Crewe West End housing estate loses planning consent due to contaminated land issue
By Belinda Ryan - Local Democracy Reporter
22nd Mar 2023 | Local News
A recently built 263-home estate in Crewe doesn't have planning permission - because the developer failed to deal with a condition relating to contaminated land.
Cheshire East granted permission for the Coppenhall Place development on the former Bombardier site off West Street in 2018, but says Countryside Partnerships 'failed to discharge one significant pre-commencement condition, namely contaminated land'.
Environmental Protection say they are now satisfied assessments relating to human health have been addressed, but other matters are still not resolved.
This means the original permission is void – even though many of the properties are already being lived in.
The developer has now applied for retrospective permission to regularise the development and this is due to be considered at a specially called meeting of the strategic planning board on Thursday.
In a report due to go before that meeting, the council's planning officer says: "Planning permission was previously granted consent in 2018 and the scheme has been built in accordance with that approval.
"However, conditions in respect of contaminated land have not been satisfied which renders that original consent void – hence the submission of this application to seek regularisation of the development."
He continues: "Despite extensive discussions with the applicant, this matter was not resolved and, as such, the discharge of the contaminated land condition was subsequently refused and the planning permission became incapable of being implemented."
The report says while Environmental Protection are still concerned about certain aspects of the assessments undertaken, 'they are now satisfied that the main issue, that of human health, has now been addressed'.
It continues: "They would prefer that their technical findings, which are different from those of the applicant's consultants, should be peer reviewed by another professional as would be standard practice."
The council's planning officer has recommended the application be approved, but states: "This application is considered to be finely balanced. Tipping that balance for regeneration, providing a good range of housing, and recognising the viability of building on a brownfield site favour supporting the proposal."
The developer also ignored a condition imposed in 2018 to maintain part of the historic Crewe Works wall.
The condition was to retain the base and piers of the wall of the iconic railway building adjoining West Street, which was a non-designated heritage asset – but the builders bulldozed the entire wall in 2020.
Enforcement officers then had to secure a rebuild of the wall as agreed.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted the developer for a statement about not complying with the contaminated land condition and also asked whether there are any legal or other implications with regard to the people who have already bought the properties or others who are already living there.
A Countryside Partnerships spokesperson said: "Due to site constraints, delays associated with Covid-19 and phasing of the development, it has taken longer than usual to deliver this scheme.
"As agreed with Cheshire East Council, we submitted a fresh application to regularise the planning permission for the development as a whole. We have remained in constructive dialogue with the council throughout, and the application is recommended for approval at this week's planning committee.
"We are grateful to residents and purchasers at Coppenhall Place for their patience as we have worked on resolving the issue.
A dedicated contact centre has also been set up and our project team can be contacted by emailing: [email protected]."
The strategic planning board meeting takes place at 10am on Thursday 23 March at Crewe Municipal Buildings.
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