Wyche lane Application 19/0803N

A new application for 7 dwellings has been lodged with East Cheshire Council for a site located off Wyche Lane.

Site Location of proposed Wyche Lane development

This application is, regrettably, for outline permission so we will not really know what is going to be built there during this stage of the planning process. All matters are reserved or as the ‘Design statement’ somewhat ominously states:

1.7……Access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale are reserved for future determination. (my emphasis)

Planning, Design and Access Statement (Land at Wyche Lane, Bunbury) Savills

What that means is that the applicants want consent with minimal restrictions on what they eventually build. There is some reasonable commercial logic in that as it does not tie the hands of the developer who remain able to respond to market trends. However they claim the site lies in ‘..a strong market area and as such if successful the scheme will be brought forward in 2020, subject to planning.’ (1.8)

This would suggest they must already have a clear idea of what would best sell in this location. Housing trends do not change in little more than year, but given Brexit who knows!

Indicative Layout of 7 dwellings on the site.

Unlike the recent Oak Gardens application all the basic material is present on the Cheshire East Planning website HERE

We knew that the Parish Council have held discussion with two potential developers – Fisher German and Savills. Confidentiality has meant only now have Savills plans been revealed. I have my suspicions about the Fisher-German site but that’s just a guess.

What does surprise me is the summary of what advice was given and discussed between the developers and the PC. Here is what Savills say :

1.11 The Parish Council viewed the proposals in the context of the adopted Neighbourhood Plan, in particular Neighbourhood Plan Policy H2 which supports small scale development of greenfield sites which are
located immediately adjacent to the village and below 15 units in scale

1.12 The pre-application advice also provided the following comments:

  • There would be no policy conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan in Principle;
  • There is a need for intermediate/ small scale housing which the illustrative layout shows can be delivered on site;
  • Access and highways would need to be reviewed in detail; and,
  • Whilst a number of other sites have been approved and the housing need is considered generally met,

Firstly, the BNP states that Bunbury has to provide space for at least 80 new house between 2010 – 2030. We have exceeded that minimum target by over 30 homes. So far as we know that figure has not been increased in the new approved Local Plan. Phasing is also required so that the community facilities can cope (BNP p11). Acceptance of this recent application therefore suggests there is no limit to the expansion of Bunbury, no phasing in any meaningful sense, and ever elastic boundaries to the village.

Secondly, while the developer suggests a mix of housing would be their intention, we have no guarantee that this is what will emerge after outline consent is granted. Experience suggests that the outcome of a development is often very different from that proposed before consent is given.

Below are the comments made during the Parish council Meeting 13th March 2019

Comments on Planning, Design and Access Statement – Savills

  1. 1.10. Savills met with the Parish Council on the 10th October 2018 to discuss the development proposals prior to the submission of this application. At the meeting, the Parish Council expressed their general support for the principle of the development.
  2. 1.11. The Parish Council viewed the proposals in the context of the adopted Neighbourhood Plan, in particular Neighbourhood Plan Policy H2 which supports small scale development of greenfield sites which are located immediately adjacent to the village and below 15 units in scale.
  3. 1.12. The pre-application advice also provided the following comments:
    • – There would be no policy conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan in Principle;
    • – There is a need for intermediate / small scale housing which the illustrative layout shows can be
    • delivered on site;
    • – Access and highways would need to be reviewed in detail; and,
    • – Whilst a number of other sites have been approved and the housing need is considered generally met, this should be seen as a minimum figure and new sites can be supported commensurate with the size of the village to support its long term sustainability.

1.13. In conclusion, during the pre-application discussions, the Parish Council regarded the proposed development favourably, noting how in principle it would be supported by Neighbourhood Plan Policies.

1.14. In short, there were no insurmountable issues raised which would prevent the principle of developing the Land at Wyche Lane, Bunbury.

Object to 1.10 – 1.14 as this is a mis-representation of the meeting as per EMail from our Chair

In this case the broad outline we were given did comply with the main provisions of the Neighbourhood Plan. We also emphasised the need for intermediate/small scale housing that would be more affordable. This provides more opportunity for young people who have grown up in the village and wish to purchase a house here. It also provides opportunities for existing residents to downsize and for young families who would not normally be able to afford to live in Bunbury, to move to the village. On small developments of this type there is no obligation on a developer to provide this type of housing but we strongly emphasize the need for it.

I can assure you that the words used in the application, i.e. “the Parish Council regarded the proposed development favourably, noting how in principle it would be supported by Neighbourhood Plan Policies” is an interpretation that I do not agree with. We would never use the word “favourably,” or anything like it because that would imply that we may have predetermined our support for the application. When Councillors consider this application, at our meeting on 13th March, we will do so with open minds and will only make a decision after we have listened to anything that residents have to say and after we have debated the issue.

