CAMPAIGNERS calling for an end to peat extraction at Lindow Moss are standing against plans to build 14 homes on part of the site.

Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) and the Saltersley Common Preservation Society (SCPS) have both written to Cheshire East Council stating their opposition to the scheme – despite the possibility it could lead to the end of peat extraction.

In a letter sent to CEC on Tuesday – the final day for public consultation on the proposal – Roger Bagguley, of RoW, said: “RoW has previously supported this application.

“Restoration of this peat bog site as a natural wetland is an attractive proposition given the urgent need to address current day issues – drying out of the peat with fires, as was the case this summer, loss of important habitats and the need to celebrate the history as a part of enriching the education and leisure potential of the area.

“As it stands today RoW cannot continue to support the application.”

Mr Bagguley says that the development would lead to ‘an abundant loss of vegetation’, and criticises the lack of affordable housing in the scheme – which he suggests could be down to the ‘economic viability’ of restoring the peat bog.

He added: “If the [homes and restoration] are intrinsically linked then how will this raised wetland be achieved?

“Will it require infill? If so, what with? What is the timescale?”

Meanwhile, SCPS claims the four-year-old information in the planning application is now out of date – while it also questions whether the peat bog restoration will be economically viable.

Chairman Tony Evans added: “The land is continuing to sink, we have had a very hot summer where drying out of the residual peat has accelerated and we have had a considerable volume of peat burned.

“Perhaps more importantly, officers confirmed at a recent meeting that no economic valuation had been undertaken with respect to the restoration of the peat workings.

“Until [the restoration] can be tied into the housing development there is no sense in granting permission.”

Mobberley Parish Council has also objected to the proposal, which is situated in greenbelt land.

The planning application for 14 homes was submitted to CEC by Richard Louis Bond and Andrew Paul Rowland – directors of Croghan Peat, the firm with permission to extract peat from Lindow Moss until 2042 – on December 23, 2014.

In the application, Croghan Peat says that the housing development would ‘facilitate the restoration of Lindow Moss to a nature reserve’ – but it insists the restoration cannot go ahead if the application for 14 homes is rejected.

“The approval of this application would facilitate restoration of the peat extraction site to a high quality wetland nature reserve,” the application said.

“However, should this application be refused, the proposed wetland restoration will not proceed at this early stage.

“Instead, the baseline position is continued extraction until the consented end date of 2042, with restoration, including by infilling, when peat extraction is concluded.

“Continued peat excavation operations up to 2042 would continue to have an adverse impact on the local landscape, the local residents and the local highway network.”

The peat extraction and 14 homes are due to be dealt with in two separate applications, and Mr Bagguley has called for the end of peat extraction to be allowed before the new homes.

A decision on both plans could be made at CEC’s strategic planning board meeting on November 21, after the date was listed on the council’s online planning portal this week.