A MAJOR housebuilder has been rebuffed in its plans to increase a Hartford housing development from 279 homes to 537.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee rejected Redrow’s plan to add 258 homes to its Hollies site, off School Lane, Hartford, on Tuesday evening.

It comes after 139 objections were sent to CWAC against the development, while Hartford Parish Council also raised fears about the loss of open space and an increase in traffic congestion as a result of the larger development.

Cllr Patricia Parkes, Conservative CWAC member for Hartford and Greenbank, told the committee: “This development does not meet the needs of the community, it will only exacerbate the traffic problems and we are in dire need of amenities such as a library, a dentist and a medical centre.

“The highways officer accepts that the general Hartford area suffers from existing congestion issues in the peak traffic periods, and the addition of the likely traffic from this development will exert further pressure on this situation.”

CWAC’s recently-adopted Northwich Transport Strategy highlights the Hartford corridor as a congestion hotspot – but officers still recommended the scheme for approval.

Cllr Sam Naylor, Labour CWAC member for Winnington and Castle, has lived in Hartford for 40 years – and he told the planning committee that major housing developments and traffic congestion had been imposed upon the area ‘against our will’ over the past decade.

He added: “All I would ask you to do is take localism seriously, take Hartford’s neighbourhood plan seriously, take the Northwich Transport Strategy seriously, take the views of Hartford Parish Council and residents seriously, and take the views of two elected CWAC councillors seriously.”

Redrow had originally intended to build 350 homes at its Hollies development after receiving planning permission at appeal in 2013.

But after time ran out for the housebuilder to complete that scheme, Redrow submitted plans to build a total of 537 homes on a larger area of land than first approved.

“The proposed residential development of 258 units offers the opportunity to deliver a mix of new homes on land in a highly sustainable location,” said Tim Noden, representing the developer.

“This would make an important contribution to meeting growing market and affordable housing needs within the borough, and in doing so, reduce the need for development in less sustainable locations in the borough.”

Opening the debate, Cllr Jill Houlbrook, Conservative, said: “There’s an awful lot of information we have received, both from our report and these figures, which makes me think that this application is not the right application, in the right place at the right time.”

But Cllr Tom Blackmore, Labour, insisted it would be difficult to go against the recommendation of officers because of the ‘penalty CWAC could incur’.

Members voted to reject the scheme by five to four – suggesting it went against national planning policy, CWAC’s local plan and Hartford’s neighbourhood plan due to the potential increase in traffic congestion.