Planning for the Future

White Paper on proposed changes to the planning system

The White paper put out for consultation proposes a radical change to the planning system. That consultation ends on the 29 October.

First you can read the White Paper by clicking here

However a summary of the 84 page pdf file may help.

This is the HM Government version:

The current planning system is complicated, favours larger developers and often means that much needed new homes are delayed.

We’re proposing a new system which is easier for the public to access, transforms the way communi-ties are shaped and builds the homes this country needs.

The changes will mean more good quality, attractive and affordable homes can be built faster – and more young families can have the key to their own home.

In the new system local areas will develop plans for land to be designated into three categories

:• Growth areas will back development, with development approved at the same time plans are pre-pared, meaning new homes, schools, shops and business space can be built quickly and efficiently, as long as local design standards are met.

• Renewal areas will be suitable for some development – where it is high-quality in a way which meets design and other prior approval requirements the process will be quicker. If not, development will need planning approval in the usual way.

• Protected areas will be just that development will be restricted to carry on protecting our treasured heritage like Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks.

Communities will be consulted from the beginning of the planning process and help shape the design codes to guide what development can happen in their local area.

The reforms will mean:

Much-needed homes will be built quicker by ensuring local housing plans are developed and agreed in 30 months down from the current 7 years it often takes.

Every area to have a local plan in place currently only 50% of local areas has an up-to-date plan to build more homes.

The planning system will be made more accessible, by harnessing the latest technology through online maps and data.

• Valued green spaces will be protected for future generations by allowing for more building on brownfield land and all new streets to be tree lined.

The planning process to be overhauled and replaced with a clearer, rules based system. Currently around a third of planning cases that go to appeal are overturned.

A new simpler national levy to replace the current system of developer contributions which often causes delay this will provide more certainty about the number of affordable homes being built.

• The creation of a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and establishing local design guidance for developers to build and preserve beautiful communities.

• All new homes to be ‘zero carbon ready’, with no new homes delivered under the new system needed to be retrofitted as we achieve our commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A Response:

As part of the White Paper a series of questions is put to the reader with a request to respond. These can be posted or email to in the following ways:

  1. Go to the website

2. Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to

3. If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to:

Planning for the Future Consultation,

Planning Directorate, 3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF.

My Response:

NB. Each question comes with some possible response options.

1. What three words do you associate most with the planning

system in England?


2(a). Do you get involved with planning decisions in your local area?

[Yes / No]


2(b). If no, why not?

[Don’t know how to / It takes too long / It’s too complicated /

I don’t care / Other – please specify]

3. Our proposals will make it much easier to access plans and contribute your views to planning decisions. How would you like to find out about plans and planning proposals in the future?

[Social media / Online news / Newspaper / By post /

Other – please specify]

Planning applications and all relevant details should appear on the public planning authorities website. It is inappropriate to outsource such information to private company facilities whose continuity is uncertain, whose objectives are not aligned with public service and which are NOT inclusive. Surprisingly 33% of the population are not on any form of social media and 4% do not have access to the internet (ONS 2020).

Email could be offered as an additional service alongside the continued use of the postal service to ensure complete inclusion within a neighbourhood.

Much disparagement is made of notices on lampposts, etc. Their function is to aleft other interested parties to what is happening in their area, many people are interested in developments that do not directly impact on them. They have a broad concern for the town\village where they live. How will they be informed?

Build on firm foundations rather than scrap everything unless it can be distributed over the internet.

4. What are your top three priorities for planning in your local area?

[Building homes for young people / building homes for the homeless /

Protection of green spaces / The environment, biodiversity and action

on climate change / Increasing the affordability of housing / The design

of new homes and places / Supporting the high street / Supporting the

local economy / More or better local infrastructure / Protection of

existing heritage buildings or areas / Other – please specify]

1. Increasing the affordability of housing

2. More and better local infrastructure

3. Protection of green spaces, biodiversity and the environment

5. Do you agree that Local Plans should be simplified in line with our proposals?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


They do not make sense in our area or, I would suggest in most rural areas. These would be designated as either ‘renewal’ where ‘small sites within or on the edge of villages’ would be developed – on what basis? Or as ‘protected’.The only difference between a renewal zone and a growth zone appears to be scale. Does that mean any plot that comes available could be built on as long as the development criteria in the Local Plan are met? Local communities would have no ability to either plan where sites should and should not be developed only their scale and design.

In Bunbury we are surrounded by open countryside that currently is protected from development. Where development does take place is identified and agreed through consultation with the local Planning Authority. (Cheshire East). Under these proposals no such ‘protection’ is available to ‘open countryside and farmland. Only in ‘Protected Zones’ is there any possibility of building into a local plan the option of saying NO to development. As the white paper states “There would be a statutory presumption in favour of development being granted for the uses specified as being suitable in each area”. The ‘uses’ are of course defined tin the new ‘Use Classes’ none of which cover open spaces or open land. They are Use Classes of buildings (commercial or Public). The Local Plan can only specify use in terms of those ‘Use Classes’ and cannot protect any land from development outside of Protected Zones.

The White paper does mention in the definition of ‘Protected Zones’ “ areas of open countryside outside of land in Growth or renewal area.” Who makes that decision? What consultation will be held on open countryside question? These are critical questions in our village that the Local Plan would not be able to answer. If the Local Plan, with local consultation, can decide to place open countryside into the protected zone with much reduced development objectives then villages may be protected from cherry-picking developers and productive farmland can be retained.

Where is the parallel discussion about the protection of farmland from development and the need to maintain our own food supply? Not a word.

Who gets to make these ‘zonal’ decision? Yes the Local Authority in the first place in consultation with the public (Stage 1) but the HM Inspector can simply override that decision (Stage 4).

The suggested Alternative of combining Growth and Renewal Zones is much worse. Such an approach is highly threatening to the retention of village character.

The other suggested Alternative of limiting automatic permission to land in the Growth Zone while retaining the power of the local authority to identify where and what permitted development may take place in the renewal zone, is acceptable. As long as it retain the current feature to allow citizen representation as part of that decision-making process.

6. Do you agree with our proposals for streamlining the development

management content of Local Plans, and setting out general development management policies nationally?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

I agree that repeating Government policy in Local Plans is a waste of time

But Local Authorities should retain a level of flexibility to set development management policies that do not duplicate NPPF policies.

7(a). Do you agree with our proposals to replace existing legal and policy tests for Local Plans with a consolidated test of “sustainable development”,which would include consideration of environmental impact?


The inadequate detail provided makes it very unwise to go down this path. The UK is the most environmentally impoverished country in Europe. (On target? Five environmental challenges for 2020 and beyond – HoC report 2020)

‘Sustainable Development’ can become meaningless without a clear definition that has teeth. Currently it is little more than a ‘catch phrase’ trotted out to justify yet another development in ‘walking distance’ of ‘facilities’ (a shop and bus stop).

7(b). How could strategic, cross-boundary issues be best planned for in the

absence of a formal Duty to Cooperate?

Restore the duty to co-operate.

8(a). Do you agree that a standard method for establishing housing requirements (that takes into account constraints) should be introduced?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


1. The problem in our village is delivery and provision of affordable housing. Only 50% of the houses with permission to build in the last 5 years have been built. Make it hurt to cling on to land that has been granted permission and not used. This is the cause of house shortages. Developers do not want to build affordable houses in our village to meet real need. Their objective is maintain the profitability of the development. That means NOT building if it impacts on market prices.

More details needed on the Housing Delivery Test to make any judgement. Why? Delivery is OUR problem, in the South you may have other issues.

2. Centralisation of housing need calculation into one algorithm is inappropriate. Needs vary across the country and this approach is just unnecessary in Cheshire. We have land supply.

3. Preferred option is:

It would be possible to leave the calculation of how much land to include in each category to local decision, but with a clear stipulation in policy that this should be sufficient to address the development needs of each area (so far as possible subject to recognised constraints), taking into account market signals indicating the degree to which existing needs are not being met’

8(b). Do you agree that affordability and the extent of existing urban areas are appropriate indicators of the quantity of development to be accommodated?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


‘Affordability’ is yet another weasel word in the lexicography of development. It just means small houses that get smaller as the local house prices rise. We have ended up with some of the smallest houses in Europe. In Bunbury we have ‘affordable’ houses that have a smaller ground floor footprint than the garage space on adjacent ‘market’ properties.

‘Urban area’ as a criteria for permitting more development? Big gets bigger? I’ll leave that to the residents of towns to explain.

9(a). Do you agree that there should be automatic outline permissionfor areas for substantial development (Growth areas) with faster routes for detailed consent?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

A cautious yes.

I want Growth areas clearly defined with a focus on brownfield sites and protection of green spaces and avoidance of massive ‘monochrome’ sterile environments.

9(b). Do you agree with our proposals above for the consent arrangements for Renewal and Protected areas?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


But only if ‘Open Countryside’ is included in the Protected Areas.

9(c). Do you think there is a case for allowing new settlements to be brought forward under the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesBut these are the exception not the norm, provided legislation is clear that they can’t be used to override local planning decisions or to build in areas of open countryside.

10. Do you agree with our proposals to make decision-making faster and more certain?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Appropriate speed is good. But it is not the most important requirement of a planning process. An open democratic process is more likely to yield a good decision. It is the quality of the decisions that emerge that is the criteria to judge the system. Speed is easy if you ignore everybody. Authoritarian governments claim speed is a virtue of their approach but end up with corruption and terrible decisions.

It is not the local authorities that are to blame to the degree the White Paper suggest. From my experience it is just as frequently developers errors, changes of mind, lack of experience, etc. that slows and delays the system.

11. Do you agree with our proposals for accessible, web-based Local Plans?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Cheshire East has offered web based access to all planning information for sometime. You seem to suggest that this is a rare experience. Really? No recognition of what Local Authorities have already invested in their systems despite dramatic reductions in their budgets.

I have never heard of ‘PropTech’ before and as you don’t really explain what it is or its putative role I cannot comment. However experience of government involvement with IT firms and projects is not encouraging. Caution should be your watchword and my advice is to stay away from things you don’t really understand.

12. Do you agree with our proposals for a 30 month statutory timescale for the production of Local Plans?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Again you are blaming the Local Authorities for the delays in the system. It is true the Local Plan takes about 7 years to complete but that is entirely due to to the heavy burden placed on the LA in terms of the work needed to meet all the criteria set by the Government policies, unclear methods of housing need, and meeting the demand of HM Inspectors. In your attempt to sort this mess out you are also throwing out the part of the process – making decisions on individual planning applications – out as well. It is that part of the process the citizen engages with as it represents his/her right to participate in decision-making that directly impacts her/his life.

Stage 1 represents the only stage at which citizens might get some say. Their expertise and motivation is often limited to the immediate area where they live. Will they engage with such broad based planning? In Bunbury the strongest engagement derives from residents impacted by the planning applications. Outside that ‘zone of impact’ other citizens do engage but at a less frequent level. This suggest that the particular rather than the general is what engages the citizen. And (s)he has only 6 months to engage and then his/her role has ended.

Stage 4 – It seems that the Inspector has too much power – “all at the inspector’s discretion”. This is likely to lead local resident’s losing faith in the system as the Inspector can simply choose not to listen to their concerns. The choice of inspector will therefore be key and this process needs to be defined. An inspector with political links or strong links to developers will lack credibility

This White paper represents an attempt to remove the citizens meaningful participation in planning decision-making just where it matters most.

13(a). Do you agree that Neighbourhood Plans should be retained in the reformed planning system?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

We have a Neighbourhood Plan in place that has served us well. We should make it clear that the Number 1 issue from residents is the number of houses being built followed by the housing mix. This section implies that NP’s will be limited to the design style which while a priority issue, is further down the list given below.. It is hard to reconcile the top down approach of this White Paper with the ability of a locality to influence how it is developed.

A NP that only addresses design style will be viewed as ineffective and no amount of digital tools will compensate for the disillusionment of 100 new homes being built on a greenfield site where we can only influence how they look. Clearly the government view NP’s as a mistake and the interference of citizens in the development of where they live is no-longer to be tolerated.

With our NP Bunbury has controlled the size of developments and their proximity to each other. Developers have respected the size constraint but with the support of inspectors attached and undermined the wishes of Bunbury citizens to avoid the formation of large conglomerations of new houses on the edge of the village. Active citizens were able to take their concerns to open planning meetings where with councillors and developers a democratic and open process was seen in action. That is real engagement

The White paper will strip away any pretence of serious involvement in local planning through the means of the creation of the NP – powerful motivating experience for the whole village -, automate consent on applications. Leaving the citizen devoid of democratic powers to influence anything but the choice of brick colours and style of roof.

If the White Paper seeks to engage the local population on a street by street basis then it will need to address the means by which the citizen can participate in decision about

  1. Housing numbers
  2. Housing mix
  3. Local infrastructure
  4. As well as Quality of Design

13(b). How can the neighbourhood planning process be developed to meet our objectives, such as in the use of digital tools and reflecting community preferences about design?

‘Digital tools’ is a vague term. We have websites with clickable maps, access to digitised plans and documents. Yes I am sure they can be enhanced. They do not however take the place of real democratic participation in making decisions. That is what engages citizens.

Of course citizens want to see what proposed developments might look like but more importantly the want a say in the number , distribution and type of those dwellings near them that directly affect their lifestyle.

14. Do you agree there should be a stronger emphasis on the build out of developments? And if so, what further measures would you support?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesThis really applies to larger developments but the principle of engaging a wide range of developers is one to be supported

15. What do you think about the design of new development that has happened recently in your area?

[Not sure or indifferent / Beautiful and/or well-designed / Ugly and/

or poorly-designed / There hasn’t been any / Other – please specify]

Locally we have small (15 or fewer homes) developments, they are very specific to the actual developer but largely they have been accepted by the local community. The houses are unremarkable but perfectly adequate and inoffensive, utilising the space allocated as well as can be expected.

