Dobbies' plans to build a controversial gardening superstore on a 17 acre site in Nether Alderley were delayed further this week when the Strategic Planning Board met to review an application on behalf of Matthews Garden Centre for an extension to their original planning permission.
The outline planning permission (03/3214P), which was granted on 9th March 2005, for the relocation of the existing garden centre and landscape contractors business across the road from the AstraZeneca site where it had operated for 35 years, required the development to commence within 5 years, or within 2 years of approval of the last of the reserved matters which happened on 18th April 2008.
Having decided not to relocate there Matthews teamed up with Dobbies, whose Garden World application, which they submitted last year, sought to draw on the approved planning permission for the relocation of the original Matthews Garden Centre and transfer this consent to another site down the road.
When considering planning permission extensions Local Planning Authorities are advised to only look at issues that may have changed significantly since that planning permission was previously considered to be acceptable, therefore they cannot re-open debates about principles of any particular proposal, except where material circumstances have changed.
However, in this case there were considered to have been fundamental changes to the planning policy framework, that require both a Flood Risk Assessment and Habitat Surveys for both the Great Crested Newts and other European protected species such as bats.
As all the supporting information had not been submitted, and there was also a lack of any Legal Obligation or Heads of Terms, the Strategic Planning Board decided there was insufficient information to determine this application.
A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said: “The application number has been deferred to the Strategic Planning Board meeting of October 6, 2010. This is to allow the applicant more time to conduct an ecological survey and look at legal agreements.”
Nether Alderley Parish Council, The Edge Association, ten individuals and one local company all objected to the renewal on the grounds that the existing garden centre has relocated to Somerford Booth and had been granted permission as a very special circumstance in terms of green belt policy. As these circumstances are no longer evident they claimed there is no justification for this application.
A decision is yet to be made regarding the revised planning application (09/3109M) which Dobbies' submitted on September 28th 2009 for the Garden World Development.
Changes to their original plans included a reduction in size by 30%, enhanced landscape proposals, a new curved roof with a reduced eaves height and the distance between the proposed Dobbies and the nearest residential property to the south had been increased.