Controversial plans to demolish two houses on Holly Road South and replace them with 34 retirement apartments have been refused.
Members of the Northern Planning Committee went against the recommendation of the Planning Officer and refused planning permission for Churchill Retirement Living's scheme, which included a lodge managers office and reception, communal facilities, guest suite and 16 parking spaces.
The scheme (reference 23/0853M), which included a financial contribution of £240,023 towards the provision of off-site affordable housing. divided the committee with 5 members voting against, 3 voting for and 1 abstaining.
The reasons for refusal were: design, detrimental impact on neighbouring properties, inadequate level of parking and non-compliance with Policy NE6 of the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan because the increase in build form and hard standing is 54% (therefore exceeding 50%).
Councillor Michael Gorman told wilmslow.co.uk "Wilmslow's current Councillors will always try to make sure the Neighbourhood Plan is respected, and adhered to, when considering developments in the area. I assume the developers may now wish to take account of the decision of the CEC Northern Planning Committee and re-consider their application."
In February, Churchill Retirement Living were refused planning permission for a similar scheme (ref 22/2347M) to demolish two detached homes at 17 & 19 Holly Road South and replace them with 34 retirement apartments for the over 60s.
Churchill Living subsequently lodged an appeal against Cheshire East Council for refusing planning permission and, in an unusual move, the Chief Executive removed the two reasons relating to lack of parking and failure to provide on-site affordable housing or open space. Leaving the potential impact on existing trees, due to a lack of information being provided, as the only reason for refusal.
Had the Northern Planning Committee approved this second application, then the appeal, which is scheduled to be held over 4 days from June 27th, would have been dropped.
Additionally, at the Northern Planning Committee on Wednesday, 7th June, David Malcolm, Head of Planning at Cheshire East Council, recommended that the authority does not defend their reason for refusing the previous application (lack of tree info), reference 22/2347M.
Members of the committee agreed and voted in favour of removing the final reason.
In a report prepared for the Northern Planning Committee meeting, Mr Malcolm stated "The missing tree information has been provided as part of the re-submitted planning application (23/0853M) and this information satisfies the Council's Tree Officer that the proposed development would not have an unacceptable impact on trees, subject to conditions being imposed.
"This information has now also been provided in relation to the appeal. As such, there is now no technical tree objections to the upcoming appeal that the Council could effectively defend."
The Council's decision not to defend the appeal has financial implications, as there may be a costs award against Cheshire East for unreasonable behaviour.