Appeal for 6 houses in the middle of Goostrey dismissed

The Appeal by Henderson Homes for an additional 6 houses behind the two new-builds on Main Road, adjacent to 51 Main Road, has been dismissed by the Planning Inspector.  In short, the Inspector deemed the proposal for 6 houses acceptable in design and location but she gave more weight to the policies in the Local Plan and Goostrey’s N’hood Plan that protect the efficiency of Jodrell Bank.

Link to Appeal decision in full:   Appeals page ref 3166025 .

Link to planning application that was originally refused: 16/4306C .  However there are two other planning applications to be decided by Cheshire East – for 1 to 3 houses on the original footprint: 17/0680c and 17/4451c.

6 houses to the rear refused at Appeal

  1. The appeal proposal would provide 6 new homes on a site which I consider, subject to the imposition of conditions, to be acceptable in design terms and would be appropriately located in relation to transport links and proximity to the village and its services. As such, I have accorded this moderate weight in favour of the development. I have also attached moderate weight to the benefits to be derived from the construction of modest developments by local builders through the provision of small sites, and limited weight to affordable housing provision. However, I have found, on the basis of the uncontested evidence of Professor Garrington, that the proposed development would breach saved Policy PS10 of the LP, Policy SE 14 of the CELP and Policy SC2 of the NP which require that where the efficiency of the telescopes are impaired that development will not be permitted. From the evidence before me, including consideration of the global significance of Jodrell Bank as a scientific research resource, I accord this breach of policy significant weight.
  2. Moreover, the proposed development would also be contrary to Policy HOU1 of the NP. This supports new housing in principle within and adjacent to the settlement boundary of Goostrey, where it does not individually or cumulatively harm the operation of the JBRTs. Similarly, from the evidence before me I accord this breach significant weight. I must also take into account paragraph 198 of the Framework which states where a planning application conflicts with a neighbourhood plan that has been brought into force, planning permissions should not normally be granted.  Extract from Appeal decision 18th Jan 2018

MP supports FOGS but Northern slow to deliver improvements

Friends of Goostrey Station (FOGS) by Chris Burgess

Fiona Bruce MP sent FOGS this message of support after reading the newspaper article about plans to add CCTV and a customer information system (CIS) to Goostrey station.

“Friends of Goostrey station do absolutely sterling work in maintaining Goostrey Station and making it attractive for the many passengers using this line. It is, therefore, excellent news that Northern are also investing in the station and making vital infrastructure improvements. There is, of course, much more that could be done and I know that with the FOGS on the case the station is in the best hands!”


However, by the end of 2017, the promised improvements by Northern had not materialised.

In the New Year, members of FOGS were extremely frustrated to read the following from Vicky Cropper, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager for Central Region.

“Regarding the installation of the CCTV and CIS, it looks as if this has been pushed back a number of weeks and is expected to be completed in March due to Landlord Consent.
The cross track cabling design for the new equipment needs Landlord Consent from Network Rail; this document will be submitted this week and NWR have 21 days to review it. Also the CIS screens are a bespoke model which have a long lead in time and won’t be delivered until March 2018.”

As Mike Jarvis, chair of FOGS, commented “We look forward to more news on the matter and hope that 2018 improves as the year goes on.”

Despite such disappointments, volunteers still come forward to help at our working parties between 10 and 1 on the second Sunday of each month. Platforms, steps and car park are swept and planted areas, including tubs, are maintained. Our latest recruits are young people who are using the experience to qualify for Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Goostrey Community Primary School continue to produce art for the platform shelter which is much appreciated by passengers. The current work about Water produced many comments including these:- ‘Every time I visit this station I enjoy the displays from the school.’ And ‘Another fabulous display! What beautiful handwriting and talented artists.’

Members of FOGS also help in other ways including keeping the pressure on Northern to restore the old Ticket Office.  The Rail Authority have agreed to repair the outside of the building but work on the inside will need to be organised by local people.

If you would like information about this group of volunteers, please speak to Mike Jarvis on 533981 or Peter Godfrey on 533745. In addition, there is a recently updated website at which includes information about rail tickets.

