PROPOSALS to build offices in Goostrey have been blocked by councillors — as the buildings could have interfered with the Jodrell Bank radio telescope.

The plans, brought forward by Henderson Homes, would have seen two single-storey offices and associated car parking built on a site off the village’s Main Road.

However, Cheshire East’s southern planning committee unanimously voted to refuse the application on Wednesday (March 31).

Arguing in favour of rejection, ward councillor Andrew Kolker said: “The local plan, which we all fought very long and hard for — and you may remember those extremely long meetings — if it means anything at all, then this application must be refused.

“The site lies outside the curtilage of the village, although near other buildings and other residents, it sits in the open countryside.

“Both the local plan and neighbourhood plan [say] Jodrell Bank should be protected.”

Before the meeting, a planning report highlighted scientific concerns over the development.

“Equipment commonly used at office buildings causes radio frequency interference that can impair the efficient operation of the radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank,” it said.

“Jodrell Bank Observatory now opposes development across a significant part of the consultation zone as a matter of principle, in order to protect the efficiency of the Jodrell Bank radio telescope’s ability to receive radio emissions from space with a minimum of interference from electrical equipment.”

However, Ivor Smits, representing the applicant, argued that councillors should defer the decision to allow for more investigations to be done on the effect of the offices on the telescope.

He said: “My suggestion is that we can come together to work on this issue. My suggestion is to defer the application to allow us to report back and consult.

“That will allow for Jodrell Bank to come back with specific evidence of interference and allow us to review it.”

Ultimately, councillors felt that because the site ‘was not on the fringe’ of the Jodrell Bank consultation zone, refusal was the best course.