16. Sustainability is at the heart of our proposals. What is your priority for sustainability in your area?

[Less reliance on cars / More green and open spaces / Energy efficiency of new buildings / More trees / Other – please specify]

So what does ‘Sustainability’ mean? Apparently it could be ‘ more trees’ or ‘less reliance on cars’. Did I miss the definition? So once again we meet one of those weasel words that people use to get round having to specify real things. What do I think it means in a partical way in Bunbury:

A decent public bus service that offers a real alternative to cars. That means serall journeys everyday that would enable travel to local towns and back again to support workers and shoppers, as well as recreational users. Rural concern are ignored by the urban focussed writers of this paper.

Children should be able to walk or cycle to and from school an other facilities in the village, in safety. Adults should also feel safe and encouraged to walk and cycle as government papers have indicated is their goal That means suitable pavements and speed limits (20mph) on cars that are enforceable. No on street parking, cycling parking facilities

A serious move to enable rural areas dependant on carbon fuels (oil boilers are common in Bunbury as we have no gas pipe to the village) to move to sustainable energy sources.

The encouragement of home based working where possible and consideration given to ways of reducing developments that simply increase traffic through the village to the detriment of the environment (noise and air pollution).

‘Best in Class’ broadband provision and appropriate levels of accessible computer terminals in local cafes or village halls.

Within the residential zones around the centres of villages the emphasis must move away from the domination of vehicles to prioritise walking and cycling in clean air and quiet movement.

17. Do you agree with our proposals for improving the production and use of design guides and codes?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

YesIn principle these codes are a good idea if the stimulate high standards. But as is common in the White Paper the focus is urban not rural. I propose that rural developments have a separate code. As mentioned previously most rural housing developments are small in size (less than 50 houses), we need cycle and walking routes within villages in order to access facilities such as GP surgeries, schools and shops. The code should therefore extend to linking a development with these facilities and not be limited to within the actual development itself.

18. Do you agree that we should establish a new body to support design coding and building better places, and that each authority should have a chief officer for design and place-making?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not Sure

Another quango stacked with political appointees to be the government bidding? Would we end up with better design or ‘Poundsbury style’ and fake Costwold? Appointments should be made by appropriate bodies and not the Minister. Unrealistic? Yes probable but on can hope that politisationn of our world has its limits.

19. Do you agree with our proposal to consider how designmight be given greater emphasis in the strategic objectives for Homes England?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


But it need to reflect both the wide variety of vernacular styles across England and the need to blend new and traditional and develop new styles. Beautiful can be modern.

20. Do you agree with our proposals for implementing a fast-track for beauty?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Automatic consent is not a good principle in a democratic society where the outcome impacts directly on peoples quality of life. What is the style that Cheshire would go for anyway? We have a considerable diversity. Victorian polychromatic brick work, sandstone lintels, slate roof tiles, stone walls, carved soffits etc. Different villages have different mixes dependent on their history e.g. Historic estates have particular styles.

From the White Paper this sentence stands out as one I can support: To enable further tailoring of these patterns to local character and preferences, we also propose that local planning authorities or neighbourhood planning groups would be able to use local orders to modify how the standard types apply in their areas, based on local evidence of what options are most popular with the wider public.

21. When new development happens in your area, what is your priority for what comes with it?

[More affordable housing / More or better infrastructure (such as transport, schools, health provision) / Design of new buildings /More shops and/or employment space / Green space / Don’t know /Other – please specify]

In Bunbury the housing needs are for 2/3/4 bed homes and not the 5/6 bed executive house that dominate the developments. Currently we cannot get housing needs met.

The affordable housing that is built gets ever smaller in an attempt to make them actually affordable. They still remain unattainable on a mean salary of 25k. I know you are concerned about this but political ideology dominates thinking.

Redefine affordable housing in a meaningful way:

Rentable or shared ownership housing through (Housing Associations)

Mixed Housing with a range of need appropriate sizes

Infrastructure requirements are a function of size and social progress. The issue needs to be dealt with in its own right independent of the mix or ‘affordability’ of the development.

The Tory government under Harold MacMillan managed 300,000 houses a year under the 1947 housing Act that you so readily condemn. They did it with a massive expansion of Local Authority building as well as private developers each focussed on what they saw as their priority. But you will not do that and why? Perhaps a discussion with the ghost of Margaret Thatcher will explain.

22(a). Should the Government replace the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 planning obligations with a new consolidated Infrastructure Levy, which is charged as a fixed proportion of development value above a set threshold?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Certainly the 106 Levy needs reform as it fails to deliver what communities want and they are too easily excluded from any benefit. However the proposed ‘reform’ is naive at best. As we have seen over the affordable housing debacle, developer will wriggle their way out of their obligations if at all possible. The number of affordable houses built has therefore fallen dramatically (CPRE 2019).

So no do not allow developers a way out of their obligations once agreed. Yes include the land value uplift as this will discourage ‘land banking’ but I remain concerned over that ‘threshold level’. Who sets that level? Where is the detail needed to make an informed judgement? So much here can be turned against the benefit of the community and used by the developer to avoid their social responsibility and enhance their profitability while claiming the opposite with evidence from cunning accounts that know the loopholes buried in the detail.

I also suspect the threshold would remove any levy to many rural communities from the small developments they may encourage.

22(b). Should the Infrastructure Levy rates be set nationally at a single

rate, set nationally at an area-specific rate, or set locally?

[Nationally at a single rate / Nationally at an area-specific rate / Locally]

Nationally at an area specific rate.

22(c). Should the Infrastructure Levy aim to capture the same amount of value overall, or more value, to support greater investment in infrastructure, affordable housing and local communities?

[Same amount overall / More value / Less value / Not sure.

Please provide supporting statement.]

More value

Evidence (see above) shows that the provision of ‘affordable.’ housing in rural areas has declined while profit (until the pandemic) have risen. Many developers also provide shoddy ‘little boxes’ and pay massive increases in ‘compensation’ to their CEO (Persimmon and others). So, yes we should expect more and make sure there are no loopholes or ‘tax breaks’ they can use to avoid them.

22(d). Should we allow local authorities to borrow against the Infrastructure Levy, to support infrastructure delivery in their area?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Councils should not be taking all the risk, it should be risk sharing with developers. The White paper proposes to collect on sale of the development, this favours the developer over the local community and the developer is taking no risk. I suggest that the infrastructure levy should be collected at a number of stages, i.e. on planning consent, during development and the end. You could incentivise developers to complete on schedule to avoid unnecessary delay.

23. Do you agree that the scope of the reformed Infrastructure Levy should capture changes of use through permitted development rights?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


All should contribute and thereby lower the burden on all.

24(a). Do you agree that we should aim to secure at least the same amount of affordable housing under the Infrastructure Levy, and as much on-site affordable provision, as at present?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not sure

As discussed above many developers are claiming they cannot deliver the affordable housing that was agreed at consent. Too often LA’s acquiesce in this to avoid the battle of accountants and lawyers with the resultant delays. This, as mentioned above, has resulted in a crash in the provision of ‘affordable’ and social housing especially in rural areas (CPRE survey 2019).

Seeking to maintain that situation is not want we want and one I am sure the White paper seeks to remove and return to the actually agreed provision at base.

However more affordable and social housing is an urgent matter in Bunbury and many other rural communities. The fail to provide adequate housing of this sort means local communities suffer a number of consequences. The forced dispersal of family generation, the inability to downsize in later life and the lack of accommodation for all the key workers who then have to live miles away and travel in causing additional traffic, pollution and expense.

24(b). Should affordable housing be secured as in-kind payment towards the Infrastructure Levy, or as a ‘right to purchase’ at discounted rates for local authorities?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Another loophole to attract cunning developers and their accountants.

Build Affordable house to a set standards and targets based on need surveys in each area.

24(c). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, should we mitigate against local authority overpayment risk?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Share the risk

24(d). If an in-kind delivery approach is taken, are there additional steps that would need to be taken to support affordable housing quality?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Yes, yes, yes!

We must have better standards in all housing but especially in social and affordable housing. The lack of proper enforceable standards is a disgrace and has resulted in the smallest houses in Europe.

25. Should local authorities have fewer restrictions over how they spend the Infrastructure levy?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]

Not sure

Currently Bunbury does not directly benefit from the 106 Levy as Cheshire East takes the money and uses it on affordable housing and infrastructure. Moe push on infrastructure would benefit communities generally.

25(a). If yes, should an affordable housing ‘ring-fence’ be developed?

[Yes / No / Not sure. Please provide supporting statement.]


Critical to all rural communities.

26. Do you have any views on the potential impact of the proposals raised in this consultation on people with protected characteristics as defined in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010?

Community engagement is complex. Why you believe some sort of digital revolution is going to improve matters is the sort of lazy, cheap idea that people without real knowledge of community come up with. Direct personal involvement where opinions are sought and responded to in meetings exhibitions. Social media used by activist to engage might have some impact with some sections of society but not all.

A Non-Material Minor Adjustment

Bowes gate Development (20/1406N)

This is an application to make a ‘minor adjustment’ to the original application.(15/1666N). This application was for 11 dwellings to include affordable housing ‘on-site’. Now the developers wish to ‘transfer’ the affordable housing to the development next to the medical centre off Vicarage lane.

Let’s remind ourselves of the consent given to the Vicarage Lane site. The site has a longer than normal planning history that took the size of the development from 12 dwellings (3 affordable to 9 market) down to 7 that were eventually approved (4 ‘town houses’ (terraced), 1 pair of semi-detached & 1 detached) but no affordable housing. At the time of the original application the developer claimed

The ethos of this scheme has been to deliver new housing which reflects and respects Bunbury’s distinct historic character and appearance, whilst delivering a mix of houses which meets the needs of the community.

(Supporting Planning Statement – Land at Vicarage lane.)

Subsequently(19/0371N) the developers applied for 8 dwellings all to be town houses. It wasn’t clear why this adjustment had been made. The site did not at the time reach the threshold of 15 dwellings that would require the inclusion of 30% affordable housing. No mention was now made of affordable housing.

The original Bowes Gate application was proposed by the Rural Housing Trust Ltd who sought to build 11 dwellings, 4 socially rented, 4 shared equity, and 3 market houses. They have now sought to build 11 market houses on the Bowes Gate site and designate some or all of the Vicarage Lane dwellings as ‘affordable’ i.e. social renting or shared equity. The details have not been given as yet and technicaly neither site need deliver any afforable housing.


Why would I oppose this move? Three reasons come to mind. First, eight affordable homes will be lost from the Bowes Gate Road development together with the original 3 from the vicarage Lane site. From a total of 11 affordable houses to some unknown number, if any. If the ‘transfer’ of all 8 affordables to the Vicarae Lane, we are still down by 3 from the original total that justifiably, it may be argues, helped get the developers the consent in the first place.

Essentially this is looks like an attempt to up the amount of profit that the developer can obtain overall. In itself, that would seem fairly normal. But from the villages point of view this may come at a cost.The Bowes Gate Road site has considerable ‘potential’ in marketing speak. It will have open view to the south in lies in a very attractive location in Upper Bunbury. Just as we saw in the two Duchy developments I have little doubt we shall see plans for large expensive properties.

We already have enough large expensive 4 – 5 bedroomed houses either built, building or due to start; the Grange has 9, Hill Close another 9, and east off Bunbury Lane , on the new Duchy site, another 9 are due, plus the 9 expected on the Oak Gardens development arriving some time in 2021.

Bunbury has more than delivered it fair share of the ‘executive’ housing and gone above and beyond on meeting its Local Planrequirement. Time to call a halt on this type of speculative land grab. And is it the role of a rural housing trust to deliver this type of property? I hope I am mistaken and they will produce something that meets the needs of the village and those seeking to gain a foothold on the property ladder in the area where they grew up and/or work. When need more semi-detached 3 bedroomed dwellings – an increasingly rare type of housing where the ‘executive’ house

Thirdly, this plan smells of socal ‘cleansing’. The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan, in line with what I would say is the dominant British trend seeks to maintain a mix house types. With a mix of housing can come to some degree at least a socal mix. Perhaps its more an income mix but the two are related. In a number of reports on planning appications the Cheshire East Officers refer to ‘pepper potting’ of different houseing types and affordable homes across a given site. The Bowes Gate Road site had a large social housing element with a modest but appropriate market sector. Appropriate in the sense that Housing Associations need to self-fund their developments so each one must ‘seed’ the next. Now, the Bowes Gate Road site has the potential to become another Duchy style ‘mega bucks’ development. Nodoudt the land holders will reap a reward as will the rural trust IF they remain the developers and don’t also ‘transfer their interst to the Vicarage Lane site. Wheels and deals?

In the worse case senario therefore we will have a group of 11 market houses designed to generate considerable profit. To help ensure its commercial success, someone thinks it necessay that all social housing is now eliminate from the site. On the Vicarage Lance site, some at least of the dwellings will be reclassied as ‘afforable’. The effect of this shuffling about will be a form of ‘gettoisation’ or a complete lack of mixing. That is bad planning and is socially unhealthy. We don’t become a better society by livving apart, or allowing people to shut themselves away with other ‘People Like Us’.

Duchy have a new development (19/3767N)

Update October 2020

Duchy make a hurried return!

Yes folks, Duchy Homes are back in charge of the development to the east of Bunbury Lane. This development is now being referred to as Cardamine Gardens.

The five’ Affordable’ houses have been acquired by Guinness Partnership and the remaining 10 houses are already being snapped-up.

Update July 2020

Duchy exit stage left…..