Subterranean house refused near JBO

The application for a house near Jodrell Bank Observatory has been refused this week despite it being designed as partially underground.  Both JBO and Gostrey PC had objected.

Two reasons were given.  Firstly it would be in ‘Open Countryside’ and secondly, even though partially subterranean, would impair the efficiency of JBO.  Cheshire East’s Local Plan policies and Goostrey’s Neighbourhood Plan policies were quoted.   Link to the Officer’s Report:

The application is located in the open countryside where development is subject to stricter control and the policy focus is on preserving the openness, character and appearance of the countryside.  The application seeks permission for a new subterranean dwelling in the garden of Coachman’s Cottage. Policy PG 6 of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy 2017 (CELP) defines open countryside as the area outside of any settlement with a defined settlement boundary.  Within the Open Countryside only development that is essential for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, outdoor recreation, public infrastructure, essential works undertaken by public service authorities or statutory undertakers, or for other uses appropriate to a rural area will be permitted.  The policy allow several exceptions for new dwellings including where there is an opportunity for limited infilling, re-use of existing buildings and replacement buildings. Infilling is allowed in villages and ‘the infill of a small gap with one or two dwellings in an otherwise built up frontage elsewhere’.  The CELP defines infilling as ‘the development of a relatively small gap between existing buildings’.  The site could not reasonably be described as an infill plot, it does not have a built up frontage and is not located between two or more existing buildings but rather is adjacent to woodland and agricultural fields.  The proposal would not re-use an existing building and is not a replacement building.  As such it does not comply with any of the exceptions which allow new buildings.  New buildings are not permitted within the open countryside and therefore the principle of the development is not acceptable.

Plans to demolish Black Swan for 3 houses

Owners of the Black Swan pub in Lower Withington have re-applied to demolish it and build three homes on the site.  The pub has been closed since early 2016 but was registered as an asset of community value (ACV) by Cheshire East Council last summer.

The ACV decision – brought about by a ‘Friends of the Black Swan’ application – is now subject to a tribunal set to be heard early this year, with the outcome potentially influential to the planning decision.

Plan to demolish Black Swan

Tim Pearson, of Friends of the Black Swan, said: “[The owners] claim the pub is unviable and should be demolished. We challenge that view.  The Swan has always been a popular destination of choice and we’re convinced it can be again.  The pub’s traded there since 1755.  All it needs is a new owner with the right experience and genuine commitment.  The new developments in the area mean that there are even more people wanting to enjoy a local country pub.”

Link to CEC page to make comments before 17th Jan:  17/6356M.  Follow “Friends of The Black Swan, Lower Withington” on Facebook for updates.

Since closing the pub, the owners had attempted to sell the pub before turning their attention to housebuilding. An application for five homes – which brought about the ACV – was withdrawn in September.

Tim said: “There was significant interest from potential buyers, but the offers didn’t meet the owners’ expectations so it was taken off the market.  Building houses may be more financially attractive, but the whole community would lose out and we’re determined not to accept this continued erosion of our local heritage lying down.  The parish council has been with us all the way and we expect them to call the decision in to full planning committee again.”

The deadline for members of the public to comment on the application at Cheshire East Council’s online planning portal is January 17, ahead of a target decision date of February 9. Knutsford Guardian


Subterranean house proposal near Jodrell

A proposal for a ‘partially subterranean’ house has been submitted, situated less than 700 metres from the Lovell – incorporating copper in the construction in an attempt to “protect the proposal from impact on Jodrell Bank”.  A decision on the proposed dwelling – on the right after Blackden Bridge – is scheduled for this week, under delegated authority, with objections listed from the Observatory and Goostrey Parish Council. (Although the address is Jodrell Bank, Macclesfield it is within Goostrey Parish)

Link to application:  17/5843C


(click images to enlarge)


17/5843C Design and Access statement:  ‘The façade is a large mass form of copper material. This copper wall edges the lower ground floor and the copper wall curves to the south and east. …………4.5.3 The form and shape of the building is defined to deflect radio waves away from Jodrell Bank, creating a buffer spine to the proposal. The buffer will block the radio waves at ground/lower ground floor level and from the roof.’

