PLANS for 30 new homes on land owned by a council member have been branded a “sprawling incursion into the countryside”.
The proposed development on Whitchurch Road, Edge, near Malpas, has been recommended for refusal by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning department.
It is proposed by Church Green Developments Ltd, but the site is owned by Conservative councillor Howard Greenwood who represents Farndon on the authority.
The council’s planning committee will determine the application on Tuesday, September 2 and has been told to treat it “as if it has been made on behalf of a member of the council”, even though Cllr Greenwood is not the applicant.
Local councillor Ann Wright, a fellow Tory, has opposed the development, along with Malpas Parish Council and 15 residents who have written to the council.
In his report to the committee, planning officer Nick Howard said: “The proposed development represents a significant encroachment into the countryside, it will appear as a sprawling incursion into the countryside when viewed from Whitchurch Road and Witney Lane.
“Furthermore it will have a suburbanising effect on the rural area. The benefits of delivering housing are outweighed by the harm caused to the character of the rural landscape.”
The 2.7 hectare site is half a mile north of Hampton Heath and would see the construction of 30 detached and semi-detached homes, nine of which would be ‘affordable’.
It is described by Mr Howard as an “isolated development” in “one of the most rural areas in the Cheshire West and Chester Borough”.
Malpas Parish Council has objected on the grounds the site is in open countryside; is of protected agricultural value; is not within or at the edge of the settlement boundary; is not a sustainable location and the proposed access is onto the fast A41.
Letters from residents suggest access would be dangerous and the plans would have a detrimental impact on rural landscape.
Mr Howard wrote in his report: “The effects of the development is an erosion of landscape character that is unacceptable. Visually the development will have significant visual impacts along Witney Lane and some residential properties.
“Mitigation and buffer planting will go some way to mitigate effects, but with new private driveways, 30 houses, associated highway works there will be a significant adverse effect on the views close to the site and especially on Witney Lane itself.”
He added: “The site is not considered to be sufficiently sustainable as the proposal involves the development of land which is not previously developed and is physically detached from the built form of Hampton Heath which has limited facilities and services.”