During our ‘confinement’ the development of this site has switched back again to the original applicants, The Guinness Partnership. We don’t know the reason, a falling out, or the impact of the pandemic on development plans? Your guess is as good as mine. Housing Associations have a reputation for ‘glacial progress’ and this development s appears to bare out that accusation. In their recent letter to local residents they declare the involvement of Duchy Homes has now ended and that involves some changes to the application that was originally given consent to the reserved matters. Essentially Duchy wants the look of the houses altered so they no longer look like Duchy Homes. The site layout and the provision of the affordable Homes is not altered.

Update January 2020

I regret this news has been delayed due to the website crash in December last year.

The Duchy has now been given the go ahead on this site. No changes to the application have been made and the dwellings will remain as:

2 x one bedroom bungalows

2 x two bedroom dwellings

1 x three bedroom dwelling

1 x four bedroom dwelling

9 x five bedroom dwellings

Much of the objection to this application focussed on the mix of housing. The original application that received consent proposed just 4 five bedroomed properties. The current proposal is to have 9 five bedroomed houses. Why were these objections ignored? Put simply there is no policy on mix of housing on new development. This what the PO has to say:

The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan states within the consultation section that ‘all new housing developments shall provide a mix of size, design and type of dwellings including social, low cost market housing and starter homes’. The glossary to the BNP also includes reference to dwelling mix as ‘the mix of different types of homes provided on a site. A mix may typically include a range of house types from 2 to 5 bedroom houses’. Despite these references there is no specific policy relating to housing mix/sizes within the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan. (My emphasis).

Officer‘s Delegated Report 19?3767N

Perhaps that is something to consider when we get to the time that the BNP is to be revised. It is not the only ‘gap’ in the ‘defence system’ that the BNP was to provide. But that is a topic for another day.

The Report goes on to reject the objection to this application on the grounds that the developer has not provided 30% of affordable housing. This debate centres round the demolition of the Retirement bungalow (No. 6) to improve access to the site. While the new build of affordable homes meets the 30% target the overall effect on the village is that we have a net gain of 4 not 5 affordable homes. If that calculation is done then the provision falls to 26.67%.

 Update September 30 th 2019

Land off Bunbury Lane: ( New Duchy Development)

My first observation about the progress on this site is what a contrast with the previous site off Oak Gardens. Duchy are experienced and know how to deal with the reserved matters, like it or not. This week has seen the arrival of application 19/4418D to discharge (most of ) the conditions laid down at the appeal 16/0646N . We have statements on construction and environment, drainage, ecological management, a topographical survey, traffic management and a Geotechnical Report on the site. Some of this work is new but others were clearly begun under the previous owner, Guinness Partnership. A couple of interesting points from the ecological work is that hedgehog gaps will be made to ensure they have free movement to the other fields around the site. As well as some planting along the eastern boundary the ‘ecological enhancement area’ on the northern edge of the site will be sown with wildflowers and native fruit trees.

The bulk  of the objections on this site point to the miss match between the original consent where the majority of houses were 4 bedroom properties and the move to 9 five bedroom dwellings. As I have pointed out elsewhere the problem with outline consents is that you just don’t know what you are going to get. Much of the material presented at this early stage can be window dressing much as we have seen in the struggles with the O ak Gardens development but also with the Saddlers Wells site that changed from the original consent. The trend is always to put in more houses and make them larger.


Original Comments:

At long last we have details of the development behind the retirement homes along Bunbury Lane. This site shares a bit of history with the Hill Close development. The original application was made by Wulvern Housing Association just after the afore mentioned site. The consensus at the time was broadly in favour of the site and opposed to the Hill Close development. However,  Hill Close application was, after a number of permutations, approved before the Wulvern. The original Wulvern application was then refused  on the grounds of co-location (see Policy H2a in the Neighbourhood Plan) with the Hill Close site. A battle then ensued over this application with much discussion of the meaning of ‘co-location’ ; . It went to appeal and the Inspector came down on the side of the developers and defined ‘co-location’ as being next door to another site and agreed that a small paddock was sufficient distance to meet the requirements of the policy. A serious blow to the ‘co-location’ principle. That was in 2016 and since then the Wulvern has become the Guinness Partnership and they have now sold the site to Duchy Homes. It they that have put in the application ( 19/3767N )

What has emerged? Here is the proposed layout:

Layout of site to the east of Bunbury lane

What we have then is a site dedicated to the construction of large 5 bedroomed properties squeezed into about two-thirds of the site. Four ‘affordable ‘; dwellings are planned in the least favoured part of the site where else ? direct ly behind the retirement homes. Here are the details of the affordable housing planned.

Number Plots Type of homes Tenure
2 4 & 5 1 bedroomed 2 person Bungalows Affordable rent
1 3 2 bedroomed 4 person house Affordable rent
1 1 3 bedroomed 5 person houses Shared Ownership
1 2 2 bedroomed 4 person house Shared Ownership

Next is the  market orientated housing plans :

Number Plots Type of homes Tenure
1 6 4 bedroomed Freehold
9 7 – 15 5 bedroomed Freehold

The space at the end of  plot is described as a … retained ecological area . . ‘;;; and  . . This is an important feature for the local residents and has been retained in order to strengthen links to the existing PROW while retaining the rural character.’

That is a welcome feature but also exists as a potential area of expansion for a further  6 to 7 additional houses at some point in the future. Will it have a legally binding covenant protecting it from development rather like, we are told, the paddock to the south of the site?

How has the application changed from the one presented in 2016?

It is perhaps worth looking back at the application that was given consent and looking at the allocation of housing types then envisioned.

The affordable houses were 5 in total although with the loss of the retirement bungalow on Bunbury Lane this was a net of 4 dwellings. No change. These smaller properties are sorely needed in Bunbury, a situation reflected in the most up-to-date housing needs survey completed in 2013. People want to stay in the village but down size and thereby free up family accommodation for other villagers and new comers. The real shift in provision comes in the ‘market sector’ of the  application. The original application only provided for four 5 bedroomed houses not the 9 we now have. That is a massive shift in the target market the developers are aiming at

Why we should object to the proposal in the new Duchy Home application.

A perpetual problem with developers is their unwillingness to to provide the sort of homes that are needed by the community. This problem brought about the requirement of developers to provide a specific number of affordable houses if the size of the development exceeds a certain level. The original act in 1990 was seen by the current government as a barrier to building new homes. Developers were, apparently reluctant to build because of the burden of the affordable housing requirement specified by the act and negotiated with the local authority. The new act in 2013 gave developers the ability to question the ‘viability’ of any affordable housing requirement. The result has been a significant reduction in the number of affordable houses being built.(Homes England – Housing Statistics).

The Duchy Development off Bunbury lane is pretty typical of the allocation of housing types we have seen in the village. While the building of 5 new ‘affordable’ homes appears generous we should remember that it is only a net addition of 4 homes as one of the retirement homes on Bunbury lane is being demolished to improve access to the site. That is 26% of the site allocation of 15 homes. The bare minimum .

The remaining 10 houses also reflect the market driven approach of development these days. One 4 bedroomed house and 9 five bedroomed homes . Given the evidence of the The Grange development and the prospectus provided by Duchy Homes this are set to sell at premium prices. Apart from the possibility of purchases by retired couples, the majority of houses will attract working couples and families commuting in and out of the village.

The village doesn’t need more of these large houses. The current housing needs survey(2013) did not show anything more than the addition of 1 four bedroomed per year. What it did show was the need for many single and double bedroomed houses and that scarce commodity the 3 bedroomed semi-detached house. The development next to the medical Centre offers some relief for people wishing to stay in the village, both downsizers and first-time buyers with 7 affordable homes available. A further 20 (including both Duchy sites) affordable homes are completed or due to be built from existing planning consent. That is out of a total over 100 houses built in the village since 2010.

Oak Gardens Development

Yes another update on oak Gardens! When will it end.

Having been refused on several reserved matters , Crabtree are back in double quick time with a new applications (19/5534N and 19/5489D).

What Crabtree has now created is four 1 bedroomed apartments. These replace the two two bedroomed semi-detached properties as shown on this site plan:

It has long been argued that the site was overcrowded. This was due primarily to the desire of the developer to build as many 4 and 5 bedroomed ‘Executive’ homes as the site could bear. The Planning Officer has clearly been at work and made it clear that Crabtree must respond seriously to the issues raised by Cheshire East Officers and members of the public in the comments made on previous plans. In the latest iteration they have made a number of important changes:

1. The number of houses across the western boundary has been reduced from 6 to 5

2. We have more 3 bedroomed (shown in yellow) properties

3. The 4 affordable homes have been converted to single bedroomed apartments.

Extra room has been created by the reduction in space allocated to the ‘affordable homes’ and the introduction of ‘market’ directed semi-detached homes next to those affordable dwellings. This has allowed the developers to give the required space to the veteran ash tree and as noted above, put in few houses in the west

The Parish Council remains concerned about the change to the affordable houses. Here are its latest comments:

Bunbury Parish Council objects to the application on the grounds that the four affordable homes that are mentioned are not clear from the diagram or the design statement. It is believed that the original application may have contained a different mix of affordable housing. The detail needs to be more specific

The design statement attached the application is noteworthy for saying very little of substance despite looking a bit more professional. Again, the contrast with the Duchy Homes statement on the site they have acquired off Bunbury Lane is a sharp lesson in how to do it right first time. That said the need for single bedroomed homes in Bunbury is clearly evidenced. Likewise we have to be pleased to see more three bedroomed properties as these are often in short supply in Bunbury but in strong demand.

Full report by the Planning Officer is available here:

report on refusal of reserved matters _ Oak Gardens

In Summary:

The layout does not make adequate provision for the veteran Ash tree.

The layout would be dominated by parked cars at the entrance of the site.

Hence, it fails to comply with policy SE1 of the Cheshire East Local Plan and policy H3 of the Bunbury neighbourhood Plan and the Cheshire East Design Guide.

The separation distances are in places below the recommended distances set out in the adopted guidance.

Those houses numbered 10-14 on the plan would be 1 metre above houses in Wakes Meadow. ‘;This would exacerbate the impact of the development.(Properties 5 – 7 Wakes meadow are identified).

Again this would be contrary to policy BE1 of Nantwich & Crewe Local Plan and BNP policy H3.

How long this refusal will delay matters is difficult to estimate. The developers need to come up with a site layout that deals with all the issues identified in the Planning Officers report. To me, the underlying issue that emerges once again,  is that the plan to put 15 dwellings on this site is just not achievable if all you want to build is 4-5 bedroom detached ‘executive’ style properties. Fewer, smaller houses of the type needed in the village would not be such a problem but potentially less profitable.

Latest Update October 29th 2019:

Cheshire East has refused reserved matters consent on the land at Oak Gardens!

Announced yesterday the planning officer has refused to discharge the reserved matters conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, & 14 listed in application 19/3992N The reason given by the planning officer, Simon Greenland, is that no agreement has been made on an acceptable layout of the site. It is clear from the comments made on each of the conditions that they were close to agreement but continue to be held up by the lack of details on the floor and ground levels so that a proper evaluation of the site layout can be made. This is of key importance to local residents impacted by this development. From the start there has been concern of the height ad proximity of the dwellings on this site relative to existing properties and trees. It was a point made by the HM Inspector in her report on the appeal:

Condition 14

No development shall take place until the following information has been submitted to, and approved in writing, by the local planning authority:

i) a full site survey showing: the datum used to calibrate the site levels; levels along all site boundaries; levels across the site at regular intervals; levels of adjoining gardens; and floor levels of adjoining buildings.

ii) full details of the proposed finished floor levels of all buildings and hard landscaped surfaces

Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643

The department at Cheshire East raising this objection was Heritage & Design – Forestry. Their comment was :

The condition requires a full site survey and datum, levels across all site boundaries and across the site and adjoining gardens including floor levels of adjoin buildings. As far as I can ascertain all that has been provided is finished floor levels. Given the topography of the site, the provision of existing/proposed levels are critical to enable assessment of the impact on existing site constraints.

I am assuming that a new application will be presented shortly to cover this refusal. Time is starting to become an issue however. The Appeal result is dated 31st May 2017 and the developers have until the 31st of may 2020 to resolve all matters. If not the process will start have to be restarted with a fresh application. However, it is important to remember this is effectively the last condition, a really key one, and while  details on condition 6, 7, 9, 12 and 13 are refused along with condition 14 the real issue is the later.


The original comments:

Many of you will now have had notification of the developers plans for the field next to Oak Gardens

Development plans for the field next to Oak Garden have been lodge with Cheshire East planning department. They can be viewed on their website here. If you wish to do your own search the planning reference is 18/6338N.

This is part of the ‘reserved matters’ relating to the outline planning permission granted to Crabtree Homes on 31st May 2017 at appeal. Under the schedule laid (Appeal Decision on Application 16/20210N) down by the HM Inspector in Item 1:

Details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale, (hereinafter called “the reserved matters”) shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority before any development takes place and the development shall be carried out as approved

Here is the proposed layout of the site (updated 29/01/2019):

Amended Layout of Oak Gardens development showing distances to points on adjoining properties. (NB ‘OG’ indicates obscure glass.

The Existing Site:

Without wish to alarm residents I do wish to draw your attention to the Existing Site Plan submitted with application 18/6338. You can see this just below:


Existing Site Plan for application 18/6338

The red line defines the site, or does it? The line is a series of straight lines drawn on the plan that ‘roughly’ marks out the site. But it does not follow the boundary fences. It cuts across some gardens and in places locates substantial trees in peoples gardens as being in the site. Probably just a draughting error. May be not. We must speak to the developer to clarify this one.

The Proposed Layout plan (1418-P005):

This plan shows a number of radical changes to the one submitted as part of the original 16/2010N application.

