PLANS to develop an adventure playground in Tatton Park face further delays after a government department said it was unable to meet a deadline on whether the plans should be ‘called-in’.
In March, Bure Valley Ltd was given permission by Cheshire East Council’s Strategic Planning Board to create BeWILDerwood in an area of Tatton Park.
Due to the nature of the application it had to be referred to the government for final approval.
But it now faces further delays as the Department for Communities and Local Government advised Cheshire East that it was unable to meet its April 16 deadline for making a decision whether the plans should be called-in.
In a letter from the Department's senior planning manager, Liz Hardy, Cheshire East Council is directed by the Secretary of State ‘not to grant permission on the application without specific authorisation’.
The direction has been made to enable the department to have a further period in which to consider the proposal.
Save Tatton Action Group (STAG) told the Guardian it ‘welcomed’ the delay.
“Although it is likely the delay is in part down to the department's heavy workload as it deals with an increasing number of applications to develop the green belt across the country, STAG finds it encouraging that the Secretary of State is obviously taking time to examine the application,” said a STAG spokesman.
“STAG was concerned that the original letter from Liz Hardy advising CEC of receipt of the application was listed on the planning website under ‘comments from members of the public’ which was misleading and means many people will have missed the deadline for making their submissions to the Secretary of State.
“We had very little time to commission our own report from Nathaniel Litchfield and Partners planning consultants which examines in detail Cheshire East's decision. That only reached the Secretary of State on April 15 – perhaps that's why the extra time is needed?"
STAG’s 11 page report urges the Secretary of State to call-in the application on a number of grounds.
It states that Cheshire East Council has failed to properly assess the development's ‘significant impact on heritage and landscape of significant importance’, and the council's decision ‘does not properly reflect national Green Belt planning policy’.
“In conclusion, our report says Cheshire East has failed in its statutory duties in these areas - something STAG has been stating throughout the two years this development has been under consideration by Cheshire East,” said STAG.
“We hope the Secretary of State will call-in this application and stop this theme park being built on Tatton's green belt and ruining its heritage and landscape.”