Controversial plans to build six houses off Heyes Lane approved

Controversial plans to build six dwellings on a vacant infill site situated off Heyes Lane, left to the RSPCA by a wild life enthusiast, were approved by the Northern Planning Committee on Wednesday, 13th July.

Deanbank Investments were granted planning permission to build two bungalows and four two-storey properties with accommodation in the roof space.

The committee voted to approve the application by six votes to four, with two abstentions, having deliberated over the plans for approximately an hour and forty minutes.

Nineteen planning conditions were added, in line with the officer's recommendation, including the removal of permitted development rights for extensions and outbuildings to the proposed new dwellings.

Councillor Craig Browne, spoke against the proposals, in his capacity as Ward Councillor, whilst Councillor Mike Dudley-Jones represented Alderley Edge Parish Council and Mr David Brickwood spoke on behalf of the Edge Association.

Councillor Browne said "Together, we highlighted four policy areas where the development proposals are non-compliant: Alderley Edge Neighbourhood Plan Policies AE2 (protecting the amenity of neighbouring residents) and AE4 (back land development where there would be an unacceptable impact on the character of the local area); and Macclesfield Borough Local Plan Policies DC38 (inadequate separation distances between the proposed new dwellings, frontage to frontage), as well as Policy DC3 (amenity of adjoining or nearby residential properties, due to access or car parking)."

He added "With over 180 representations listed on the planning portal, it is disappointing that a majority of members of the Northern Planning Committee chose to ignore the concerns of local residents in respect of this application and to grant approval in favour of the developer.

"Several previous iterations of this application have been refused, either under delegated authority (by officers), or most recently by an Appeal Inspector almost 12 months ago. I firmly believe that, had the committee members chosen to refuse the current version, this could also have been successfully defended at appeal; however, six of the twelve members of the planning committee clearly felt differently and unfortunately, we have no option now but to accept their decision."



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Tony Haluradivth
Friday 15th July 2022 at 12:44 pm
Thanks to Councillor Browne and others for "fighting the good fight" and putting a good case forward to save the land. . This is a sad and distressing defeat. Any notion of the names of the "esteemed" 6 Committee members are who voted FOR the development (and the 2 fence sitters who abstained) or is that info' top secret?
David Jefferay
Saturday 16th July 2022 at 5:53 am
As a member of the northern planning committee (and one of those that voted for approval of this application), I'll explain my rationale for the way I voted. I cannot speak for the others.

This was a difficult decision to make because there was significant opposition from the local residents, the town council and the ward councillor. However, please understand that for all applications where the local residents are adversely affected I dig deep to find legitimate planning grounds on which to support the residents. In this case though, I could not find any.

All the policies cited by residents, the town council and the ward councillor either did not apply/stand up to scrutiny or had already been considered by the planning inspector on the previous application (which identical to this one but with the access issue addressed). I'll not go into how each was addressed but you can go onto the CEC website and listen to the recording of the meeting where I state my thoughts (and where other councillors state their opinions).

If there hadn't been a previous appeal decision on an identical application, I would have thought the policies cited would have been valid and I would most probably have voted differently. However, we have had clear guidance from the planning inspectorate at the last appeal that the design (except for the access design) is acceptable. The access (the loss of the grass verge opposite) was the ONLY reason the inspector refused it last time. It wasnt the scale, it wasn't the effect on neighbours, it wasn't access to neighbours' driveways, it wasn't even emergency vehicle access. All of these aspects were deemed acceptable by the government's planning inspector.

On the latest application, the design was the same and the one aspect of the grass verge that the inspector had objected to had been addressed therefore we, as a committee, had nothing to hang our hat on.

Therefore, if we had refused the application on these grounds, the applicant would have gone straight to appeal, the inspector would approve the application and the council would have to pay the (considerable) legal costs. Whilst, in theory, another inspector may disagree with the last one and refuse the application, in reality the precedence is there and the chance of one inspector saying his colleague was wrong is low, but the costs would be high. Four of the councillors on the committee clearly felt that was worth the risk and that is their prerogative but if you listen to the audio I asked the officers whether one inspector would overule another and their opinion was he would not expect them to.

I do feel for the local residents (I became a councillor to oppose unecessary development of green spaces) but I also had to look after the interests of all residents. Giving away tens of thousands of pounds to lawyers for an appeal we have negligible chance of winning would not be serving anyone's interests.