 The important changes that I have noted are:

a) The location of the houses on the western border has increased to 6 properties with No 6 coming very close to the back garden of No 9 Wakes Meadow. Such a location must seriously reduce the privacy of the existing and future residents. I would think this gable end must be within 2 or 3m at best (guesstimated until I can measure the plan). Is it not normal to allow 10m to preserve privacy and existing resident amenity?

A similar problem occurs at the other end of the site where the affordable homes now encroach on the amenity of the three homes that front onto Bunbury Lane at this point to the north of the access road.

The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states under Housing Policy H5 Design:

Demonstrate that the amenities of neighbouring dwellings will not be adversely affected through overlooking, loss of light or outlook, over dominance or general disturbance.

This point is emphasised by BNP Policy LC1 – Built environment:

..demonstrate a high quality of design and a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupiers of the proposed development, at the same time ensuring that the amenities of neighbouring properties will not be adversely affected.

These plans therefore pose a serious loss of privacy and amenity to existing residents. It is not beyond the wit of skilled architects to solve this problem.

In her report on the appeal of application 16/2010N on the land off Oak Gardens, the Inspector laid down a series of conditions. This forms the schedule at the end on the document and stipulate what MUST be done and in what order. A number of these conditions have relevance to any of our objections to these plans. The inspector identifies condition 1, 8, 10, 11 and 13 as pre-commencement conditions as they cannot be satisfactorily dealt with any other way

Condition 1: requires the developer to submit ‘Details of the appearance, landscaping, layout, and scale, (hereinafter called “the reserved matters”) shall be submitted

That would appear to have been fulfilled by the plans currently on display on the Cheshire East (CE) website. Click here to view

Condition 8 of the schedule:

No development shall commence until the public right of way through the site has been diverted as shown on the approved Footpath Plan.’ (Schedule 8)

While the appeal against the original path orders was rejected, a new appeal against the subsequent amendments to those orders is still ongoing. It is good to note that the Cheshire East Footpath Team are on the job , spurred on by Susie Reed -and have already lodged an objection to the application.

Their comments are worth attention because the project must stop until the issues are dealt with:

We wish to object to the Reserved Matters planning application (18/6338N) as the developers Landscape Plan does not reflect the proposed widths of FP14 Bunbury as recorded in the Footpath Diversion Order and previously agreed with the developers.

FP14 runs from the gate into the field to the kissing gate in the middle of the southern boundary (and onwards over the next field), near to the west end of Oak Gardens. Footpath 15 the runs from the kissing gate along the southern boundary to the style leading to the small bridge over the Gowy brook. the Footpath team comment:

Public Footpath No.15 – although this section of public footpath has not required a diversion, it has previously been mentioned that as it is proposed to enclose the path a minimum of 2.5 metres for the footpath would be required. However as this footpath also follows a existing hedge to the southern boundary of the site, it is assumed the Nature Conservation Officer will be recommending that a buffer is also required for this section. Therefore a greater width would be required.

Condition 10:

Before the approval of the final reserved matters application, an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation strategy shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
No such updated impact assessment or mitigation strategy has been forth coming.

Condition 11 is addressed further down the page.

b) Secondly are concerns related to the proposed gardens of these houses and the extent this poses a serious threat to the local ecology and an attack on the BNP Landscape and Environment Policy.

In outlinning its polcy toward the environment the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states that one of the key issues it wishes to address is:

To continue to protect wildlife, especially those endangered species such as great crested newts, birds of prey and owls. (BNP p22)

The specific policies that it uses to enforce this are:

Policy ENV3 -Woodland, Trees, Hedgerows, Sandstone
Banks, Walls, Boundary Treatment and Paving

Incuded in the policy are the statements:

All new developments should seek to protect local woodland, trees, hedgerows, wide verges, sandstone banks, walls, boundary treatment

All new development close to existing mature trees will be expected
to have in place an arboricultural method statement to BS5837
standard or equivalent before any work commences. This will detail
tree protection policies to be employed during construction.

No such statement has been made.

Policy ENV7 – Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors opens with the statement:
The existing woodlands, wildlife sites, drainage ditches, brooks and culverts
will be maintained and enhanced and, where appropriate, new buffer zones and wildlife corridors will be created to increase the biodiversity of the plan area.

The western border of the site backs onto a stream – a tributary of the River Gowy. This is designated in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) as a Wildlife corridor in Policy BIO 1 – Bunbury Wildlife Corridor ( Map Reference Appendix C Map 1 BNP).

A key passage in the Justification of this policy is

The designated area should incorporate all semi–natural habitat along the river corridor and include a non–developable buffer zone to protect the corridor from issues such as ground water and light pollution, and the spread of invasive garden species.

This is specified in the CE Principle Nature Conservation Officer and repeated by HM Inspector in giving her consent to the development at appeal.

I understand that the application site falls within an indicative wildlife corridor as shown in the NP. The NP recommends a 15m non-developable buffer zone adjacent to the wildlife corridor. The Council has acknowledged that this appears to have been achieved in the indicative layout and I have no reason to find otherwise.

Now the proposed site and landscape plan show the ‘buffer zone’ has gone and gardens appear to extend to the banks of the stream. The developer has even indicated a gate is to be provided to better access the wildlife corridor! If the corridor and its protective buffer zone are subsumed into the gardens we can clearly see the dangers to the wildlife and the environment. Undergrowth will be cleared, trees will be cut back ‘the threat of falling branches poses a danger both to my house and children cut them down!’, people will invade this quiet area and drive out the wildlife. This amounts to a cynical rejection of the BNP polices designed to protect these essential environments. It is also a complete reversal of the plans presented that can be seen below comparing the landscape plans before and after planning consent has been granted.

Here is the current proposal for landscaping the site:

New landscape plan of site showing position of houses and some limited planting of hedges.

Here is the amended version that now puts back many of the mitigation features originally proposed. Why did we not get this plan first time ?

Latest landscape plan (29/01/19) showing restoration of many of the ecology mitigation features not included in the first version shown above.

It is interesting to view the original layout and features to support the ecology of the field. Here is the original plan:

Indicative layout of site showing position of houses roads and ecological enhancement items required.
Original Landscape plan submitted with application 16/2010N

The latest landscape plan now shows the pond, the Hibernacula Mounds, Habitat Mounds, Wooden Compost Bins, and apart from some planted fence lines no additional planting round the pond or the old ash tree. Much of the area behind the row of house adjacent to the brook still is incorporating the 15m buffer zone required by the Nature Conservation Officer and shown on the original landscape plan. This has now been included within the gardens. The ‘buffer zone’ protecting the wildlife corridor has gone. the wildlife corridor on this side of the brook has also effectively gone.

Condition 11 specifies:

Before the approval of the final reserved matters application a habitat management plan to cover the life of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. From the day of commencement of development, the management plan shall be adhered to thereafter.

No such plan has been submitted.

These matters will be decided by the assigned Planning Officer, Simon Greenland. It is important to register your concerns about these proposals by the 13th February. I will make available some of my concerns as soon as possible but numbers and specific concerns about the plans really do matter. It is pointless to rehash points made in the original debate about this development. The focus has to on these particular plans, such as impact on existing dwellings, privacy, protection of landscape as specified in the various environmental assessments and agreements. More on this soon.

This application is therefore incomplete and cannot be considered as it does not comply with the conditions laid down by the inspector. Both conditions 10 and 11 come with the preamble:

Before the approval of the final reserve matters application…

Neither have met. The Planning Officer assures me that the information is on its way. But the point is, it is not available now for proper scrutiny. The clock is running and unlike council officer members, the public need time to check the website, think, and marshal their comments. Presenting critical information late in the day is just another variant of the ‘A good Day for bad news’ strategy that governments, corporation and businesses are inclined to use when they do not want the hassle of accountability.

Further Developments on Oak Gardens

Up da te September 30th 2019

A pplication 16/2010N continues to struggle with the reserved matters. These are being dealt with under application 19/3992N and 19/3985D . A number of reports from CE officers have been added during September.

1 . PROW troubles continue with several errors and corrections being made to get the design and maintenance of footpath 14 and 15 to a satisfactory level. We are still awaiting the outcome of HM Inspectors report on the diversion o FP14 and condition 9 cannot be met until that decision is made. However the PROW officer is still unhappy with the FP as they do not include the buffer zone between the hedge and the path as recommended by the Nature Conservation officer.

2 Nature Conservation officer :

This report, although not wholly supportive, does make the point that a number of residents and PC have also done that current site layout does not allow room for the ‘buffer zone’ between the woodland wildlife corridor and the gardens of houses 1 – 6 identified on the new layout. I quote from James Baggaley’s report:

The application site also falls within an indicative wildlife corridor, as shown in the neighbourhood plan, associated with the adjacent stream corridor. The neighbourhood plan recommends a 15m non-developer able buffer zone adjacent to the wildlife corridor. The currently proposed buffer is reduced to 7.5m at its narrowest and therefore is not in accordance with the Neighbourhood Plan policy.

Other concerns refer to the fact that the veteran ash tree supports a bat roost and lighting on the site must be of a type and duration not to interfere with their habits. That means low level lighting in all senses and with an appropriate ‘lighting regime .

3 . Principle landscape Architect’s report:

Again the Officer starts by making the same point about the 15m buffer zone… ‘

The layout appears to have changed significantly from the Revised Indicative Layout drawing (Ref B050-160831-7022 ) submitted as part of the outline planning permission 16/2010N which provided a 15m non-developable buffer zone, as recommended in the Neighbourhood Plan and also specifically referred to by the Appeal Inspector (Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643 , para 28). This boundary buffer now appears to have been significantly reduced. (my emphasis)

They are listening or at least seeing what we are seeing !

He continues by pointing out a number of problems on the site layout with missing hedges and the fact that the red line outlining the site is not accurate – a point I have mentioned before as it strays into peoples properties at times. It also appears that the gap between Plot 9B and the site boundary is less than 2m while not showing the hedge at that point. And having footpath 14 running along this strip.

4. Strategic Housing Officer’s report:

Object to this application’

The problem here is that the site shows only 4 affordable properties and the officer says that it should be 5! he points out that Bunbury has a waiting list of 28 (18x 1 bedroom, 8x 2 bedroom and 2 x 3bedroom dwellings). Three units should be for rent and 2 for ‘intermediate tenure’ code for shared ownership. And where is the affordable housing statement!

So this development is not going to progress until all these issues are dealt with and resolved.


Update August 28th 2019

A new reserved application ( 19/3985D ) has been lodged with Cheshire East Planning Dept. The documents deal with a series of conditions laid down by the HM Inspector namely 6, 7, 9, 12, 13, 14. Perhaps of immediate interest to residents is the changes in the site layout. While no formal document is titled ‘New Layout’ i is quite clear that some note has been taken of the objects to the layout given in previous versions of the application. The best way I can illustrate this is through a direct comparison of the new layout and the previous version.

1 . Vesrion issued in 18/6338N


New layout in 19/3985D

The first change that pops out of the new documents is the alterations to the site layout. They are not dramatic. Adjustments might be a better expression of what they show. 

A major concern was the proximity of house 6 to the rear of No. 9 Wakes Meadow. It is now shown moved back from the rear fence creating more separation space. This has been partly achieved by moving the house westward so that the planned rear garden is reduced and the space at the front increased. Number 6 also appears to have lost a separate garage while the new dwelling to the east , number 7 on the plans, has gained a garage. House 6 and 5 are now fully aligned while house number 4 has been moved forward and the hard standing has switched sides.

The next important change is the space given to the root area around the vintage ash between houses 7 and 10. The tree survey (see below) indicated that the original plans had reduced the protection afforded to the tree with both properties intruding into the ”protected root area. This has been achieved by pushing house number 7 westward and reducing space between the house and the garage it has now acquired. It also appear that number 7 has also have been moved forward toward the fence separating it with No. 8 Wakes Meadow. This would mean the major part of its garden would lie under the canopy of the oak tree T2 shown in the tree survey. Apart from the obvious objection I can anticipate considerable struggles to get the canopy reduced if not the felling of the tree.


Update  August 10th 2019:

Application 18/6338D withdrawn.

This application sought to discharge planning conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14. So why has it been withdrawn? Once the site was given outline planning consent the Planning Officers must guide the applicant to a successful outcome if at all possible . We know that a meeting was held in the field between the developer and the Planning Department representative to resolve some problems. I believe the outcome of that meeting was the recognition that the application would be refused in it current form. Rather than let that happen the developers have with drawn and will now consider how to make a successful application to obtain agreement on the reserved matters.

Did the objections we made have an effect ? . Undoubtedly. Here are some of the key points made in the PC’s submission:

It does not fulfill a number of pre-consent conditions listed in HM Inspectors report schedule (Appeal Decision APP/R0660/W/16/3165643 ) namely:

Condition (8) with reference to the objection to the current (modified) site layout made by Jennifer Miller, Definitive Map Officer, PROW Team, Cheshire East Council. An appeal is ongoing and this condition CANNOT be met until the outcome is decided.

  Condition (14) i ) levels of adjoining gardens; etc … still no shown on any plan. It is not possible to identify the levels of adjoining gardens. This is necessary to be clear about the impact this development will have on existing residents.

The proposed development does not comply with a number of Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan policies:

1 . The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) states under Housing Policy H5 Design:

.. not be adversely affected through overlooking, loss of light or outlook, over dominance or general disturbance.

The inspector also commented on the problem in that the field is in fact higher at several points than houses in Wakes Meadow and that needs attention…I appreciate that existing occupiers would have their outlook changed but not so much as to cause unacceptable harm to their living conditions. ( para. 21) These plans propose a serious loss of privacy and amenity to existing residents. Specifically along the northern boundary where they would dominate over existing, lower properties. In the case of house C2 in plan E, it comes very close to their boundary and represent a complete loss of privacy to No 9 Wakes Meadow. To the east , the affordable houses also dominate the gardens and outlook from the three dwellings along Bunbury Lane.

