PLANS for an affordable housing development in Northwich town centre have been turned down by an inspector because of safety fears.

The proposal for 16 houses, two bungalows and 21 apartments at Peter Street was originally rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) in September last year.

Applicants Strategic Team Group and Adactus Housing appealed against this decision but inspector Mark Caine dismissed the appeal because of road safety issues.

In his report Mr Caine describes the surrounding area as residential and made up of terraced housing, with little off-street car parking.

On street parking takes place on both sides of Peter Street, which makes the road too narrow for two cars to pass each other.

CWAC argued that the 39 homes would generate significantly more traffic and that drivers would be forced to reverse along Peter Street because of a lack of passing places, increasing the risk of conflict and collisions.

The applicants submitted a survey to suggest that the area has a spare 16 spaces during the day but this was rejected by the inspector in favour of information from residents.

Mr Caine said: "This situation would be likely to be intensified in the evenings and weekends (as shown in local residents' photographs), when residents are more likely to be at home, and understandably seek to park at or near their place of residence.

"As such I am unable to conclude that the data within the survey is representative of the general level of car parking that currently takes place on the appeal site, Peter Street or Elm Street."

He added: "I do not consider the appellants' beat survey to be comprehensive or robust," he said.

"Insufficient evidence has therefore been advanced to demonstrate that a safe and suitable access to the proposal could be provided.

"On this basis I am unable to conclude with any degree of confidence that the amount of traffic associated with the proposed development would not have a significantly harmful effect on the safe and efficient operation of the highway network in the vicinity of the appeal site."

Cllr Andrew Cooper, from Northwich Town Council, said: "This will be hugely welcome news for residents of Peter Street, many of whom have worked really hard throughout this process and never gave up."