A PLANNING committee chairman has slammed the ‘outrageous’ Government policy that forced his board to approve an 89-home development with just five affordable units.

Cllr George Walton, Conservative Cheshire East Council member for Chelford, criticised the vacant building credit before voting to approve David Wilson Homes’ scheme at the former cattle market in his own ward.

The credit, which was announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2014, allows fewer affordable homes to be built while incentivising the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

At a northern planning committee meeting on Wednesday where the application was approved, Cllr Walton said: “This Government policy – I just don’t agree with it, sorry. I think it’s outrageous personally.

“But our hands are tied. This number of houses I understand has been very carefully calculated. It has gone to housing department that knows all about these matters.”

David Wilson Homes is set to build six two-bedroom houses, 46 three-bedroom houses and 32 four-bedroom houses for the open market – plus two affordable apartments and three affordable houses.

The developer also expects to build 140 sq m of business space underneath the development’s apartments.

Andrew Taylor, planning director at David Wilson Homes north west, told the committee that his company was delighted to propose a scheme for ‘much needed homes’ in east Cheshire.

He said: “For the last few months we have worked very hard with council officers to ensure that the scheme before you meets all council policy requirements and is designed to ensure a very high quality residential environment.”

Mr Taylor added that the controversial vacant building credit had allowed the scheme to progress – with a similar development eight years ago considered unviable without it.

Cllr Dave Wilson, from Chelford Parish Council, told the committee that while it did support the principal of the development, the council is unhappy with the site’s three-storey apartment block, and it has called for trees at the site to be replanted.

Cllr Craig Browne, independent member for Alderley Edge, told the committee that while he found himself ‘wanting to support an application for development of a brownfield site’, he was concerned about the lack of amenity space and the close proximity of a nearby substation.

A suggestion for section 106 money to be allocated for affordable housing elsewhere in Chelford from Cllr Nick Mannion, Labour member for Macclesfield West and Ivy, was rejected by officers.

David Wilson Homes will contribute £267,000 for residential open space, £10,000 to improve the car park at Chelford Surgery, £84,000 for residents’ outdoor recreation and £13,000 for sports equipment at Chelford Village Hall.

A £173,000 contribution to Chelford Primary School and £45,000 for special educational needs provision will also be paid by the developer.

Work on the site should begin in the summer, before the first occupants move in next spring.

Meanwhile, members of CEC’s cabinet agreed to put council-owned land next to the former Chelford cattle market, which had been used for car parking, up for sale at a meeting on Tuesday.