House Crowd Developments, part of Hale-based property crowdfunding platform, have won their appeal against the planning committee's refusal of their plans to build three or four apartments at 10 Congleton Road - much to the disappointment of our local councillor Craig Browne who described the decision as a "a sad day for our village."
In April 2016, House Crowd Developments was granted planning permission to construct two duplex apartments at the Congleton Road site, to replace a single detached dwelling. However, two subsequent planning applications to divide the building into three and four apartments were refused by the Northern Planning Committee in October 2016, contrary to the advice of the planning officer, on the grounds of over-development, over-utilisation of the site and having a harmful impact on the Conservation Area (CA).
The Planning Inspectorate Alexander Walker also concluded that Cheshire East Council should pay the company's full costs of the appeal, which is likely to run into thousands of pounds, as there was no evidence provided to justify the refusal of the original planning proposal.
Alexander Walker stated "The Council has been unable to demonstrate with realistic and specific evidence why the proposals would result in overdevelopment and intensification of the site which would harm the character or appearance of the CA.
"Without such information the Council has failed to produce evidence to substantiate their reasons for refusal, in the face of advice from its officers that the proposals were acceptable. As such, the Council has behaved unreasonable. The appellant should not have needed to deal with these reasons for refusal and has incurred unnecessary expense in doing so."
The development of four apartments with linked detached garages, new vehicular and a pedestrian access to Lydiat Lane will now go ahead.
Frazer Fearnhead, founder and CEO of The House Crowd, said: "We're glad that this issue has been resolved, and are looking forward to focusing our energies on delivering four beautiful new homes in Alderley Edge for which there seems to be a great demand."
Councillor Craig Browne, who sits on the Northern Planning Committee as Vice Chair, said "This is an extremely disappointing decision. It makes a complete mockery of the planning system when a single inspector (who clearly does not understand Alderley Edge), is able to overturn the unanimous decision of 12 democratically elected members of Cheshire East Council's Northern Planning Committee to refuse this application in the first place.
"The appeal inspector claimed to find little evidence that the proposal would represent an over intensification of use and suggested that it would have a neutral impact on the Conservation Area. Considering that a small detached bungalow is now to be replaced by a large development of four two-bedroom apartments, I find his statement incredible.
"Working with the support of local residents, the Edge Association, the Parish Council and my fellow Cheshire East Councillors, I did everything I could to try and prevent this development and protect the integrity of the Conservation Area. It is a sad day for our village."
No. 10 Congleton Road is now due for completion in the spring of 2018.