Churchill Retirement Living have lost their appeal against Cheshire East Council for refusing planning permission for a retirement apartment scheme.
In February, Churchill Retirement Living were refused planning permission (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.
The scheme included a Lodge Manager's office and reception, communal facilities, guest suite, car parking and landscaping.
In an unusual move in May 2023, the Chief Executive removed two of the reasons for refusal, 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. Following the submission of further information by the appellant, the Council stated in June 2023 that it would no longer defend this reason.
The Planning Inspector dismissed the appeal, concluding "The proposal would be acceptable in terms of drainage and flood risk and the living conditions of nearby occupiers. However, neither these matters, nor the benefits of the proposal set out above, would outweigh the harm I have found in relation to affordable housing provision and local health services, to parking provision, highway capacity and safety, and, to the character and appearance of the area.
"For the reasons given above, and taking into account all matters raised, I conclude the appeal is dismissed."
Churchill Retirement Living also submitted an almost identical, parallel planning application for 34 retirement living apartments at the appeal site, which sought to address the three previous reasons for refusal.
This application was refused planning permission by the Council on 8 June 2023 for various reasons, relating to the effects on the character and appearance of the area, the living conditions of nearby residents and parking provision, none of which (apart from parking provision) had been matters of concern to the Council previously. This scheme (reference 23/0853M) included a financial contribution of £240,023 towards the provision of off-site affordable housing.
An application for costs was also made by Churchill Retirement Living against Cheshire East Council on the grounds that the Council had no substantive evidence to support its third reason for refusal (which concerned a lack of on-site parking resulting in pressure for on-street parking to the detriment of the free flow of traffic) or to contradict the evidence contained in the submitted Transport Statement.
This was also refused with the Planning Inspector concluding "unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense, as set out in PPG*, has not occurred and an award of costs is not justified."
* The Government's Planning Practice Guidance.