A history of the planning applications around Canal Road is provided below:

12th February 2013:
Seddon Homes withdraws the two “newer” planning applications,  12/4776C  covering The Moorings and 12/4785C covering Goldfinch Close and Kestrel Close.  However the previous two planning applications are still under Appeal, 12/3025C and 12/3028C.

13th December 2012:
Although Seddon Homes has appealed to the Secretary of State for both developments off Canal Road (see below for notes on the 5th December planning meeting) the company has registered two new planning applications to cover their original proposals:  12/4776C  covering The Moorings and 12/4785C covering Goldfinch Close and Kestrel Close.

5th December 2012:
On 5th December the Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board met to decide upon the two Seddon Homes planning applications to build 40 houses on GREEN FIELD behind Goldfinch Close & Kestrel Close, 12/3025C, and 40 houses behind The Moorings, 12/3028C.  Both these sites are close to the protected wildlife corridor of Lamberts Lane and both sites contain badgers, bats and other wildlife as well as ancient hedgerows and trees.

Bizarrely Seddon Homes had already made a non-determination appeal to Eric Pickles on both applications (as the applications had not been determined within the 13-week time frame allotted Seddon Homes is able to do this).  Irrespective of this, both applications had to be debated and voted upon by the board.  The vote on Goldfinch Close / Kestrel Close was 5 for and 5 against.  Unfortunately the Chairman’s casting vote made the final verdict a “mind to approve” – sounds strange but as Seddon Homes has already appealed to the Secretary of State the board cannot Approve or Reject the application outright.  Similarly the application for The Moorings had a decision of “mind to approve”.

 The public gallery was well represented by the CRASH team, concerned residents and local Town Councillors.  The applications were debated for a long period and the objections against both applications were well put forward by the CRASH team and the Town Councillors, as well as the Cheshire East Ward Councillors for Congleton.  At one point it did look as though the voting would result in a “mind to reject” decision.  However, it appeared that some board members hoped a “mind to approve” decision would result in Seddon Homes withdrawing the appeals and submitting two new applications that would then be debated next year when the Emerging Local Plan will have moved on and could then be used as a stronger argument for refusing the new planning applications.  There may be little point on Seddon Homes following this route with the “mind to approve” decisions that they have received from the board as it may be simple task for the Planning Inspectorate to make a decision – but who knows, perhaps the Planning Inspectorate will tell Seddon Homess to resubmit applications so this can be dealt with locally (here’s hoping!).

David Brown (one of our Ward Councillors) fought very hard to have the applications rejected.  David put forward sensible and compelling arguments against the proposals but these fell on deaf ears with Councillors from other wards.  It was noticeable that David was visibly annoyed by the decisions as he expected the board to make a “sensible decision”.  Thanks for your support David!

 Seddon Homes came across VERY BADLY at the meeting and their attitude on many occasions was to treat the board, and thus the Congleton community, with disdain.  Despite repeated questions from the board members it was not clear why the company had lodged an appeal just before the planning meeting.  It was said a number of times by board members that the timing of the appeals was freakishly close to the release of Cheshire East’s Draft Development Strategy, which does NOT highlight either of the Seddon Homes sites as potential development areas.  When asked whether they would withdraw the appeals if the board chose to make a decision of “mind to approve”, Seddon Homes responded very aggressively by asking the board whether they would then approve the two new applications.  There were loud murmurs of “shame”, “shocking response” and “like holding a gun to our head” from around the room.

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