Plans to demolish the County Hotel and redevelop the site are scheduled to be determined by the Northern Planning Committee next week.
Harden Park Garden Limited has applied to demolish the existing three storey building and erect three residential blocks at the Harden Park site, which lies within within the North Cheshire Green Belt.
The scheme consists of 26 two bedroom apartments along with 64 car parking spaces.
Permission was granted in October 2013 for the demolition of the existing hotel building and redevelopment of the site to provide a residential block of 14 dwellings. Although work commenced on the scheme the developer decided not to complete the project.
The County Hotel has remained vacant since its closure in November 2009, and has subsequently fallen into a severe state of disrepair and has been subject to a number of incidences of vandalism and theft in recent years.
Alderley Edge Parish Council recommended refusal of the original proposal stating "This proposal constitutes significant overdevelopment within the greenbelt. The increased footprint and footage is significant. Ingress and egress from Harden Park will have considerable risk with added pressure from the former "Yesterdays" site, currently being developed, proposed developments on the Royal London site and ever increasing traffic on the A34/Alderley Road. A round about likely won't allow exit and so traffic lights could be the only option. The PC objects to the proposal being a gated complex. The positioning of the entrance directly opposite existing houses compromise their amenity and privacy."
Amended plans were received during the application period, six objections were received prior to the amendments with a further objection received following the re-consultation, which was a repeat of the earlier comment. Some of the issues received include: highway safety issues due to the number of cars proposed; inappropriate development in the Green Belt; over development of the site; underground parking will not be used instead Harden Park will be used; incorrect access position and there are more trees to be lost with this application than the previously approved development.
The planning officer considers the site to be a sustainable location, the development would make effective use of a previously developed site and would improve the appearance of the site which has been vacant for many years and fallen into disrepair.
Additionally, the officer feels that the proposed development does not have a materially greater impact upon the openness of the Green Belt than the existing development or raise any significant highway safety issues.
However, the proposal does not include any on-site affordable housing, for which the planning officer states there is a clear, proven need and commented that there is a lack of information as to the impact of the proposal on the bat roost potential of the trees.
The planning officer concluded that "Together these negatives of the scheme are considered to outweigh any benefits the scheme offers therefore the planning officer is recommending the application for refusal."
In order to meet the Council's Policy on Affordable Housing there is a requirement for 8 dwellings to be provided as affordable dwellings. However, the applicant has stated that they are proposing to use a commuted sum in lieu of on site Affordable Housing provision.
The current number on the Cheshire Homechoice waiting list with Alderley Edge as their first choice is 143.
The report states "This can be broken down to 70x 1 bedroom, 45x 2 bedroom, 23x 3 bedroom and 5x 4 bedroom dwellings, therefore a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom General Needs dwellings and 1 and 2 bedroom Older Persons dwellings on this site would be acceptable. 7 units should be provided as Affordable rent and 3 units as Intermediate tenure."
The planning officer said "The increased number of dwellings with this application over the previous approval also creates an increased need for affordable housing and there are no known sites in the area that would be able to provide the affordable housing provision so to receive a commuted sum would not seem appropriate in this case."
Adding "With this in mind the Council's Housing Officer objects to this application. There is a clear need for Onsite Affordable Housing provision in Alderley Edge."
The plans for the County Hotel site can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 17/4989M.
The Northern Planning Committee will consider this application at their meeting on Wednesday, 9th May, starting at 10am in Macclesfield Town Hall.