A 5,700-signature petition opposing Poynton Pool ‘safety’ works might not be discussed when presented to the economy and growth committee next week amid claims considering it may prejudice the live planning application.

The petition will be presented to Friday’s (January 26) economy and growth committee meeting where the recommendation is to receive and note it.

But a report from the council’s officers says matters raised in the petition will be the subject of scrutiny from the strategic planning board when the application is considered at a later date.

It says because the proposal is subject to a live planning application to which the council is a participant, ‘it may not be appropriate at this time for the [economy and growth] committee to consider the petition any further as this may prejudice the ongoing planning application’.

Poynton Pool is classed as a large high-risk reservoir, which means an uncontrolled release of water could endanger human life.

Northwich Guardian: Poynton PoolPoynton Pool (Image: Geoff Jennings)

The council, as landowner, has a legal obligation to carry out works to ensure the reservoir is safe and, following a safety inspection, submitted a planning application to do work to prevent possible future flooding.

Residents say the pool, which was built more than 250 years ago, has never overflowed or breached the dam.

At the time of writing more than 1,500 emails have been sent to the council objecting to the planning application.

In the meantime the petition, organised by Friends of Poynton Pool, is due to be presented to the economy and growth committee next week.

The petition argues the proposed removal of between 35 and 81 trees to enable improvements to the dam between the pool and London Road North is excessive.

And it says the proposed works are based on a ‘flawed’ study and that Cheshire East is pressing ahead despite less harmful alternatives being available.

Northwich Guardian: Poynton PoolPoynton Pool (Image: Andy Robinson)

The signatories are calling on the council to review the 2019 Poynton Reservoir Flood Study and,  if the review deems works should be carried out to the dam, they ask that:

  • the most environmentally friendly identified solutions are employed, with the objective of causing minimal disruption to the landscape, the ecology and the public enjoyment of the park;
  • any cost/benefit analysis of the project includes both a capital asset value for amenity trees to account for the loss of amenity, and the DEFRA biodiversity offsetting metric to calculate a biodiversity net gain resulting from the project;
  • any subsequent mitigation planting is within the town boundaries.

The council officer states, in the committee report: “The council has to deliver a scheme which is unpopular with local residents but not to do so would see it contravene its statutory obligations.

“It has sought to mitigate this issue by engagement with the public and seeking alternative solutions, unfortunately these have not delivered a viable alternative.

“However, through this exercise the council has received and tested proposed alternatives and also refined its proposals based on the comments and feedback it has received.”

The planning application for the £1.38m scheme is due to be considered by the strategic planning board at the end of February – although that date might change.

Among the 1,500 plus emails on the planning portal objecting to the application is  a holding objection registered by the Woodland Trust ‘on account of its potential impact on a number of veteran trees’.

Cheshire East Council’s principal nature conservation officer has also this week raised a number of concerns.

The planning application, number 23/4152M, can be viewed on the planning portal on Cheshire East Council’s website.