OFFICERS are urging councillors to reject the latest plans for a controversial development on former greenbelt land in Handforth.

Anwyl Homes wants to build 217 houses on land between Clay Lane and Sagars Road – including 65 affordable homes.

But ahead of a crucial meeting next Wednesday, Cheshire East Council officers are calling for the plans to be turned down, suggesting they would prefer closer to 250 properties on the site.

In a report published ahead of that meeting, CEC said: “The provision of 217 new dwellings is clearly a benefit of the proposal, which will make a valuable contribution to the delivery of the council’s five-year housing land supply.

“However, it should be noted that 217 dwellings is still a significant shortfall from the allocated 250, and the proposal still does not provide a design that adequately reflects the requirements of the local plan or the design guide.

“The applicants have worked with officers over several months in an attempt to achieve a mutually acceptable scheme, which to date has not been realised.”

CEC earmarked former greenbelt land between Clay Lane and Sagars Road for up to 250 houses in its local plan back in 2017 – despite fierce opposition from residents looking to protect it.

The local authority then gave outline planning permission for the land to be used for housing in August 2018, before agreeing to create an access road for the development earlier this year.

Officers are concerned that the affordable housing planned for the scheme has not been ‘adequately pepper potted’ – meaning they are in one cluster on the site, rather than spread throughout.

They also say there are too many four-bedroom detached homes and not enough smaller units for single people, first-time buyers or elderly residents as required by CEC’s local plan.

CEC also feels that neither the design or the parking provision are good enough as it stands – although officers say Anwyl could tweak the proposal again before Wednesday’s strategic planning board meeting.

In its planning statement, the developer said: “Anwyl Homes has recently acquired the application site and is committed to commencing the delivery of high-quality family housing at the earliest opportunity.

“The approval of this reserved matters application will enable Anwyl Homes to bring forward residential development on the site in the short-term and should, therefore, be supported in accordance with the Government’s pro-growth agenda.

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“The proposals are consistent with all relevant development plan policies, as well as other material considerations.”

CEC received 16 objections to the latest plans, while Handforth Parish Council is concerned about Sagars Road being used for access to the site.