for the pro­posed prop­er­ties on land be­tween Folly Lane and Chea­dle Road in Ched­dle­ton.

Some 85 let­ters of ob­jec­tion to the plan were re­ceived rais­ing is­sues in­clud­ing:

■ It would ruin the coun­try­side;

■ Plans have been turned down on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions;

■ The site is in the Green Belt;

■ It will join up Wet­ley Rocks and Ched­dle­ton and lead to more traf­fic on a danger­ous road;

■ A lack of in­fras­truc­tre.

Speak­ing to the plan­ning com­mit­tee, Ched­dle­ton coun­cil­lor Mike Bowen said: “We have been here be­fore.

“It has twice been re­fused and dis­missed on ap­peal on the grounds of the Green Belt. This is an op­por­tunist spec­u­la­tor of­fer­ing to fill their pock­ets.

“The hol­low is the big­gest black spot in the vil­lage. Many ac­ci­dents do not get re­ported. There was one last week. The high­ways per­son­nel do not live in Ched­dle­ton.

“Give this mes­sage to the de­vel­op­ers, get out of the vil­lage.”

Ched­dle­ton Parish Coun­cil strongly ob­jected to the ap­pli­ca­tion, say­ing: “The de­vel­op­ment would re­sult in the co­a­les­cence of two vil­lages and would con­flict with the Green Belt pol­icy.

“Over the years this land has been the sub­ject of two plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions both were re­fused by the SMDC and con­se­quently when one went to ap­peal the de­ci­sion was up­held by the Gov­ern­ment In­spec­tor on the grounds that it would ef­fec­tively join two vil­lages.

“The coun­cil also ob­ject on the grounds of ur­ban sprawl, the lack of in­fra­struc­ture and ameni­ties and the sew­er­age prob­lem which also needs to be borne in mind.

“The danger­ous ac­cess from Rock End Drive onto the A520 Chea­dle Road is a very busy road with a 50mph speed limit; a stretch of road that has a his­tory of ac­ci­dents.”

An­other Ched­dle­ton coun­cil­lor, Mike Wor­thing­ton, said: “Folly Lane has no pave­ments at the end. “It is an ac­ci­dent black spot and will cause chaos. Do peo­ple of Ched­dle­ton and Wet­ley Rocks want to be joined up?”

The ap­pli­cant’s agent Gez Wil­lard said that only two af­ford­able

homes had been built in this ru­ral area over the last two years.

He said: “This ap­pli­ca­tion gives 30 af­ford­able homes. There has been eight years of aus­ter­ity. Pubs and petrol sta­tions have closed, more will wither away. New homes are es­sen­tial to keep them alive. This would give vi­a­bil­ity to Ched­dle­ton and ru­ral and af­ford­able houses.”

Plan­ning com­mit­tee mem­ber, coun­cil­lor Paul Roberts, said that there had been plenty of ap­pli­ca­tions for af­ford­able homes.

He said: “Many de­vel­op­ers have come back, as no one wants to build them, say­ing it is not vi­able.

“How can there be an ex­tra 200 cars on Folly Lane and the main road with­out caus­ing an ac­ci­dent? I see no spe­cial cir­cum­stances and it is harm­ful to the ru­ral set­ting. The peo­ple of Ched­dle­ton do not want it.”

Coun­cil­lor Gail Lock­ett said: “It is quite sim­ple, there are no spe­cial cir­cum­stances and the res­i­dents have spo­ken very loudly.”

Among the ob­jec­tors were Ched­dle­ton res­i­dent Michael Woot­ton, who said: “This is a Green Belt zone which, ac­cord­ing to our Prime Min­is­ter, we should be main­tain­ing not de­stroy­ing.

“Ninety houses equates to more than 150 cars try­ing to join the A520. Both pro­posed junc­tions are barely fit for pur­pose. Folly Lane is very nar­row and used by agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles, and pedes­trian fa­cil­i­ties at Rock End are vir­tu­ally non ex­is­tent.

“The in­fra­struc­ture in the area is cur­rently stretched to the limit. (There is) no doc­tors surgery, lo­cal schools are filled to pupil ca­pac­ity and have con­sid­er­able park­ing prob­lems (and there is) min­i­mal re­tail fa­cil­i­ties in the area.”

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