Third attempt to build 150 homes on Chester flood risk area branded ‘nonsense’ – Cheshire Live

Posted: September 18, 2020 at 1:17 am

A third application to build up to 150 homes in Chester has been lodged with Cheshire West & Chester Council.

For the third time in five years an application to build on land adjacent to Clifton Drive playing fields off Sealand Road has been submitted despite the previous two attempts being unanimously rejected.

The latest application is being submitted by the administrators of former applicant Sealand Commercial Properties Limited (SCP), with Smith & Williamson looking to try and recoup some money by making a last ditch attempt to get the green light.

The plans submitted are for 150 homes with the demolition of four properties on Sealand Road to create access.

The issue over Clifton Drive and the land for the proposed development opposite has rumbled on for a number of years, the previous applications rejected owing to the land being designated a Category Three flood area, one that comes with a very high risk.

In 2015 a bid was submitted for the site by Bloor Homes and SCP before another arrived a little over 12 months when Guernsey-based Astu, again in partnership with SCP, had their application for 280 residential units rejected.

Andy Scargill, chairman of the Friends of Countess of Chester Country Park, has campaigned on the issue in the past and believes this latest attempt to be 'total nonsense'.

"Back in 2012 the old Chester City Council had a report commissioned on the flood plain area that these plans are looking to build on and in each scenario that was modelled the area flooded," Mr Scargill told CheshireLive.

"If the embankment goes then it would be very serious and there would be a huge issue with regards to flooding.

"The administrators on this occasion are obviously trying to recoup what they can so are dipping their toe into the water with this plan again, possibly in the hope that Brexit and COVID-19 will have people distracted enough for them to get outline planning, which is all they really need for the land to be of real value.

"I don't blame them, they are clawing back cash for people who have lost a lot, but my own personal view is that it is total nonsense.

"I'm angry and amused at the same time that someone would consider such a move at such a time like we are currently experiencing.

"I've said it before now but speculators don't care about Chester, they are not from the area and care about the profit and not about what is best for the city and its residents."

Back in February 2018 planning consent was given to Bark Street Investments for 142 homes on the Clifton Drive playing fields site opposite, land which the University of Chester still own the leasehold of.

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That application was initially rejected before being overturned in 2016 by the High Court, an inquiry opened by the Secretary of State who upheld the decision.

But the land still remains undeveloped.

"When Clifton Drive got planning permission I felt like throwing in the towel," said Mr Scargill.

"The Local Plan had enough housing for 25 years so there was no need for such a development to be pushed through. For a Planning Inspector to say yes to it I found staggering.

"It is land that should never be built upon."

The deadline for comments on the proposals is Friday, September 25.

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Third attempt to build 150 homes on Chester flood risk area branded 'nonsense' - Cheshire Live

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