Inquiry date for Chester flood plain homes plan – ChesterChronicle.co.uk

Posted: June 14, 2017 at 4:39 am

Its groundhog day for campaigners who must once again attend a planning inquiry to fight a 142-homes scheme in the Chester flood plain.

A government decision to refuse the plan at Clifton Drive playing fields off Sealand Road, following the first inquiry, was overturned by the High Court.

This means a second inquiry will be held at Ellesmere Port Civic Hall from July 11, presided over by the original inspector, Richard Clegg.

Friends of North Chester Greenbelt will present the same arguments as last time about why homes should not be built in the River Dee flood zone although the plan was actually supported by Cheshire West and Chester Council back in December 2014.

Spokesman Andy Scargill said: The whole thing stinks. The site is inappropriate for building on. Its category three flood plain which means its all liable to flooding to a considerable depth should the River Dee rupture. The embankment flood protection was built in 1790. The Environment Agency says if you were building it today, you wouldnt build it like that. The whole idea is a nonsense.

The successful legal challenge by developers Bark Street was based on a change in circumstances referenced in a council officer's report on a similar 130-homes scheme targeting flood plain on the other side of Clifton Drive.

Legal advice in that case indicated alternative nearby sites, less prone to flooding, were no longer available to applicants Bloor Homes and Sealand Commercial Properties although the scheme still failed the exceptions test because on balance the project would cause more harm than good.

The High Court ruled this fresh information, about the lack of alternative sites, should have been taken into account by the Secretary of State in the Bark Street application.

An appeal was lodged by Bloor Homes and Sealand Commercial Properties against CWaCs decision to reject their 130-dwelling scheme in Clifton Drive but this was later withdrawn. However, Sealand Commercial Properties, in partnership with developers Astu, are targeting the same land with a larger 280-homes scheme, called Ogilvie Park, but also improved flood protection and a proposed public park. A decision is awaited.

Mr Scargill, who has noticed both Bark Street and Astu are registered to Richmond House in Guernsey, added: The community came up with a Local Plan which did not include either of these parcels of land. That should be the end of it. We shouldnt have speculators coming over from Guernsey buying up pieces of cheap unsuitable land in the hope of building houses in order to make a profit.

Continued here:

Inquiry date for Chester flood plain homes plan - ChesterChronicle.co.uk

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