New Cheshire homes despite flooding, infrastructure fears

An affordable housing development in Helsby, Cheshire, has been approved, despite concerns over flood risk, infrastructure and consultation.
New Cheshire homes

An affordable housing development in Helsby, Cheshire, has been approved, despite concerns over flood risk, lack of infrastructure and consultation.

Six members of Cheshire West and Chester ’s planning committee voted in favour of proposals to build 241 properties on brownfield land at Cable Drive, with five voting against.

The site was previously occupied by the Honeywell industrial complex and the new properties are set to be run by affordable housing provider Onward Homes, with a mix of rented, shared ownership and rent-to-buy properties.

The development, by Lane End Developments and Novar ED&S Limited, will include a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments as well as two, three and four-bedroom family homes, with a grant having been provided by government agency Homes England for the development under its Strategic Partnerships for the Affordable Homes Programme.

Helsby’s Green Party councillor Cllr Paul Bowers told the committee: “Many people in Helsby have contacted me after I sent out a newsletter highlighting this development earlier this year and many people – most people – didn’t even know of its existence.

“I think there’s been a real failure with the people of Helsby and the parish council.

“I think many people feel these things are being smuggled in under the pandemic.”

He also said widespread development in the area risked ‘changing the nature’ of Helsby.

He added: “We know that we have targets to achieve to fulfil housing obligations but many have expressed that Helsby have done their fair share.

“If this goes ahead, this means there would have been 700 new dwellings in the last 10 years, this of course changes the very nature of the village.”

In a written statement to the committee, Conservative councillor for Sandstone Hugo Deynem, claimed that both primary schools ‘were at or near capacity’ and Helsby High had recently recorded a ‘record number of new entries’, adding that local medical facilities were also ‘streteched to capacity’.

He added: “Unfortunately, the applicant has failed to engage in any meaningful community engagement as part of this application.”

Moving approval, committee member Sam Dixon, said: “This site has issues, but the officer’s report has set out the mitigations.

“There is housing need in this borough. We have a dual responsibility to make sure development is sustainable, legal and addresses the needs we have.”

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