PLANNERS are recommending councillors give permission in principle for affordable housing on land at Alderley Edge despite claims it would open the flood gates for development in the green belt.

Mrs A Wood wants to build up to nine affordable homes on green belt land adjoining Jenny Heyes at Heyes Lane.

Inappropriate development in the green belt is only approved in exceptional circumstances.

The application has been ‘called-in’ by ward councillor Craig Browne (Ind), so it will be considered by the northern planning committee next week instead of being determined by an officer under delegated authority.

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Browne states in the call-in: “The proposed development site is in the North Cheshire green belt and exceptional circumstances have not been demonstrated.”

He says three further brownfield sites in Alderley Edge remain available but not developed.

He also details a number of other concerns, including highways.

But in a report recommending councillors approve the application, the case officer states: “The proposal comprises 100 per cent affordable housing to serve an identified local need, therefore the proposals qualify as an exception to inappropriate development in the green belt.

“The proposals would contribute towards local affordable housing needs of Alderley Edge and a development of nine units would be appropriate in terms of density in this location.

“It is considered that a suitable layout of development could be achieved that overcomes flood risk concerns, amenity, highway and tree issues.”

Wilmslow Town Council has objected to the scheme saying it is inappropriate development in the green belt and the proposals do not comply with the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan.

The town council also says access to and from the site is at a dangerous location and the developer has not demonstrated how this will be satisfactorily overcome.

Alderley Edge Parish Council has also recommended refusal and listed a number of reasons.

It warns it would set a dangerous precedent if the neighbourhood plans of Wilmslow and Alderley Edge are overridden.

Thirteen residents have objected, fearing giving this scheme the go-ahead would ‘open the flood gates for development in the green belt’.

One has written in support, saying there is a need for affordable housing in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.

The application is seeking permission in principle consent.

The officer’s report describes this as ‘an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for housing-led development which separates the consideration of matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development’.

The permission in principle consent route has two stages.

The first stage - or permission in principle stage, which this application is at - establishes whether a site is suitable in-principle.

The second stage - technical details consent - is when the detailed development proposals are assessed.

This stage one permission in principle will be considered by the northern planning committee at its next meeting, which takes place at 10am on Wednesday, March 13, at Macclesfield Town Hall.