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Pivotal decision will deliver new housing for Sandbach

Richborough Estates is delighted to announce that it’s planning appeals for the erection of 269 dwellings and a shared footpath and cycleway at Hind Heath Road, Sandbach have been allowed by the Secretary of State (Rt.Hon. Eric Pickles) for the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The outcome of this intriguing case has been eagerly anticipated by many professionals connected with the planning profession and of course by the local residents of Sandbach.

Following Cheshire East Council’s decision to refuse the outline planning applications, a public local inquiry was held on 22-25 February 2011 after which the Inspector recommended that the appeals be allowed and that planning permission should be granted.

The appeals had been recovered by the Secretary of State for his determination, and notwithstanding the recommendation of the Inspector the Secretary of State decided to dismiss the appeals on 4th July 2011... 

Central to the Secretary of State’s reasoning to dismiss the appeals was his view that existing permissions for housing development in Sandbach would satisfy the growth requirement for the town.  This intriguing decision to disaggregate the Council’s housing requirement from the District level to the localised position of Sandbach was taken despite Cheshire East Council’s acknowledgement that it could not demonstrate a 5 year housing land supply and that its emerging core strategy was at a very early stage of development.  

After taking legal advice, Richborough Estates decided to challenge the decision in the High Court but before the case could be heard and the Secretary of State decided to quash his decision by order of the court 18 October 2011 accepting that he had been wrong to apply his policy on a 5 year housing land supply to Sandbach.

Since that time, the Richborough team has been waiting for the Secretary of State to re-determine the appeals whilst satisfying numerous requests for additional submissions of evidence.

Paul Campbell, who led the application and subsequent actions on behalf of Richborough Estates stated today “This decision from the Secretary of State is very welcome news for us and helps to draw a line under what has been a very frustrating period for the business and our team connected with the Hind Heath Road project”.

“Unfortunately our appeals became a seminal case in planning but we are pleased that the right outcome has finally been achieved.  This provides absolute clarity for everyone involved in residential development in Cheshire East and I’m sure that it can only have positive repercussions in helping the Council to address the continuing shortfall in housing land supply”.

“Despite the frustrations we’ve felt during this challenging period, we wish to continue our good relationship with Cheshire East Council.  Housing delivery can be a contentious business and people are inevitably reluctant to see change in their town, but there is a recognised housing shortage in Cheshire East as there is across many parts of the country and this decision shows that the Government is committed to delivering new homes where the evidence shows they are needed and that the advantages outweigh any disadvantages.”

10 December 2012

Download Hind Heath Road appeal