WEAVER Vale MP Mike Amesbury has raised concerns over a planning appeal which saw permission granted for 67 log cabins in Delamere Forest.

The controversial plans had been rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Council, but the decision was overturned in February by the government’s planning inspectorate – a department overseen by the secretary of state for communities.

After he was contacted by concerned residents, Mike wrote to the then-communities secretary Sajid Javid expressing his opposition to the greenbelt plans being taken out of borough councillors’ hands.

But in a response received from Jake Berry MP, minister for the Northern Powerhouse and local growth, the Government rebuffed Mike’s concerns, saying that the decision was carried out by a planning inspector who took all such issues into account.

Mike said: “This raises serious worries that the views of councillors who have been democratically-elected by communities to put the concerns of those communities ahead of business interests can just be brushed aside so easily.

“This is precious ancient woodland and should be kept intact for future generations.

“The further worry is where does it end and what does it mean for our Green Belt in years to come?”

In March 2017, a CWAC planning committee unanimously rejected the plans for 67 short-stay residences and associated works, including a renovation of the visitors’ centre within the forest.

But planning inspector Paul Singleton found during the appeal case that the development was sustainable.

Mr Berry said: “I understand that the development includes 67 holiday cabins and note that some of the concerns raised regarded the increased use of vehicles within the forest as a result of the cabins.

“I see from the decision letter that this matter was considered by the inspector – the matter of vehicles and pedestrian safety, and how the scheme plans to mitigate the impact of the additional vehicles within the forest.

“I appreciate that there was strong opposition to the development and I note that the objections made were taken into consideration by the inspector. However, the inspector was appointed to reach his own decision on behalf of the secretary of state.

“Overall conclusions are reached from a balancing of the evidence for and against a development, alongside the relevant planning policies and any material considerations, whereby an inspector must then make a decision on the planning merits of the case.