JBO state in their objection  – ‘Having a significant amount of the dwelling underground and the use of metal cladding and other techniques may provide enhanced interference mitigation. Designing and constructing rooms which are well shielded in terms of radio frequency emission is a task for specialists and it has to be borne in mind that even narrow gaps (including window and door frames, and even door seals) can act as antennas for radio emission and that that special treatment is required for all cable and ventilation penetrations, including mains, telephones and TV/satellite equipment. Thorough treatment of all these issues could possibly reduce the impact to minor, in our normal way of assessing emission from sources inside the dwelling under ideal conditions (windows closed etc.), but the building measures do not reduce any emission from activity and equipment outside the shielded parts of the house (e.g. use of electronic items, garden and DIY equipment etc.). Furthermore, there is no realistic way of guaranteeing the long term efficacy of any such measures through building control, or for controlling activities and/or equipment outside the shielded parts of the house.’

Goostrey PC have objected on the grounds that the proposed site is in Open Countryside, and therefore against Neighbourhood Plan policy (‘dwellings should be within, or immediately adjacent to, the existing Settlement Zone Lines of Goostrey village’).  Furthermore, as JBO have objected, the application also conflicts with other N’hood Plan policies.

Meanwhile, we still await the decision of the Henderson Homes appeal against the refusal of 6 houses in the village that were opposed by JBO.

Brereton residents to oppose hotel plans

It’s not just Goostrey that has controversial planning applications.  Members of the local Brereton community are so concerned about the impact that they have now appointed their own planning consultant and are commissioning independent surveys to demonstrate how detrimental a plan will be to the community and the rural parish. The last date for submitting comments is the 12th January.

Brereton PC are yet to make a decision on the proposal; the next council meeting being on the 22nd January at the parish school.  Cheshire East have scheduled a committee date of 7th February.  Brereton resident Matthew Stead is hoping that the proposal to turn Brereton Hall into a wedding/conference venue might be withdrawn following villagers’ concerns.  Residents first understood that a planning application had been submitted to change the use of Brereton Hall from a restored private residence to a 12 bedroom boutique hotel.  Link to application:  17/6118c

However, at a recent Brereton Parish Council meeting residents heard from Peter Heywood of the Flat Cap Group that they planned “to turn the Grade 1 listed Brereton Hall into a wedding and conference centre” and Mr Heywood went on to say that “there would also be a restaurant with between 40 – 50 covers”.

Local resident Matthew Stead said “ People were genuinely stunned as Mr Heywood revealed the true plans to turn the Grade 1 listed Hall into a wedding and conference centre, needing a new access road for coaches to bring in revellers to the peaceful and tranquil parkland setting of the Hall. We knew the math simply didn’t stack up. Mr Heywood’s application states he will create the equivalent of 40 new full time jobs. Having taking counsel from a number of the North West’s leading hotel and hospitality companies this would mean charging a minimum of £650 per room per night at Brereton Hall just to cover their day to day running costs.

Flat cap have also made no reference to the existing enforcement notice served on previous owners of Brereton Hall who conducted weddings and events at the Hall, subjecting local residents of Brereton Green to over three years of misery as they went through the legal process, resulting in functions having to cease at the Hall”.

“It does not bode well for Brereton Parish if this application goes ahead”, says another concerned resident, Richard Gibson. “For a start, the new access road from the A50 will add another potential accident black spot, carve across the open countryside within the Listed Hall and Gardens and undoubtedly increase the traffic also on the church lane which is actively used as a major public right of way to give access from Brereton Green to Brereton Heath nature reserve”.

Mr Stead confirmed “Local industry sources support our concerns saying that you need at least 50 bedrooms and function room capacity for 150 people to make it pay and that still may not work in a grade 1 listed setting with all the additional operational complexity and costs associated with this type of setting. One of our concerns is that this is just the start of an even larger development plan for the Hall and grounds. This is our Parish’s ‘Jewel in the crown’, one of the last few restored privately owned grand houses with a Grade 1 listing within Cheshire East”.

Brereton Hall action group.  Link to Brereton Life webpage.