2.2 The site is currently undeveloped and has no planning history.

Object as this statement is incorrect, planning has previously been refused in 1965 4/5/5020 and 1989 7/16940.

2.7. Splays

Object as per comments on the Optima report (below).

2.8 Bunbury, a Local Service Centre, is considered to be a sustainable location for development, with a range of services and facilities to meet the needs of local people, including those living in nearby settlements. Bunbury benefits from a supermarket, a post office, a church and a number of coffee shops, all located within a 400-800m walking distance of the site.

Object: There is nothing within 400M, there is only one coffee shop and the distances are 700-800m

2.11 Bunbury is located directly east from the A49, meaning it is accessible by public transport links. To detail the site’s closest bus stop located circa 0.5 miles from the site. The existing number 70 provides sustainable travel options to Nantwich with a frequency commensurate with its rural location.

Object as the A49 is 0.9 miles away and there is no accessible public transport on the A49. See https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/pdf/public-transport/cheshire-east-borough-public-transport-map-29th-october-2018.pdf. You would need to walk to the Red Fox, 3 miles and 1 hour walk to access a bus.

Regarding the bus service see comments on Optima Transport policy (below) where Service 70 does not offer sustainable travel options.

2.13. To detail, the local Co-Op store, butcher and fish and chip shop are located 750m from the site, the local primary school (Bunbury Aldersey Church of England Primary School) is located within 1km of the site and is accessible by foot and by cycle, and the nearest bus stop is located 700m from the site.

Object the wording should read: ..the only accessible bus stop which only has buses on 3 days a week.

4.18 Neighbourhood Plan Policy H1 seeks to accommodate a minimum of 80 new homes in Bunbury over the Plan period. The same policy outlines that development in the Neighbourhood Plan Area will be focussed on sites within or immediately adjacent to Bunbury Village, in order to achieve the aim of enhancing its role as a sustainable settlement whilst also protecting the surrounding countryside.

Object: We ask CE to consider that they have already approved 108 properties and this is to cover the period up to 2030 and this should have been referred to in the Design Statement.

4.21. The Emerging Local Plan Site Allocations and Development Policies document is currently being prepared by Cheshire East Council. The Local Development Scheme suggests that it may be adopted in early 2020. The council consulted on their first draft Site Allocations document until October 2018. Whilst the scheme has been considered in the context of this emerging document where appropriate, it is considered that given its early stage of development, limited weight will be attributed to any policies or allocations within this document.

4.22. Within the Adopted Local Plan Strategy, Local Service Centres such as Bunbury are expected to provide 2,500 houses through the plan period as whole. Within draft policy PG8 this equates to a minimum of 110 properties in Bunbury over the years 2010 to 2030, taking into account completion rates.

We object as this is not a minimum, but the number allocated so as CE meet their national target and we have 108 already built or in plan. The period runs until 2030 so we ahead of the plan and this should be taken in to account.

4.29. Paragraph 73 of the NPPF states that housing delivery figures should be considered as a minimum and there should be no cap on sustainable development.

Object to term ‘no-cap’ as this infers to there is no upper limit. The minimum of 80 was considered to be a number that was consistent with national and local plans and allow reasonable growth, no-cap implies this number has no validity, currently 108 have been approved and we ask CE to consider this in their deliberations.

5.5 Object as this repeats the number of 110 see response to 4.22

5.6. With their being no ceiling figure to each of these policies the proposals would be in accordance with this need, subject to it not impacting the core shape and form of the settlement. Further, discussions with representatives of the Parish Council made clear that this development could be in direct response to Bunbury’s housing need, with the applicant working with the Parish Council to revise the illustrative layout and demonstrate a greater proportion of smaller / intermediate scale units to meet the specific housing need of the Parish.

Object as this is we do not believe there is ‘No ceiling’. It is also “misunderstanding” as the PC does not work on layout, this is CE Planning responsibility and if we worked with the developer it would not enable us to give a judgement without pre-determination.

5.23 Object see comments on Optima report 2.1.10 (width of road)

5.26. The site is in a sustainable location, within close proximity to existing shops and services within Bunbury. The development of this site would achieve strategic Priority 4 by reducing the need to travel by building homes that are close, or easily accessible to where people work, shop, and enjoy recreational activities.

Object as the site is not within walking distance of where people work and as shown elsewhere there is no viable public transport. The only accessible employment is in retail or pub/restaurants e.g. Co-op or a small number of family retail outlets or the local pubs. There is no commercial land identified in Bunbury for future commercial development. There are limited recreational facilities within walking distance e.g. there is no swimming pool, fitness club, cinema or theatre.

