The initial land clearance has begun on the Hill Close site with the removal a fine hedge. As the photo above shows the developers have cleared out what was a big hedge to make way for the access road round the western side of the site. You may want to look at the site layout plan in the previous post about this site. From my limited research the hedge could well have been over 100 years or more. Hedges of this age are a critical resource in ecologlocial conservation as well as being vital to maintaining corridors along which wildlife can move.
Yet again we hear stories of Developers’ land banking and failing to build on land where they have been granted permission. The North West is amongst the worst areas for this failure to build. Not as bad as London where holding onto land and sitting back and watching the value soar is rife. But the Northwest is now in second place. Across the country we have 423,000 houses waiting to be built, claims the Local Government Association.
In Bunbury we certainly have plenty of planning consents, currently running at 88. A large block (30) having gained permission in 2015. Although this can be misleading as it doesn’t make clear when the planning process began. Wyche Lane (The Grange) may have had the final go ahead in 2015 but the original application was granted in July 2014 (14/3163N). The Outspan development in Sadler’s Wells had consent in June 2014 and took over two years to clear reserved matters on the initial outline planning permission. The developers made a number of changes and introduced an additional house plus some extra garages. (See the comment on this in ‘Many a slip from outline to completion’;.
What this shows is that much of the delay is not due to the planning process. The creep starts in many cases after the consent is given and is down to alteration and changes of mind that follow the original consent. The strategy of going for outline planning consent often gives the developer considerable advantage to alter the design and size of the development. The decisions are in the hands of the (often overworked) Planning Officer and the apparent tendency to agree to frequent ‘non-material changes’ end up altering the site radically from what was originally up for consideration. It is this process that often causes the slow development of site and the delivery of new homes.
We now have some indication of what this site will look like. The plan above shows the submission of the developer for the discharge of the conditions of the original consent to build 7 dwellings.
This design keeps the open aspect of the front of the Medical Practice and sets the development back from the frontage on Vicarage Lane. Apart from the 4 bedroom property at the back of the site, the majority of the properties are small. As such they are likely to be ‘affordable’;. As the application is below the threshold of 15 dwellings when it becomes a requirement to provide affordable housing, this is a bit of a bonus in the fight to get more dwellings in the village that people can buy or rent.
On the 2nd of February Cheshire East declared a vacancy in the Bunbury ward. An election must now be held within 35 days. As many of you are aware Michael Jones is no-longer the ward councillor. For the last few months he has worked as an independent councillor having previously been elected as a Conservative. Behind legal speak of the CE notice, the reason for the vacancy is, to quote the Act referred to ‘..by reason of failure to attend meetings of the authority‘ (Local Government Act 1972, Section 86 (1c)
The Local Political Parties are already gearing up for the election. Both the Lib-Dems and the Conservatives have been doing mail-drops and have candidates in the field. More about that when we have a full list. Meantime we can speculate that the odds are on a Conservative victory as it is the ‘safest’ ward in the authority. I’m not fond of ‘safe seats’ or ‘donkey’ seats as I rather rudely call them, (stick the right coloured rosette on a donkey and people will vote for it!). Not a party political point just a dislike of knee jerk voting and the power this hands to small cabals of ‘politically motives individuals’ who pick the candidate.
The date of the election must be with 35 days or 25 day from the date of this post. That would take us to the end of March and run into Easter. An earlier date would be about the 22nd of March.
After the delight of the news that the village bus services were to be kept we learn that all is not as it was. Cheshire East has kept the services in name but altered the routes. The 89, 56 and 83 services are all to be replaced by a new circular route:
Nantwich — Bunbury–Bulkeley–Acton–Nantwich
This means no bus service to Chester. This reduction in access is a real step backwards.
The word ‘Bulkeley’ is not in the dictionary.