2 . The application also fails to meet BNP Policy LC1 – Built environment: namely that new developments should:

. . . demonstrate a high quality of design and a good standard of amenity for existing and future occupiers of the proposed development, at the same time ensuring that the amenities of neighbouring properties will not be adversely affected.

These poorly and uniformly designed executive homes fail to meet many of the Village Design Statements (appendix 2) resulting in a congested development. Inadequate planting and unfriendly high fences.

Policy ENV3 -Woodland, Trees, Hedgerows, Sandstone Banks, Walls, Boundary Treatment and Paving.

Included in the policy are the statements:

A ll new development close to existing mature trees will be expected to have in place an arboricultural method statement to BS5837 standard or equivalent before any work commences

The new site plan seems to be an attempt to fulfill this requirement. All it shows is the root Protection Zones of each of the major trees in and around the site and how the houses trespass on these zones This does not meet the standards of BS5837

Missing :

Future Growth Potential (Crown height and spread).

No shade footprint throughout the day based on future growth potential.

Stem Diameter

Documenting health and any defects

Preliminary management recommendations

Remaining useful life of the tree etc.

3 . The western border of the site backs onto a stream – a tributary of the River Gowy and designated a Wildlife Corridor:

Policy ENV7 – Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors opens with the statement: The existing woodlands, wildlife sites, drainage ditches, brooks and culverts will be maintained and enhanced and, where appropriate, new buffer zones and wildlife corridors will be created to increase the biodiversity of the plan area.This is designated in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) as a Wildlife corridor in Policy BIO 1 – Bunbury Wildlife Corridor (Map Reference Appendix C Map 1 BNP).The designated area should incorporate all semi–natural habitat along the river corridor and include a non–developable buffer zone to protect the corridor from issues such as ground water and light pollution , and the spread of invasive garden species.The 15m buffer zone is specified by the CE Principal Nature Conservation Officer and repeated by HM Inspector in giving her consent to the development at appeal.


Finally in reference to 18/6356D the results of the infiltration testing revealed that the site will need a substantial drainage system that will feed into the brook. This needs an environmental assessment of the impact on the brook before being approved. Such a proposal could pose a serious threat to the wildlife corridor.


Upd ate July 10th 2019

A new element in application 18/6338N appeared earlier this week. It was under the heading of ‘Reserved matter application for the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of outline planning permission 16/2010N ' ; ; ; ; . But what it  actually boiled down to was a tree survey or rather parts of a tree survey as I will explain. 

I was not familiar with BS5837 (2012). Like many BSi proclamations I know they are there to set standards in a wide range of fields. If a tool or product carried a BS Kitemark it was a guarantee of basic quality. So, when this update to the Oak Gardens field development arrived, I was unclear as to what it was all about. It appeared to be the same site plan with additional data about the trees. That then leads to the interest in BS5837or to give it its full title:

Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction

The process of developing a tree Protection Plan is laid out in the documentation and requires the following stages:

1 . Topographical Survey – a map showing the location of the trees , relevant spot heights adjacent tot the trees. The position of the all treees on the site, or overhanging the site. The crown spread (shown in green and blue areas on the map . the extent of hedges, stumps and shrub masses.

2 , Soil Assessment:

This is undertaken to assess whether the soil is shrinkable which could cause damage to structures without appropriate protection.

3 . Tree Survey

Thi s is clearly a key part and I want to quote directly from the Standard to make my point.

The survey classifies trees according to a standard set of criteria:

U : Not worth keeping ast they have little ‘value’ ;i.e. they are dead, dying or won’t last 10yrs .

A: Trees of high quality. Life expectancy of 40 years or more. Many examples around the site of English Oaks and Ash trees and fall into this category. They are seen mainly as visual assets of the landscape. ( A2 ) . The canopy of these trees are shown in green.

B: Moderate quality with a life expectancy of at least 20yrs . The canopy of these trees are shown on the plan in blue.

C: Tree of low quality


It states: Tree surveys undertaken after a detailed design has been prepared can identify significant conflicts: in such cases, the nature of and need for the proposed development should be set against the quality and values of affected trees. The extent to which the design can be modified to accommodate those trees meriting retention (see Clause 5) should be carefully considered.

However, it is my contention that the survey or the report of the survey as presented in the new plan and the subject of the current consultation is incomplete. What additional data that needs to be included is specified in BS5837(20120? Well, what I can’t find is :

  • Height
  • Stem diameter
  • Branchspread
  • He

i g h t above ground of the first significant branch and direction of growth. This is needed to inform ground clearance, crown\stem ratio, and shading.

  • Life stage ( e.g. young , mature, etc )



  • Preliminary management recommendations

The purpose of the survey is to inform the site layout design. As the design of the layout has not changed following the  that suggests the survey is either irrelevant or has been ignored. I believe the evidence suggests that the design of the site should be altered. In a number of places proposed house locations intrude into the root protection areas (RPA’s) (Houses, 1A , 7B , 10B , 11B )

A number of the trees have protection orders but this is ignored. All the oak trees and Ashes are protected and this should place constraints on the site layout design and the impact of the construction process. No mention of these aspects are currently mentioned in any new documentation. The BS5837(2012) states:

5.2.4 Particular care is needed regarding the retention of large, mature, over-mature or veteran trees which become enclosed within the new development (see 4.5.11 ) . Where such trees are retained, adequate space should be allowed for their long-term physical retention and future maintenance

Yet we still see serious trespass into the RPA of the veteran Ash tree 5T by plot 10(B) and 7(B)

The tree protection plan also appears to be missing. It may appear later but should show:

the location of protect barriers to form construction exclusion zones around retained tresss (all TPO’s) Where access to RPA’s is required then ground protection measures need to be in place and shown on the plan.

There is much more that could be said on this topic but I have gone on at some length already and many may feel that enough is enough. I will end with the following quote from the Standard :

6.1.1A precautionary approach towards tree protection should be adopted and any operations, including access, proposed within the RPA (or crown spread where this is greater) should be described within an arboricultural method statement, in order to demonstrate that the operations can be undertaken with minimal risk of adverse impact on trees to be retained.


Update: April 23rd 2019

The Planning Officer e-mailed to say the missing Species impact assessment update’ specified in condition 10 of the consent will be ‘confidential’ and only seen by the Nature Conservation Officers.

The report of the Principal Officer again reinforces the points made in their original response to the reserved matters application ( 18/6338N ) . Better protection for the vintage Ash, a 15m buffer zone against the woodland on the west of the site and other details list below. However, the Officer goes on to agree that the Wildlife Habitat management Plan is OK and the impact on species is mitigated by the plans submitted.


Update May 1st

It appears the issue that requires a ‘confidential’ update relates to the badger sett adjacent to the site. Apparently the sett is described in the words of the conservation officer as ‘inactive’ at the time of the survey.

Badgers and their setts are protected and it is an offence to disturb badgers, to damage their sett or restrict access to the sett. Was this sett to be included in the extended gardens on the original plans? Those gardens on the properties adjacent to the wildlife corridor originally had gates leading into the corridor and fence lines that extended to the banks of the brook.


Original Comment

As noted in several of the comments on this proposed development (18/6338N) a number of details were missing from the application. That meant it failed to meet all the conditions of the consent. Despite the public consultation having ended on the 13th February additions are still being added by the developers.

A couple of new tactics has emerged that I have not seen before on an application. Firstly, has been the astonishing failure to submit a full application that at least attempts to meet the conditions laid down at the time of the consent (see previous Oak Garden blogs). Why the developers thought this would a sensible approach is hard to fathom. It may lead to delays and request to re-submit. Although neither has happened to date the decision date is less than a fortnight away (16th April).

Secondly we have seen the use of secondary applications alongside the main submission. Next to 18/6338N we have had 18/6356D both of which closed for public consultation on the 13th February. Did you notice 18/6356D? Well most of us missed it and nobody but the Parish Council made a submission. While it deals a lot with drainage issues the impact on the environment of any subsequent scheme is potentially serious. The plan is to install a system that drains into the adjacent brook. The PC is rightly demanding an environmental impact assessment before any work goes ahead.

Now we have a new application 19/1582D that seeks to discharge conditions 10 and 11 that was ignored in the original application. To remind you theses were:

10) Before the approval of the final reserved matters application, an updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation strategy shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.

11) Before the approval of the final reserved matters application a habitat management plan to cover the life of the development shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. From the day of commencement of development, the management plan shall be adhered to thereafter.

The main substance of the application is the habitat maintenance report. Note that this is NOT the updated protected species impact assessment and mitigation policy. It comes with an amended layout plan (see below) to show some mitigation features, namely Compost Bays (7), Hibernacula Mounds (3), habitat Mounds (3) and the Ecology Area (pond and surrounding area. The layout also gives details of planting. This is to be welcomed. we may regret the original consent but we can still hope for the best development.

In correspondence included on the site the developers have responded to the criticism by the environment (Heritage & Design-Forestry) officer. This is the changes they have made:

1. Reserved Matters – Access gates have been removed from the rear garden fences belonging to the houses on the western boundary preventing access into the Ecological area (read ‘Wildlife corridor’)

2.   The ecological area is now not divided into separate areas, but is now an open stretch of land to maintain the favourable conservation status of the affected great crested newt population and will deliver adequate compensation for the priority/protected species present.

3. There is a gate now placed at one end of the ecological area to allow access for management purposes.

4. Lighting – Only low level pillar lighting is proposed for the development to allow for illuminating the road and pathways for each home. A example attached (see CE site). No high level street lighting is therefore proposed.

The developers then go on to seek assurance that these amendments and the Habitat Management Report will secure approval of the conditions 10 and 11. The Habitat management Report is good in my inexpert opinion, although one must add the usual caveat that it does have to be implemented.

However as the updated impact assessment on protected species is missing the application is still fundamentally flawed. Furthermore, the revised layout plan does not show any buffer zone to protect the wildlife zone. Without such a zone will the ecology of the corridor be safe? It is also in contravention of the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) Policy ENV7-Buffer Zones and Wildlife Corridors. This was the subject of several comments in the public submissions on the application. It has been ignored so far. Also the BNP Policy ENV3-Woodland, trees, hedgerows, etc., requires that :

all new development close to existing mature trees will be expected to have in place an arboriculural method statement to BS5837 standard….

(BNP page 24 )

At present I can find no such statement. Another ‘satelite‘ application may address these deficiencies we live in hope, I suppose.

Parish Council Notes 2019


Please note that the agenda for each Parish Council can be viewed on the official PC website here  The minutes of each meeting are also available on the same web page. Our service is ‘unofficial’ but much quicker!
From our Parish Council correspondent:

Please note that each month the latest update will appear at the top of this post:

N.B. The parish council does not hold a meeting during August.

Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 9 October 2019

Policing Issues

The Parish Council heard the latest statistics for static speed cameras in the locality.

Crime figures for the locality had also been released for period July to September 2019 and included the theft of two vehicles and a bicycle. An alert was also raised about several reports of people selling at doors with no ID and people were urged to report such instances to the police. Parish Councils were reminded of the requirement to have a safeguarding representative who receives continual training.


The creation of a painted bus/taxi bay outside the school is imminent and cutting the hedge by the bay outside the school is being pursued in order for a sign to be seen, for any parking infringement to be enforceable.

Planning Matters

19/4408N Meadow Bank, Bunbury Common Road, Bunbury, CW6 9QD

Alteration to existing single porch and entrance area and construction of new two storey porch and entrance – No objection by the Parish Council

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/3460N 12/08/19 South (CE) Delegated Agenda, Bunbury, approved with conditions 19/09/2019 Willowbank, Willow Drive, Bunbury, CW6 9NY Existing detached double garage. Convert half of the garage into an office. Condition is for ancillary use only.

19/3535N 31/07/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda, Bunbury negative certificate 18/09/2019 Homeland, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury CW6 9SX Proposed Certificate of lawfulness for proposed garden buildings – refused on the grounds that one building contained a bedroom.

19/1582D 28/03/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury

Approved 16/09/2019 Land Off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury

Discharge of conditions 10 & 11 on approved application 16/2010N – Outline application for proposed residential development for 15 dwellings with associated works.

19/3644N 01/08/2019 South (CE) Delegated Agenda Bunbury

Refused 24/09/2019 2, Wythin Street, Bunbury, CW6 9NS

Proposed hardstanding to provide private car parking for 2 Wythin Street – reason for refusal – domestic development in open countryside.

Pedestrian Issues within the village

Parish Council heard that the Headteacher of Bunbury Primary school is still working on the Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy application; which if successful could release some capital money to improve the infrastructure travel to school, which could include pavements. A proposal for a pavement on a current strip of land on School Lane is under consideration following the offer of the land by the owner. The Parish Council agreed to ask Cheshire East Highways to confirm ownership and the feasibility of constructing a pavement and at what cost.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

A number of stiles have been identified where a kissing gate would be preferable to enable disabled access. Permission from the land owner is required and Strutt and Parker have been written to as the agent for Peckforton Estate. A response is still awaited and the Parish Council would approach Strutt and Parker again.

Playing Fields Report

A request has been received from the Chair of the Bowling Club for consideration of funding to replace the tall standard lamps with LED fittings at a cost of £4,500 and repair to wood work on the canopy. There is also water leakage around a lamppost which appears to be caused by blocked guttering.

The Parish Council asked the Bowling Club to obtain additional quotes for the light work with any grants approved and make a formal application to the Parish Council for a contribution to the works. Queries were raised about the number of Bunbury residents who are members of the Bowling Club. A breakdown of electricity use-age by different parties using the playing fields was also requested, if this is available. It was agreed to engage someone to clear the gutters. Longer term a member of the Parish Council asked whether the replacement of the Pavilion should be considered and it was agreed to put it as an item on a future agenda.

