THE transformation of a former garden centre into a modern housing estate and ‘wildlife zone’ has been rejected.

Developer Altin Homes submitted plans to build 22 homes on the 2.67 hectare former All in One Garden Centre in London Road, Allostock.

The development would also have seen a 1.3 hectare wildlife area created to the south of the site, complete with habitat zones, a play area, pond, footpaths and trees.

But planning officers from Cheshire West and Chester Council have refused planning permission on the basis that the location was unsustainable, would urbanise the countryside and would impair the efficiency of the Jodrell Bank radio telescope.

Knutsford Guardian:

The family-run garden centre ceased trading and closed in July 2016, due to a drop in sales and footfall making the business ‘unviable’.

Letters of objection were submitted against the development, as was a petition signed by 13 residents, who objected on grounds including the development being out of character with the area and significantly increasing congestion on roads.

An objection was also submitted by Jodrell Bank, which said: “Equipment commonly used at residential dwellings causes radio frequency interference that can impair the efficient operation of radio telescopes.

“We oppose this development, as this is a general direction in which there is already significant development close to the telescope.”

Knutsford Guardian:

On this issue, case officer Robert Lester says in his report: “This is an objection that should be afforded significant weight in the decision-making process due to the international importance of the facility.

“The developer is proposing to install some mitigation measures in the construction of the development to reduce electrical interference.

“However, Jodrell Bank has reviewed all of this information and they maintain their objection to the development.”

He adds: “Overall, and for the above reasons, it is considered that the development would have a greater impact on the character of the countryside, would fail to enhance the site and its rural setting and would urbanise the countryside contrary to planning policy.”