Comments on report from Optima, document titled Wyche Lane, Bunbury Proposed Residential Development Transport Note

2.1.10 The carriageway on Wyche Lane measures between 4.8m and 4.9m in width. With reference to Manual for Streets, this is wide enough for two cars to pass and a car to pass an HGV.

Object as this is incorrect, the width narrows to 3.2M in places, and this should be taken into account, not just the road at its widest point.

2.2.5 Table 2.1

Object as this implies 2 buses a day to and from Nantwich, it is one bus a day leaving at 10.27 and returning at 14.22

2.2.8 and 2.2.9

The nearest rail station is Nantwich, which is 13km from the Site. Nantwich Station can be accessed via the bus service shown in Table 2.1 or via the dial a ride services.

Transport for Wales provides services to Manchester, Stockport, Crewe, Shrewsbury and South Wales. Major interchange opportunities are available at Crewe, which is located on the West Coast mainline and enjoys services to most areas of the country.

Object as this statement is untrue. Nantwich station is not accessible via the bus service. Buses only run 3 days a week, one per day and it is 1/2m walk from the bus to the train station. You can’t get to and from anywhere since you only have 3 hours in Nantwich.

For example to get from Bunbury to Crewe, take the 10.27 bus on a Tuesday, the 13.05 train and arrive in Crewe at 13.15, you then have to spend 2 nights in Crewe, on Thursday take a train back to Nantwich and the 14.22 bus back to Bunbury, at total of 52 hours.

The Little Bus service is only for older/disabled people not the general population. Quote from Cheshire East website: Flexible transport is a ‘demand responsive’ transport solution which provides an alternative means of travel for older and disabled people. All journeys must be pre-booked so that routes can be planned efficiently. The service works on a demand responsive basis.

3.2.2 Drawing 18128/GA/01, contained in Appendix C, illustrates the most desirable access option onto Wyche Lane. (Splays)

Object as this drawing only references the road access, the 2 drives at either end of the frontage are not accommodated and the splays cannot be adequate without significant removal of further hedging in front of Wyche House and the proposed garden/planting area.

3.3.4 Table of traffic based on TRICS

Object as these numbers seem to be wrong, but there is insufficient detail in Appendix D to challenge these conclusions and we request that CE ask for further backup.

The low number may be due to the assumption that people can walk or take public transport to work, see 4.1.4.

4.1.4 This report has provided a commentary on the existing Site and its conditions. It has demonstrated that the Site is in a relatively sustainable location, given its rural setting and that there is access by appropriate public transport and sustainable links to some services. This provides future residents with opportunities to travel via alternative modes of transport and minimise trips by the private car.

Object as this untrue, it is not possible to use public transport to commute to work outside Bunbury and as has been demonstrated there is no link to other services such as the train. You cannot access public transport on 4 days of the week.

About the Author

Peter Gorman ()

Now retired from teaching. Involved in supporting the Village Day Committee, Village websites and Secretary of the Bunbury Action Group.

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Catherine Denise Fisher
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Catherine Denise Fisher

Thank you for sharing this information – the neighbouring houses were informed by letter from Cheshire East at the beginning of this week, the blue notice was posted on Friday. There is a Parish Council meeting on 13th March and we have until 20th March to lodge our objections to Cheshire East. (despite there being a comment on the website that the Planning was looked on FAVOURABLY by the Parish Council! I pointed this out to the Parish Council chairman but NO RETRACTION HAS BEEN PUBLISHED) We consider Wyche Lane is a village amenity. How many of you walk, cycle,… Read more »

Peter Gorman
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Peter Gorman

Note that the comment on the website references the developers summary of the discussions they had with the Parish council. These opinions are given in the Design Statement paragraphs 1.11 and 1.12. They are not necessarily what the Parish Council believes was stated and advised.
Thanks

Catherine Fisher
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Catherine Fisher

We are losing footpaths and footpaths are being moved for the sake of new building. At a time when the Ramblers Association are working hard to retrieve old footpaths can we just sit back and let this happen all over Bunbury to the advantage of builders only?

Catherine Fisher
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Catherine Fisher

So, surprise surprise there is now a request to close the footpath that crosses the land adjoining Wyche House. Now I know it’s a little bit of footpath that has been seldom used, out if courtesy to the owners of Fox Covert, but now that there are plans to build on that land, losing the footpath would open the field to more housing. Plus if they do start building on that land this footpath would be a useful escape from builders (as it has served in the past to avoid farm machinery using Hangman’s lane. Please write to Public Rights… Read more »