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'Chronic' housing shortage in Cheshire West laid bare
HOMES on rural Greenfields were granted planning permission due in part to Cheshire West and Chester council’s ‘chronic’ lack of housing supply.
A Government planning inspector says ‘rapid and decisive’ moves are now needed to redress their ‘demonstrably poor’ performance in maintaining enough dwellings in the borough.
The findings are highlighted in a planning appeal report refusing permission for 100 new homes in Tarporley, which were subsequently given the green light by the Secretary of State.
The highlighted deficit comes amid a new 950-home ‘urban village’ being granted planning permission in Wincham.
In a ruling that has implications for the rest of the borough, Eric Pickles’ move to overturn the Tarporley decision hinged on CWAC possessing less than half the houses it needs under Government targets.
Cheshire West is expected to be able to show a five year supply of houses under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), but ‘cannot even show a three-year supply of sites’ reports planning inspector, Keith Manning.
Having previously acknowledged a 2.3 year supply, the NPPF requires an additional 20 per cent buffer, ‘effectively reducing the relevant supply to only 1.9 years’ he adds.
The report says the borough is 4,500 houses short and ‘the council has no choice other than to release greenfield sites beyond settlement boundaries if housing needs are to be met, now and through the development plan in due course’.
“Sites that are sustainably located and where harm does not demonstrably outweigh benefits should be released without delay,” says the report.
It adds the recession has ‘served to aggravate what appears to be a markedly poor performance in terms of housing delivery’ and the council are now ‘in a position of having to now robustly and urgently address its housing land supply.’ The report says CWAC’s Core Strategy is still two years from introducing measures to combat the shortfall, leaving the council with policies that are ‘out of date’.
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