Brantwood, School Lane

It was hoped that the Borough Councillor would speak about the condition of Brantwood and discuss possible solutions but was unable to attend the meeting. The latest issue is the reporting of rats going in and out of the premises. Environmental Health has been contacted to confirm their presence and the owners will be contacted to ensure treatment is undertaken.

Parish Councillor’s report

A Parish Councillor had been contacted about the removal of established hedging and replacement with fencing at the new build houses on Whitchurch Road in contravention of Reserved Matters planning approval. The Parish Council agreed to ask the Borough Councillor to take up the matter through member enquiry service at Cheshire East Council.


An e-mail has been received from The Store, Nantwich which is an organisation avoiding using plastic. They asked if they could park a vehicle on the Playing Fields car park for residents to bring their own containers to purchase goods. The matter was referred to the Playing Fields Committee for consideration.

Keep Britain Tidy

Posters have been received and will be laminated and posted at agreed sites, for example round Tillys Coffee shop.


Arrangements are in hand, including the ordering of a wreath.

Bonfire Night

The metal enclosure used for the fire would need bringing from storage to the playing fields. A request was made for pallets/clean timber for the fire. Entry fees were agreed.


Christmas tree has been ordered. A reminder would be sent to Crewe Brass band.

Financial Matters

The External Audit report has been received stating that all information in the report is in accordance with proper practice and nothing is outstanding.




Bunbury Parish Council Meeting – 11 September 2019

A member of the public spoke about the further reserved matters and discharge of conditions planning applications for Land Off, Oak Gardens, Bunbury citing that a number of issues still remained outstanding including addressing the buffer Zone between the houses and the woodland. A Disposal of Sewage Report also appeared absent from the latest application.

Representation was also heard from a member of the public with regard to the planning application for 6 and land rear of 6, Bunbury Lane stating that the previous application approved at appeal for 15 houses only provided for four 5 bedroomed houses, but that this latest detailed application was now proposing that nine out of the ten market sector houses be 5 bedroomed properties. It was felt that this was not what was required in the village as reflected in the most up-to-date housing needs survey of 2013.

No further information had been received to date about the objection to the planning application for 7 proposed houses in Wyche Lane .

Co-option of Members of the Parish Council

The Parish Council considered two further applications to co-opt new members to the Parish Council and duly adopted Graham Melia and Joan Gillon.

Policing Issues

The Parish Council heard that Nicky Berry was standing down as the local constable and until replaced Sharon Jones would stay as the local PCSO supported by Sergeant Ian Bennett. The police are also asking residents to be diligent in locking up bicycles as there have been a number of thefts in the village.


Speed survey points in the village are currently recording speeds and results will be published when the exercise is completed. The parking sign for the end of Hurst close is still awaited as is the painted bus/taxi bay outside the school. The Ward Councillor pointed out that cutting the hedge by the bay outside the school would be required in order for a sign to be seen for any parking infringement to be enforceable. This was being pursued.

Planning Matters


19/3767N 6 and land rear of 6, Bunbury Lane, Bunbury, CW6 9QZ

The housing mix has been substantially changed in this latest application. Whilst the mix of rent and types of ownership of the affordable housing was welcome the remaining housing mix was not as originally approved; now with nine 5 bed houses and one 4 bed house which is contrary to the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Needs survey. One member of the Parish Council pointed out that a precedent had been set in another Cheshire East Planning application that a replacement should be provided for the bungalow being knocked down to allow access to the site, thus allowing for a sixth affordable property. With regard to Footpath No 16 Public Rights of Way (PROW) have asked for a condition for a maintenance contract and the Parish Council supported this. An objection would be submitted against the number of 5 bedroomed properties, requesting an additional affordable property and supporting the condition for the footpath.

19/3992N and 19/3986D Land Off Oak Gardens, Bunbury

There does not appear to be a Disposal of Sewerage Report (a condition) and there are still issues pertaining to tress and the buffer zone/ecological site. In addition, a written objection had been received from a resident stating that the houses were too close to their property on Bunbury Lane and would cause loss of light. An objection had also been placed from Strategic Housing Section stating that there is no clear evidence which of the dwellings are to be affordable and under what tenure. An objection would be submitted with details.

19/3460N Willowbank , Willow Drive, Bunbury – Existing detached double garage. Convert half of the garage into an office. No objection.

19/3644N 2, Wythin Street, Bunbury – proposed hardstanding to provide private car parking for 2 Wythin Street

The Parish Council had received 3 objections to the application for hardstanding for two cars to allow access to their property. The objections covered provision of a small car park adjacent to a listed building, the existence of newts and the potential opening up of a site for further development. The Parish Council noted the objections and asked Cheshire East Council to take them into consideration , including adjudicating on whether the application has an impact on the street scene adjacent to a listed building.

Decisions made by Cheshire East

19/2557N Firbank House, Whitchurch Road, Bunbury – approved with conditions 21/08/2019.

Cheshire East Local Plan – Site Allocations and Development Policy

The Site Allocations and Development Policies Document will set non-strategic and detailed planning policies to guide planning decisions and allocate additional sites to meet the overall development requirements set out in the Local Plan Strategy. It has been prepared to support the policies and proposals of the Local Plan Strategy by providing additional policy detail and is out to consultation with all representations to be received by 30 September, with a timescale for adoption of Autumn 2020. For Bunbury it recommends spatial distribution for development in the order of 105 houses and the Parish Council heard that Bunbury has already met this target with the current schemes planned or built in the village. The Parish Council agreed to write a response to the consultation supporting the input for Bunbury. Members of the public can also respond.

Tweddle Grove ( Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the community)

The Parish Council heard that the contractor responsible for maintenance of the playground has been asked to look after land off Wyche Lane until April 2020, including the cutting of grass. The planting of further trees on the site is being looked at through a Tree Trust.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

The Parish Council agreed to the extinguishment of Public Footpath No.20 as it cuts through a resident’s garden and is not used as there are alternative footpaths available. In addition, a number of stiles have been identified where a kissing gate would be preferable to enable disabled access. Permission from the land owner is required and Strutt and Parker have been written to as the agent for Peckforton Estate. A response is awaited.


A letter has been received from CB Homes, the developer of Hill Close, seeking support from the Parish Council to remove the requirement of a pond in the landscaped area. The Parish Council had received no objections from the public and agreed not to comment.

Keep Britain Tidy

Posters have been received and will be laminated and posted at agreed sites.

Financial Matters

The internal auditor’s report has been concluded, with finances agreed and proper accounting systems used. The Parish Council thanked the Clerk for her assistance in bringing this to a conclusion . The papers for the external audit have now been submitted.

Bunbury Parish Council – 10 July 2019

The Parish Council thanked Peter Gorman who was present at the meeting and the Village Day Committee for the excellent organisation for the successful 50 th anniversary Bunbury Village Day. Peter agreed to pass on the Parish Council thanks to Committee members. He also expressed thanks to the PC for their support of Village Day  over the years , and in particular the sponsorship of the creative workshop at the school lead by Russell Kirk.

Peter Gorman made representations to the Parish Council with regard to the latest Discharge of Conditions to the Land at Oak Gardens . Many of the conditions such as the 15m Buffer Zone and arboriculture requirements have still not been addressed. He agreed to e-mail his comments to the Clerk of the Parish Council.

Co-options of Members of the Parish Council

Three applications for co-option to the Parish Council had been received but none of the co-optees were able to attend the July meeting.

Local Policing Issues

  • A member of the Parish Council had attended a Police Crime Commissioner meeting where road safety and an increase in the number of PCSOs across the borough were the main topics of discussion.
  • The Parish Council had received reports about gas canisters being found in Saddlers Wood which had been passed onto local police who would give the area some attention. The Bunbury local paper would also include an article on Nitrous Oxide abuse.
  • A burglary had occurred on Tweddle Close and police presence would be increased.
  • Speeding incidents along Bunbury Lane had been witnessed and reported to the Parish Council. The Council agreed to use their speed camera to assess the scale of the problem.

Highways Issues

A new parking sign is to be erected at the end of Hurst Close and a ‘Box’ is to be painted outside the school to replace the current coned area for school bus drop off and pick up.

Planning Matters

Application 19/2914N 4 Queen Street, Variation of condition 2 (approved plans) to planning application 16/5185N – proposed rear extension and internal modifications – No objection ( same application as previous but smaller).

Application 19/2568N Land off Hill Close, Bunbury Application from Muir Housing – Variation of Condition relating to s.106 Agreement on Approval 15/5783N for residential development for 15 dwellings.

Variation of the s. 106 agreement to enable the properties to be charged at the higher valuation of MV-STT (‘Market Value, subject to tenancies’) as opposed to EUV-SH (Existing Use Value for Social Housing). The Parish Council heard that this issue had become a national problem whereby mortgage lenders had ceased lending in certain circumstances where 106 conditions were present. The variation would still see the same number of houses built but would enable applicants to secure finance to build affordable houses. Cheshire East Council Planning and Legal services supported the variation and the Parish Council raised no objections.

Application 18/6356D Land at Oak Gardens Discharge of Conditions 6, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 14 on approved application 16/2010N – In addition to the objections that Peter Gorman would provide in writing to the Parish Council an objection would be made that no environmental assessment of the river Gowy and the wildlife that runs through the site had been received as required by the Neighbourhood Plan.

In terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council, the Chairman reported that the 6 week consultation which would include the total number of homes requested for Bunbury had been delayed.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Parish Council heard that tender requests for the maintenance of both Tweddle Grove (public green space designated as a woodland) and the car park were outstanding.

Pedestrian Issues within the village

Development of a footpath along a part of School Lane outside the Cottage would be considered for funding from the New Homes Bonus with the permission of the owner of the Cottage . The Ward Councillor had sent source of funds information to the school for consideration as part of developing a school car park.

The Ward Councillor confirmed that she is the Chair of the Cheshire East Footpaths and Rights of Way Committee. The Parish Council confirmed that it pays an annual subscription of £8 to the Mid-Cheshire Footpath Association.

Playing Field Report

The litter bins in the play area have rotted in a short time span and the Parish Council agreed to investigate if they could be replaced under warranty.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin , Ward Councillor reported that the hedges around Brantwood property in the centre of the village had now been cut. Concerns were raised again about the general state of repair of the building and the container located in the garden. A resident had queried the delays in street cleaning/weed spraying in the village. Some delay had occurred due to bad weather and flooding earlier in the year but would be carried out . Gullying cleaning on School Lane would take place in the school holidays due to issues of cars parked during term time.

Parish Councillor Reports

A Councillor reported that the support straps on trees on the playing field were now cutting into the bark and that some weeding was required. The Chairman agreed to arrange a site meeting with the Contractor.


Bunbury Parish Council – 12 June 2019

Planning Matters

Applica tion 19/2557N Firbank House, Whitchurch Road – Proposed outbuilding to provide leisure facilities to private dwelling – No objection

Cheshire East Site Allocations: 

I n terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council, the Chairman reported that a 6 week consultation would appear on the Council website on 19 June which would include the total number of homes requested for Bunbury. Also included will be information on areas excluded from the settlement boundary such as the playing fields and the paddock alongside the Hill Close development.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Parish Council heard that the maintenance of both Tweddle Grove (public green space designated as a woodland) and the car park were out to tender.

Playing Field Report

General maintenance issues for the Pavilion were discussed, including the repair underway of the ceiling and essential work to the veranda to the bowling green. Further work will be investigated to the surface of the playing field itself.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin , Ward Councillor was unable to attend the meeting but reported through the Chairman that she had spoken to the owner of Brantwood property in the centre of the village and he had agreed to cut the hedges. Concerns were raised about the general state of repair of the building and the container located in the garden.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Chairman reported that he had received a number of complaints about the uncut hedge where Willow Drive meets School Lane making the footpath difficult to walk along. After raising the issue the hedge is now due to be cut.

A Councillor asked for clarification of the policy for the allocation of low cost homes in the village . Residents have to apply and register with the Housing Association – Home Choice, who will then go through the process. The Parish Council is following one such application to check that the process is working properly. Assurance was given that local connection is one of the criteria used in the allocation process.

Bunbury Parish Council – 8 May 2019

A resident raised the issue of an updated species report not being made available to the public or Parish Council in connection with the planning application on the land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury. The Parish Council reported that this had been raised with Cheshire East Council with a response that certain protected species reports are kept out of the public domain in order to avoid the location of specific species being identified.

Highway Issues

The Chairman reported that he had met with the Headteacher of the Primary school on 23 April. The School are looking to fund a bus/taxi bay marked area to replace the cones currently in use on the road side. The Parish Council have been asked to help with any suggestions on how to raise £20,000 to develop a school staff car park in order to remove vehicles currently parking on the road. Sarah Pochin , newly elected Ward Councillor offered to make enquiries with a school in her previous ward who had secured grant funding for a car park and report back.

A Cheshire East Traffic and speeding survey will be carried out in certain locations within the village in June e.g. Bunbury Lane, School Lane and Vicarage Lane. In addition a Department for Transport traffic census will be carried out on School Lane on 12 June.

Planning Matters

There were no new planning applications to report this month.

A Parish Councillor reported that Cheshire East Council Officers and the Developers of the Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury had met on-site and had discussed protecting the area around the veteran Ash tree. Officers had stated that they were not prepared to compromise on the area around the tree and the two parties had agreed to work together to resolve the issue. Generally further work is required to satisfy conditions of development.

In terms of the site allocation work currently being undertaken by Cheshire East Council a total of 110 homes is the request for Bunbury with a current 108 homes built or with planning permission granted.

Tweddle Grove – Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

A number of enquiries had been received from residents on the use of and clearing of the land off Wyche Lane now named Tweddle Grove. The Parish Council confirmed that this is a public green space designated as a woodland (not a recreational area). A regular maintenance contract would be pursued for the future.

Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

It was reported that the Townfield footpath had been ploughed up and covered in manure. Strutt and Parker, agents for the land owner have been made aware and local residents have walked the footpath to flatten it. Ward Councillor agreed to pass the issue to Cheshire East Council Footpath Enforcement Team.

Requests for a number of stiles to be changed to Kissing Gates to allow less able people to walk the footpaths have been made, with one land owner refusing permission. Ward Councillor and Parish Councillor responsible for footpaths would liaise on the matter.

Playing Field Report

General maintenance issues for the Pavilion were discussed. A fire safety audit on the Pavilion has been undertaken with a number of minor recommendations made e.g. checking of fire exits and batteries in smoke alarms every three months.

Borough Councillor Report

Sarah Pochin as newly elected Ward Councillor introduced herself and asked the Parish Council to consider what their priorities would be for her as ward councillor going forward. She herself raised concerns about isolation and public transport. The Parish Council referred to the New Homes Bonus Fund scheme which they had been unsuccessful at gaining any funding for a disabled toilet in the Pavilion. The scheme will be opening again and the Ward Councillor agreed to support the Parish Council in re-submitting the scheme.

Parish Councillor Reports

The Chairman reported that he had been approached by a Production Company wanting to film around the Church and Dysart Arms in September for 4/5 days. The Chairman and another Parish Councillor had met the producers to discuss issues which had arisen during the filming of Home Fires such as communications about disruption. The Production Company are keen to ensure any disruption to village life is kept to a minimum.

8 th May 2020 will see the 75 th anniversary of VE day and pubs in Bunbury will be encouraged to raise a glass at 3pm as part of a national celebration with bells rung at the church at 6pm .


A complaint had been received about too many building contractors parking on the car park. The Parish Council heard that permission had been temporarily granted to Duchy Homes to keep congestion off Wyche Lane as road safety had to be a priority.


Parish Council Notes for April are unfortunately unavailable. We will post a copy of the official minutes as soon as they are available. We apologias for this tempory loss of service.

Parish Council Notes 13 th March 2019

1 . Open Forum:

Standing orders were suspended to allow an extend public forum to discuss the application for new houses in Wyche lane (application ref: 19/0803N ). A number of people spoke against the application. The main points.

1 . Traffic issues. Wyche lane is much narrower in places than indicated in the evidence supplied by the developer. In the transport report presented the road width are given as:

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.

( Transport report Optima Highways and Transportation Consultancy Ltd )

However this is only partly true as in places the road narrows to 3.2m in width. This is below the current permitted width for roads to new sites. The report only identifies the widest parts of the road and ignores the hazards posed by the very narrow section. These narrows’ represent one vehicle at a time sections and could well represent a serious problem for heavy site vehicles.

Pedestrians attempting to walk along the lane are also placed at increased risk. It shoud be borne in mind that the lane together with the footpaths adjacent ot the site represent are a popular walking route round the village. It is used daily by many people who do not live along the lane. The lane is well recognised as requiriing care to navigate due to its restricted widths.

It was also noted that while the speed limit is 30mph along Wyche Lane within 30m of the site the entry of Birds lane has a national speed limit of 60mph .

2 . The splays and indicative design: From the indicative display it is not clear how the splay lines indicated wo uld be achieved given this inclusion of drives tot he houses fronting the site. It is clear that these would have to be extended in to the adjacent property if they are to meet current regulatory standards.

3 . Destruction of open countryside: The application would result in the loss of further agricultural land. Hedges will be remove along the frontage and it is not clear that the hedge along the south border will be protect once include in the gardens of the new dwellings.

The PC meeting then began with the usual

1 . Apologies for absence

2 . Members Declaration of Interests and requests for dispensation

3 . To sign as a correct record, the minutes of the Parish Council Ordinary Meeting held on 13 February 2019.

4 . Local Policing Issues – To receive an update from local police if available. Not available.

Agenda item 5: Highways issues

Fi rstly the sta t us of the Highways sub-committee was discussed. The sub-committee only makes recommendations to the full PC. The Parish Council is the only decision making body. It was agreed that in future the Highways Sub-committee would be described as a ‘working group .

The chair indicated that they had met with a Cheshire East (CE) official from the Highways Department to clarify a number of issues that are of current concerns to residents (see Feb Notes). Given the length of the Public forum the Chair proposed leaving his report on the meeting until the next meeting in April.

Agenda item 6: Consultations


Ag enda Item 7: Planing

1 . 19/0371N Revised Description – Erection of x8 dwellings and revised access following approval ref 16/5637N Land at VICARAGE LANE, BUNBURY f or comment by 6 march (planning has given the PC an extension for comments)

Minor change in wording that did not require further comment by the PC.

2 . 19/0803N Outline application seeking the erection of up to seven residential dwellings (Use Class C3 ) on Land at Wyche Lane. All matters reserved for future determination Land adjacent Wyche House , WYCHE LANE, BUNBURY , CW6 9PS

This item took up much of the PC time and followed on from the Public Forum comments.

Councillor Mark Ireland-Jones presented an analysis of the application to the PC. The analysis pointed out a series of flaws in the two key documents submitted by the developers. Firstly , the Optima Transport Report was inaccurate in its account of the sustainability of the transport links from Bunbury. It failed to make clear that the village only has ONE bus service a day leaving 10:27 and returning at 14:22. NOT a commuter service .

The report also claims the road width is 4.8 -4.9m when in fact the width narrows to 3.2m in places.

Comments on the Planning Desig and Access Statement – Savills:

the PC were at pains both in the public forum session and during councillor Irland-Jones’s analysi to point out the mis-representation of the PC’s given in the document. The quote from an email sent by the PC Chair to Savills expresses their rejection of the iterpretation present in the report n the consultation held between members of the PC and Savills:

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.

It is not possible to do full justice to the critical comments made during the meeting. They will form the basis of the the PC’s comments on the proposd development which can be read on the CE planning website. Full details of the analysis given during the meeting can be found HERE.

Further Agenda items under Planning with brief comments:

7.2 Decisions made by Cheshire East – None

7.3 New Housing Developments in Bunbury – Duchy confirms their expected completion date still to be in April. Concern expressed about traffic still using School lane . Developer not able to control behaviour of all contractor accessing the site. Collect time dte and names of firms breaking rules and sent to PC.

7.3.1 General update from Cllr Pulford – None in addition to those listed above.

7.3.2 Cheshire East Local Plan – Site Allocations and Development Policy N ext meeting in Spring with draught figures.

Agenda item 8: Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the community – meeting with Duchy development team who have agreed to plant trees in the area. A landscape consultant has selected trees and suggested a suitable layout to the sight . Some soil testing will be necessary to ensure the choice of trees is appropriate. If necessary additional top soil will be brought to the sight .

The PC made the decision to ban dogs from the sight. If dogs were allowed provision for waste would be necessary and if not used appropriately contaminate the site. It was also pointed out that the adjacent field was used as a horse paddock and the presence of dogs may be disruptive.

Agenda item 9: Pedestrian issues within the village

9.1 Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy No progress to report.

9 . 2 Footpaths/Public Rights of Way

Appeal on Footpaths 14/15 Curre ntly in final stage of appeal with HM Inspector.

Agenda item 10: Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

C lerk to the PC notified the public and Councillors that they must put in application to stand in the forthcoming elections by 4pm the 3 rd April . All councillors must apply if they wish to stand.

No elections for the PC will take place if the number of applications is less or equal to the number of places (10).

Agenda item 1 2: Playing Fields – Report from Playing Fields Committee

Held over until next month.

13 Borough Councillor’s report

During the public Forum the Ward Councillor had agreed to ask the CE Planning Committee (south) chair to ‘call-in’ the application 19/0803N for consideration by that committee. He pointed out that this was not certain as the committee had over 6000 applications to consider annually and some had therefore to be delegated to Planning officer.

No other matters were mentioned.

Agenda Item 14: PC’s reports

Due to pressure of time no matters were reported.

Agenda Item 15: Correspondence

Not reported

Ag enda item 16: Finance matters

16.1 Village Day – Request for funds . The Bunbury Village Da committee had requested funds for :

1 . A workshop to be held at the school (£300)

2 . The design and construction of large puppet as a feature in the parade (£500)

Both items were art of the celebration of the 50 th Anniversary of the Village Day.

It was pointed out that the Village Day usually makes a number of donations to village organisations each year. This was a first time application for a special occasion beyond the current finance s of the BVD committee.

The PC agreed to finance the school one day workshop.

Part Two of the PC meeting was to discuss confidential matters that cannot therefore be reported.

Bunbury Parish Council – 13 February 2019

Two residents presented an update on the ALIVE project aimed at addressing loneliness and isolation in the village. A request was made for funding from the Parish Council to support the setting up of a community library. Other activities of the Project include an afternoon social on a Tuesday at the Medical Centre and lunch at the Nags Head.

A resident asked the Parish Council to object to planning application 18/6338N Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, Reserved Matters. Objections included failure to meet a number of conditions laid down by the Inspector following an appeal, failure to meet a number of policies contained within the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan and failure to meet the Nature Conservation Officers requirement of a nature/wildlife buffer zone.

A number of residents/parents of children at the primary school and the Headteacher of the school attended the meeting to raise concerns over road safety and the provision of pavements throughout the village. The Headteacher had provided a letter to the Parish Council that had been sent to parents outlining road safety issues and actions that are being taken to mitigate these. The Vice Chairman of the Parish Council is working with the Headteacher on an application under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy which includes possible funding if the school has a travel plan.

Parents raised issues such as 20 mph speed restriction on school lane, increase in signage of speed restrictions, zebra crossing outside school, speeding within the village and how speed limits can be enforced and extension to pavements around the village.

The Chairman explained that the Highways Sub-Committee of the Parish Council had met on 24 January and discussed the following issues:

1 . Pavements – recognise the requirement for pavements and would request the input from a Cheshire East Traffic Engineer to see what is possible/practicable

2 . Shared space concept was discussed – how to manage traffic and pedestrians sharing the same space.

3 . Parking signs – agreed to provide signage to extended car park by playing fields.

4 . Parking restrictions – had previously discussed the provision of double yellow lines outside the school but the issue of displacement of cars remained. Car parking for school staff would help to alleviate the problem and one was agreed as part of the planning approval for development at the front of the cricket ground but this development has yet to progress. Developing a car park on the school site is also being explored. Parking restrictions around the village triangle had previously been dismissed by Cheshire East Council but would be re-visited with the Highways Engineer.

5 . Speeding – the Parish Council does have a speed gun and will be using this in the coming weeks. Other traffic calming suggestions will be explored with the Highways Engineer.

6 . Accident statistics – there were no records of personal injuries following road traffic accidents within the village.

The Chairman assured residents that the Parish Council would do everything that it could to promote and improve road safety but would need professional advice from a Highways Engineer in order to proceed .

Planning Matters

Planning application 19/0371N Land at Vicarage Lane, revision to access road and plots 5, 6 and 7 as consented in application 16/5637N – the Parish Council heard that the number of houses has increased by 1 from 7 to 8 and the access has been diverted from in front of the Medical Practice to diagonally across the field. In addition, the Rural Housing Trust has agreed to take over the site and 4 of the properties would be offered as shared equity; the first in the village. Councillor Green reported that he had called the application in, to ensure it was discussed at Planning Committee to allow representations of support to be made. No objection to the application was made by the Parish Council.

Planning application 18/6338N Land at Oak Gardens, Bunbury, Reserved Matters – the Parish Council agreed to object to the application on the grounds raised earlier in the meeting by a local resident and those raised by the Public Rights of Way Officer detailed on the Cheshire East Planning website.

Land off Wyche Lane owned by the PC on behalf of the Community

The Chairman reported that he was in touch with Duchy Homes following the appointment of a new Managing Director to ensure that the trees promised for the community woodland would be planted before the end of March.

Parish Council Election 2 May 2019

Elections across the borough for both Borough Council and Town and Parish Councils will take place on 2 May. The Parish Council currently has 10 places and 10 councillors and is open to anyone to apply through the Parish Clerk.

Playing Field Report

The Salvation Army request to site a clothes bank on the playing fields car park has been approved on a trial basis.

Parish Councillor Reports

A resident had reported that most of the gullies appear to be blocked. Site traffic on Wyche Lane had caused increased traffic and a worsening of the road surface; the road would need to be re-instated once the development was complete and the Building Control Officer would be contacted. Some grit bins were empty during the recent ice/snow weather conditions .

Finance Matters

Alive Project Awarded £250 towards the Library Project

Village Day request for funds – agreed to ask for additional information of requirements

Sandstone Ridge Festival – request for funds – refused.

Grounds Maintenance contract renewal – Agreed to continue the contract with Mid-Cheshire Grounds Maintenance to provide ground upkeep of the Playground. Representatives of the Parish Council agreed to visit the Playground to look at the general appearance.

Bunbury Parish Council – 9 January 2019

The President of Bunbury WI attended the meeting to seek confirmation of location on the Playing Fields of a tree to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. The Parish Council confirmed that a site had been earmarked and a tree of reasonable size would need planting before the spring.

A representative of a new committee working under the umbrella of St Boniface church to alleviate isolation at home invited the Parish Council to attend an information event on 23 March 2019. A request for a grant to help launch the initiative was also made. Specific amounts for the project were asked to be sent to the Clerk and the item placed on the agenda of the next meeting.

Potential road safety issues in the village, parking restrictions and pavement extensions were raised for a second time by a resident. The Vice Chairman explained that he had had 2 meetings with the Headteacher of the school regarding drawing up a travel plan under Cheshire East’s Sustainable Modes of Travel to Schools Strategy. If approved possible funding for pavement improvement could be available. He agreed to contact the Headteacher again to check on progress and offer support. Any forthcoming proposals for footpath extensions would be subject to approval by Cheshire East Highways Department. A Highways Sub-committee of the Parish Council is to be convened to discuss the issues further; to also include speeding information gathered during the 2016 speed monitoring exercise conducted in the village.

