Tatton's adventure park plans set to go before committee next month

Tatton's adventure park plans set to go before committee next month

Tatton's adventure park plans set to go before committee next month

First published in News Knutsford Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , News Editor

PLANS to develop an adventure playground in an area of Tatton Park’s woodland are back with Cheshire East Council’s planners after developers were told to provide more information.

Norfolk-based company Bure Valley Adventures want to build a BeWILDerwood adventure playground in an area of Witchcote Wood and first submitted plans two years ago.

After being told that it needed to provide more details in its planning bundle, Bure Valley has this week submitted the extra information that will go before the authority’s Strategic Planning Board next month.

Simon Egan, from Bure Valley, said: “We, as the applicant, have done all that can be asked of us with regard to the application and are now awaiting final responses from the planners.”

Bure Valley will receive £5.5 million of funding, underwritten by Cheshire East to build the development if planning approval is given. The council will spend a further £1.5 million on infrastructure.

But STAG, the Save Tatton Action Group, which has been campaigning against the development since the planning application was first submitted in April 2012, told the Guardian it was ‘worrying’ that it has taken so long for Bure Valley to provide the information.

“We are amazed that a second Section 22 letter has been issued to the developers asking for even more information in support of the planning application," said a STAG spokesman.

“If the combined efforts of Cheshire East's money, planning 'experts' and the owners of BeWILDerwood can't produce an application fit for consideration by the strategic planning board after almost two years of work, will they be fit to run such a theme park?

“The new information adds further weight to our fears that the green belt, ancient woodland, wildlife, prime farmland, flora and fauna are being sacrificed in favour of hard cash.

“The business case for the first five years has not been published so our advisors are unable to make an independent assessment on finances. The fact that this remains secret is worrying.”

STAG said that Cheshire East has already spent a total of £239,000 on planning surveys, project management, business advice, and legal advice in support of the application.

“STAG supporters have raised more than £6,000 to pay for professional advice on the planning application which led to the application being, in effect, rejected twice by the planners,” a spokesperson added.

“We will continue to put our money, time, and effort into fighting this application on planning grounds even though it is unfair that we have had to lead on planning issues unsupported by our Cheshire East representatives.

"Cheshire East's planners have obviously been in constant contact with the developers for the past few months as the Section 22 letter was issued after many new reports were received. We ask the same courtesy be extended to local residents and businesses who will be affected by the theme park.”

The deadline for comments on the revised plans is currently Wednesday, February 19.

STAG is asking for the consultation period to be extended to give its planning and legal advisors time to evaluate the new information and make a considered response.

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