PICKMERE Parish Council has a fight on its hands to build a replacement village hall after planning officers called for the scheme to be rejected.

A total of 73 letters of objection have been sent to Cheshire East Council urging it to shun the application to expand Turton Pavilion, in Jacobs Way, to replace the current village hall, in Pickmere Lane.

And in a report issued ahead of a crucial meeting in Macclesfield next Wednesday, CEC officers are urging the northern planning committee to reject the development.

They claim that the extension would reduce the amount of 'open space' that is designated in the village – meaning residents would have less space for outdoor sport and recreation.

The report said: "This open space appears to have strong support within the community, and notwithstanding this, it is not considered that the present open space is surplus to requirements, nor would its loss be adequately compensated for by a village hall.

"Questions are raised as to why exactly the village hall must be placed on the open space and whether the costings associated with the refurbishment of the existing village hall in Pickmere Lane would not be the more viable option."

The parish council, which owns both the Turton Pavilion and the old village hall, wants to increase the size of the 57sq m pavilion to 227sq m.

Residents objecting to the scheme have suggested the development would be too big, and they raised concerns about its impact on wildlife, noise and its surroundings.

Nearby Wincham Community Centre has also objected to the development, while CEC-owned Ansa has criticised the lack of open space in the scheme.

But Pickmere Parish Council insists neither the pavilion nor the hall are 'ideal' – and it argues the replacement hall would be in a more central location than the existing one.

It said: "Such a building would be able to accommodate larger meetings and community activities in a single location, and thereby enhance the potential for developing community-focussed activities in a more central location in the village.

"Further, the scheme would open up the possibility of new activities making use of the Pavilion site throughout the year, rather than only within the summer months."