A PROPOSED neighbourhood plan that would guide future development in Tattenhall near Chester has won overwhelming support from villagers.
More than 50 per cent of those who could vote turned out for the referendum on the Tattenhall and District Neighbourhood Plan with 905 voters in favour and just 38 against.
The 30-page neighbourhood plan has taken two years to produce and stresses that future growth must create quality developments, contributing to the character of the village and provide benefits for the area.
Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) will now be required to use the neighbourhood plan – the first in West Cheshire and only the fourth in the country coming into force – when determining planning applications in the area.
But that cannot happen yet because two national housebuilders are challenging the plan.
Barratt Homes and Wainhomes – who want to build housing in the village – claim the plan is flawed on technical grounds and question the impartiality of independent examiner Nigel McGurk.
Part of the challenge centres on the fact Mr McGurk was a non-executive director of a subsidiary of Himor Group, who are behind plans for a huge development at Hoole Gate in Chester.
CWaC dismissed the challenge as ‘highly regrettable corporate bullying’ but judicial review proceedings will be determined by the High Court.
If the legal challenge is successful, it could mean another independent examination and referendum might have to take place.
But council leader Mike Jones, who is the member for Tattenhall, said he was confident that would not happen. Mr Jones said: “This result is a ringing endorsement of the tremendous work and commitment shown by the local community.
“The legal challenge is extremely disappointing but the authority will strongly contest the claimant’s allegations which, we believe, are without foundation.”
Wainhomes has applied to build 137 homes on land at Greenlands and Barratt wants to build 68 homes on land opposite Brookhall Cottages. But the neighbourhood Plan advocates that ‘large scale, inappropriate development along existing village boundaries will not be supported by the community’.
It is also proposed the heart of the village should be prioritised as a thriving centre for shops, services and community infrastructure.
A steering group including parish councillors, community volunteers, Cheshire Community Action and Rural Innovation created the neighbourhood plan with help from CWaC and consultants IBI Taylor Young.
Carol Weaver, chairman of the steering group, said: “I’m delighted and proud that we have achieved a national record turnout and I want to thank everyone involved who have worked so tremendously hard for this moment.”