It was reported that Cheshire East Council is currently consulting on Police funding and Adult Social Care.

Planning application 18/6026N infill at Ivy House, Whitchurch Road and18/6123N The Briars School Lane ( 18/5193N previously refused) received no objections. It was reported that the expected completion date for Duchy Homes on Wyche Lane is April 2019 and water infiltration testing on the Oak Gardens site had taken place . The Parish Council had received a letter of thanks from a resident for supporting the retention of a wildlife buffer zone alongside the hedgerows alongside the footpaths on the proposed Oak Gardens development site .

Christmas Eve carols round the tree event had been very well attended with £342 raised for Tarporley Hospital. The Borough Councillor thanked the Parish Council for their hard work in putting up the tree and organising the carol event. It was agreed to buy another sound speaker for next year’s event.

The Playing Fields Committee had organised more bark to be laid in the play area following a report of worn areas. Monthly inspections are in place.

The Borough Councillor reported that Cheshire East is supporting Domestic Abuse survivors in such areas as trauma training and refuge housing. The Local Plan is starting to make its presence felt with 6 out of the 8 last planning appeals being dismissed by the Inspectorate.

Budget setting including the amount of precept required by the Parish Council was discussed. The Parish Council reserves are low and in order to be able to respond to projects that require a budget the precept would have to be raised. A £4,000 rise in the precept to £25,000 was agreed.


The Phasing of Housing in Bunbury

In a discussion on a recent application (19/0803N) to build 7 more houses on a greenfield site in Wyche Lane, the issue of phasing arose. It was not then seen as a major issue but I think it deserves greater prominence.

Our Neighbourhood Plan was ‘made’; ,as the silly phrase goes, in March 2016. It will run until the current Cheshire East Local Plan expires in 2030. It is in effect part of that Local Plan. To get ‘made’ it had to go through a length process of development, consultation, and scrutiny, by both Cheshire East itself and a HM Planning Inspector. So our neighbourhood plan is a real document that must be taken into consideration. Or it should be, as long as Cheshire East has a workable Local Plan that includes what the national government considers an appropriate housing target and the available land on which to build those houses. But ever since our Plan was made back in 2016 that is exactly what the council has not had. It does have that Plan in place now. But during the time it did not (2010-2018) all polices related to housing supply were deemed ‘out-of-date’ and could be ignored. It was up to the Planning Offices, Planning Committees, and on appeals the HM Inspectors how much weight they gave to these ‘out-of-date’ policies.

One of the policies contained in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP

Policy H6 – Phasing of Housing

Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan relates to 2010 to 2030 and we are required to accommodate 80 new houses over that period. Between April 2010 and March 2015, 19 new houses have been completed in Bunbury and these have been discounted from the 80 new homes required by the Local Plan. To ensure an appropriate phased delivery of housing over the Neighbourhood Plan period, 2015 to 2030, the 61 remaining new homes proposed should be delivered against the following indicative schedule, unless any demonstrable increase in local housing need is identified by the local planning authority.

Phase 1: 2015 – 2020 – 21 homes

Phase 2: 2020 – 2025 – 20 homes

Phase 3: 2025 – 2030 – 20 homes

The reality is quite different. While Cheshire East failed to deliver an appropriate Local Plan the developers were given priority and there was no question of phasing housing.

In the new era where the BNP matters the current situation and plans for housing supply for the future are discussed in the latest ‘Bunbury Settlement Report’ (draft):

In Paragraph 3.7 of the Bunbury Settlement Report (“BSR”) [FD25] it is stated:

3.7 There were 21 housing completions (net) in Bunbury between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2017, and 0 ha employment land take up. Commitments as at 31 March 2017 were 39 dwellings and 0 ha of employment land

In Paragraph 3.11 it is stated:

Bunbury has 50 dwellings left to find before the end of the Plan period. However, as detailed in Table Bunbury 2 (below) it is recognised that a number of other applications have been granted planning permission after the base date (31/03/17).

The table (2) referred to is now out of date through additions and amendments

Ref No

Site name


No. of Dwellings

Valid Date

Approval Date


6 & Land rear of no.6 Bunbury Lane




06.07.17 (appeal)


Land off Oaks Gardens, Bunbury




31.05.17 (appeal)


Land adjacent to Bunbury Medical Practice, Vicarage Lane

(CFS 507)






Land at Bowe’s Gate Road, Bunbury

(CFS 519)






Mayfield House, MOSS LANE, BUNBURY, CW6 9SY


















The Outspan, Sadlers Wells, Bunbury, CW6 9NU


1 (5th dwelling added to consent for 4)







The Planning applications granted and inclusive of amendments has now reach 54. If granted the application the subject of this objection would mean that Bunbury village has exceed the number of dwellings allocated to it in the Cheshire East Plan by 13 dwellings. This is before the completion of Phase 1 in the Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan.

That policy can ONLY be implemented by Cheshire East Council who endorsed this policy and has included it as part of the current Local Plan. I therefore respectfully ask you to implement this policy according to your requirement to uphold policies you have legally endorsed.

New National Planning Policy Framework – first thoughts.

On the last day of the Parliamentary year – always a ‘good’ day for bad news – the government published the new National Planning Policy Framework. This is the set of rules that defines where houses are built, what type and how affordable. It sets the agenda for planners, Local Councils and developers. And most of the rule book is bad news for the countryside:

  • All developments are effectively sustainable – that criterion has gone. Only if they cause ‘unnecessary harm’ are they unsustainable and they cannot cause harm if they are meeting the needs for development.
  • Land has now become space awaiting development. It is not a precious landscape, an essential part of the social and environmental well-being of our lives, no, it is just a gap waiting for buildings.
  • A philosophy that means that we will get a planning regime that will result in outcomes that look very similar to those would get if there were NO planning system. One based on theoretical calculations of ‘demand’ based on market prices resulting in houses of the type wanted by developers being built in places where landowners want to sell.
  • Communities are disempowered from getting homes they need and that people can afford. The Government uses the ‘housing delivery test’ to set high targets for local councils to meet. If they fail to do so then local controls over planning will be removed. Almost all local plans will become out of date within two years. We have seen what that can mean for Bunbury where the lack of a local plan meant the neighbourhood plan was deemed out of date. Hill Close, Bunbury Lane (behind the retirement homes) and the field off Oak Gardens all were granted on the basis that Local plans were ‘out of date’ and therefore development must be permitted.

One important improvement is the reduction in harm of the ‘viability loophole’. This was a legal loophole that many developers saw fit to exploit. If they paid a high price for land they could claim exemption from the rules related to affordable housing by showing that profits would be uncompetitive. In many areas this resulted in affordable housing being squeeze out and a significant reduction in the numbers built. All part of the ongoing housing crisis!

Now the NPPF is saying that developers can no-longer use the high price of land as an excuse for not building affordable housing. Instead they must show what has changed since local plans were put in place that threatens the viability of any scheme. The onus of proof is on the developer not the local authority.

The CPRE sums this up as:

Without a local plan, councils and communities have little control over the location and type of developments that take place. This results in the wrong developments in the wrong places local communities’ needs are ignored and valued countryside destroyed for no good reason.’

All quiet on the planning front?

View of removed hedge from Hill Close site.

It has been a little quiet on the planning front for a bit now. According to the Parish  Council (PC) Chair Ron Pulford,  it’s been a year since the village ‘welcomed’ an application to build another 15, or so homes.  Since 2010 the village has seen the addition of 100 new homes. The developments include Tweddle Close, Oak Gardens, the Outspan and The Grange  as either built or building. To come are Bowes Gate, Hill Close, the sites off Oak Gardens and Bunbury Lane, behind the retirement homes, and next to the medical Centre. All of these sites are within the maximum size of 15 dwellings specified in the Neighbourhood Plan (NP). That last point is something of a victory for the NP.  In the same period plans to build 52 houses behind Bunbury Lane (west side) and 36 house on the Hill Close site have been rejected after going to appeal.


The original target for Bunbury was to provide room for at least 80 dwellings. This was allocated in the previous Cheshire East (CE) Local Plan and came as a result of the village being designated a Local Service Centre. That allocation is now under review as the authority  has a new Local Plan.  Cheshire East has to deliver  around 39,000 homes by 2030. It has the sites, and some, to do that. But what we would like to know is what its plans are for Bunbury.


In a few weeks time we will see the new allocations part of the consultation process. By late summer that will be finalised and agreed. Early, and I stress informal comments, suggest that Bunbury is seen as having ‘done its bit’ and no further allocations will be made in this planning cycle (2010-2030). If that becomes reality then it is great news for the village. Of course small one-off developments (called ‘windfalls’ in planning jargon) will continue. However larger scale developments, should be a thing of the past at least until after 2030. It may be that some developers will try their luck but the balance of probability they will succeed is firmly against them if CE does as we hope and not allocate further development to Bunbury.

Review of 2017

We have had a busy year again. The first change to mention is that we are now the Bunbury Action Group. Why the change? Often particular groups emerge to fight a given development but disappear as soon as the application is decided. It is to be hoped that with one organisation we can maintain the watching brief on a wide range of concerns about the village. Secondly what we learn from each struggle with developers, enhancement of the environment, etc. will build our ability to be more effective. As we accumulate resources people will be able to find useful material more quickly and therefore be more effective in their struggle against inappropriate developments. Thirdly, one organisation keeps the village united. We must avoid parts of the village feeling that their loss is somehow others’ gain, or vice-a-versa ..’if they build over there then they might not build next to us…’ That breeds fragmentation. And while those directly affected will be most likely to lead the examination of the application, we must all feel included in the debate to protect and promote our village.

The new Friends of Bunbury website also seeks to encourage both easy access to the debates about housing developments but also the wider life of the village. Many of our struggles with developments have attempted to point to the damage to the environment, the loss of amenity and the threat to our wildlife. I hope this new website will give greater prominence to these aspects of our concern with our lives in the village.

1. What has  happened to housing developments in 2017

This year the number of applications for 2 or more properties increased to a peak. Please note these are my personal calculation and may not be error free. They also do not include single dwelling construction or applications.

Decisions granted:

                                                       Total Dwellings                     Affordable/Intermediate

Land off Oak Gardens                                 15                                                 4

Land off Bunbury Lane (Wulvern)               15                                                  5

Land next to Medical Centre                        7                                                   ?

Land off Bowes Gate Road                           11                                                8

Land around Bunbury Heath (4 sites)            8                                                0

Sub-total                                                     56

Planning Condition applications granted (Reserved matters and other conditions)

Hill Close                                                      15                                               5

Sites building:

The Grange (building)                                  14                                               4

The Outspan                                                  5                                               0

School Lane (Inc. Car Park)                            2                                               0

Totals                                                          92            of which                     26 are affordable in some way

Analysis by Type of Dwelling:

                                                                     1 Bed                  2/3 Beds          4/5 Beds

                                                                         2                   33                    53 (plus 4 undecided or unclear)

The 2013 housing survey of Bunbury identified 1 bed dwellings as being in strong demand. Developers want to build the ‘executive’ home but unlike elsewhere we are getting the 30% of affordable and intermediate (shared equity) housing.

2. What we learnt from Appeals:

During the year three applications went to appeal and we had the result of two during the year. The first up was the appeal on the land off Oak Gardens. This came through in mid June with the decision to allow the appeal. What did we learn?

  1. 1. Very little will protect a site if the local Plan cannot ‘demonstrate’ an adequate supply of land for development. Without the local plan all policies related to housing are deemed to use that strange phrase ‘out-of-date’.The Bunbury Neighbourhood Plan (BNP) was therefore, at the time, ‘out-of-date’. Six weeks later Cheshire East had a Local Plan and was able to demonstrate the required supply of land.
  1. 2. The ‘Co-location Policy’ contained in the BNP was open to different interpretation. The ‘local’ thought it applied retrospectively to the previous Local Plan (2010-2030) period. The inspector said the definitions were ‘contradictory’ and could only refer to houses built after it was ‘made’ i.e. became a legal policy in March 2016. The BNP development group had foreseen the problem if the policy were not retrospective. Adjacent sites given planning permission days apart in the spring of 2016 could deemed not to be co-located. Absurd.

Perhaps, as I have heard, some in the Government are troubled by the widespread adoption of the co-location policy. Designed to block the emergence of large estates it was being considered by many groups developing their own Neighbourhood Plans. This decision has damaged the policy and reduced its effectiveness. From now on the policy can only stop co- location of sites built with the period 2016-2030

Next the Wulvern appeal on the site east of Bunbury Lane behind the retirement bungalows. This application became controversial to many because of it linkage with the Hill Close battle. The granting of permission to the Hill Close site created a protracted struggle over access. Wulvern Housing Association (now part of Guinness Partnership) had an application on a site a field away. On the same day that Hill Close (CB Homes) got the go-ahead Wulvern was turned down. Most wanted it round the other way. Wulvern appealed.

1. The same point was used here as above. All housing policies are deemed ‘out-of-date’.

2. The co-location policy is also subject to a thorough ‘pounding’ by the inspector. The inspector agues that the development      of both these sites does not conflict with the policy as they are ‘visually separated’  (by the paddock) and it is: is:

inevitable that it seems to me, that some of the new housing would have to be located within the same geographical area of the village’.

She then suggests the field off Oak Gardens, that has just been given the go-ahead, illustrates her point very well! So the co-location policy is yet further reduced in scope. Anyone would think the inspectors have an agenda.

The final appeal was on the footpath diversions across the field off Oak Gardens. No word yet.

Let us hope 2018 will be a quiet year on the  planning front.