I hope that explains my thought process and that I am not just some councillor who ignores residents' concerns (and takes brown envelopes!). We have to work within the legal planning framework and in some cases our hands are tied and we have to make unpopular decisions. This was, unfortunately, one of those cases.
David Hadfield
Sunday 17th July 2022 at 8:03 am
I applaud Councillor David Jefferay for at least having the decency to come on this website and explain his decision, whether we like that decision, or not.
Tony Haluradivth
Sunday 17th July 2022 at 4:47 pm
Yes thanks Mr Jeffray for coming on here. It is brave and unfortunately the "big fella" in Bristol (England Planning) always wins so thankfully it will save us the Council Tax payers a few £s in the long run re apoeals etc.. The REAL villians of this sorry saga are not CEC or Northern Planning they are the vile RSPCA who overturned a deceased Gent's last wishes for his little corner of "Eden". Please folks shun the RSPCA they are Charity Monsters and thoroughly dishonest....
Adrian Scott
Wednesday 20th July 2022 at 3:12 pm
It matters not what planners / councillors /inspectors think. DO NOT LEAVE ANY PROPERTY TO THE RSPCA !! If they fight for so long to ignore the wishes of the recipient they should never be trusted, Sorry RSPCA but you lose my vote 100%
Donald Strathdee
Wednesday 20th July 2022 at 4:24 pm
Like many charities self preservation is key for their executives.
It can only be hoped that individuals considering where to leave their hard earned savings look to more reputable organisations than the RSPCA.
Chris Jones
Saturday 6th August 2022 at 8:09 pm
David Jefferay
Clearly a post full of something and importance.
Somebody who clearly didn’t go and speak to the voting council tax paying public.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 9th August 2022 at 1:13 pm
I'm sorry David Jefferay but whilst I applaud the fact that you were willing to join this discussion, I feel (strongly) that the people most affected by this decision have been badly let down by you.

You well recognise that Emerson Holdings (or their alias) have played the system perfectly. They have repeatedly appealed past refusals on points of amended detail without giving any thought to the (much more important) detrimental impact on the lives of local people - indeed you've described the process to a tee. They've also ignored the expressed wishes of the gentleman whose dying intention was to secure the land (his land) as a habitat for wildlife, flora and fauna for the enjoyment of Belmont residents. David Browne did this by bequeathing the land to the RSPCA. It would be untouchable...wouldn't it?

I didn't know David Browne well but I knew him well enough to know that he wasn't a wealthy man. This wasn't a grandiose gesture on the part of some wealthy philanthropist, this was a carefully-measured act of altruism aimed at safeguarding the small piece of land (on which he had lived most of his live) from development

In the very near future, we will be forced to think much more carefully about how we use land and other resources and the impact that decisions such as this have on our environment and society.

In the meantime the problem will continue to be exacerbated by a succession of naive committee members following outdated doctrine drawn up (for the most part) to provide financial gain for the few, at the expense of the many.
David Carey
Saturday 13th August 2022 at 12:23 pm
Alan Brough so accurately and eloquently put. We seem to have a planning system which is basically a tick box system and completely ignores what local residents want or indeed have objected to and yet it is these same very local residents that are affected.
Kriss Coombes
Sunday 14th August 2022 at 6:42 am
I found this sad story of the betrayal of David Browne's last wishes by the RSPC quite depressing and question again, the values and sense of honour amongst those with money, influence and power.
Thank you to Craig and Mike D.J. for their efforts to avoid this unforgivable decision.

In stark contrast we have the wonderful example of kindness and care, as demonstrated beautifully by the sharing of their home by the Booth family and support from ANSA for the Ukrainian family.
The ceaseless endeavours of our Britain in Bloomers, the litter picking team and Kelvin Briggs, along with his station volunteers, and their daily efforts to enhance our environment, are a good example of community unity. They lift my spirits.
Diana Bullock
Sunday 14th August 2022 at 11:06 am
Well said, Alan, David and Kriss. Belmont has been a quite little corner of the village and David would be horrified if he knew what was happening.

Buildings go up anywhere. A house was built in the garden of my mother’s house (1 Elm Crescent) which had been turned down twice by Macclesfield Borough Council and many residents but an official came up from Bristol and said that it could go ahead.