PLANS to build 227 homes at Dane Valley have been unanimously rejected by a planning committee, after members raised concerns over flooding risk and design.

The plans, submitted by Ainscough Strategic Land (ASL) with Bellway Homes, had been recommended for approval before the meeting on Tuesday.

But Cheshire West and Chester Council planning committee members – who had previously approved plans for 187 homes before they fell through – felt plans did not adhere to the design code specified when outline planning permission was granted in 2014.

Developer John Brooks, from ASL, said that the other reserved matters application for 187 homes could yet be built.

He told councillors on Tuesday: “Today’s application is a preferred alternative and a more land-efficient scheme for the site.

“The site is in the council’s local plan, it is recognised in the neighbourhood plan policy, and it features in the council’s housing strategy with the expectation that it contributes to the five year supply.”

He added that the Environment Agency was happy with the planners’ floor risk assessment, and that the development would trigger a conversion of private farm land to public open space.

But Cllr Andrew Cooper, for Northwich Town Council, said the Bellway Homes plan was of ‘significantly lower quality’ than the previously approved David Wilson Homes scheme.

Cllr Cooper is one of a number of councillors to work with residents to fight the new plans, along with Cllr Helen Weltman and the town council itself.

Cllr Weltman said: “At the time [in 2013] the council could not demonstrate it had five years’ housing supply.

“The vote by the strategic planning committee was close and only approved because the committee felt that with 37 conditions the application would bring about a unique development.

“To preserve and enhance the [Dane Valley] views we need a bespoke development which meets the design code.

"Instead this application has generic properties which could be found anywhere.”

Committee member Cllr Eleanor Johnson added: “This is why I do not like outline planning applications. They come back to bite you.

“I personally think it’s wrong to be building houses anywhere that is likely to flood. People buy them in all good faith, then in a couple of years’ time could be under water.”

The plans were rejected.

Cllr Cooper said after the meeting: “It’s been a real team effort and it all just came together yesterday.

“It will be a good result for Leftwich. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no houses down there – it doesn’t make it all dead – but it’s a significant victory and we can hope that we have seen the end of this application.

“We will remain vigilant and keep looking out for anything else that may come.”