Councillors have given the go-ahead for a Middlewich housing estate despite one saying ‘we are condemning children to live in upstairs flats without adequate play areas’.

The 235-home scheme on land off Warmingham Lane was approved by Cheshire East’s strategic planning board today (Wednesday), with seven councillors voting in favour and three against.

The principle of development on the 15-hectare site had already been accepted in 2018 when outline permission was granted for up to 235 residential properties.

Councillors today were considering the reserved matters application from Jones Homes dealing with the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development.

The proposal was for 12 one-bedroom dwellings, 38 two-bed homes, 91 three-bed houses, 77 four-bed and 17 five-bedroom houses.

The scheme includes 10 per cent affordable housing.

Cllr Stewart Gardiner was critical of the affordable housing element – particularly two-bedroom flats being provided for families instead of houses.

“I do find it worrying that we think it’s appropriate to provide affordable family homes in apartments without private gardens,” he said.

The councillor said the agent had admitted the scheme had been designed as presented ‘to maximise profit’ – and suggested the application be deferred so the council’s officers could tell the developer the family accommodation must be in houses with gardens.

“We are condemning children to live in upstairs flats without adequate play areas for them to play in that are safe and appropriate,” said Cllr Gardiner.

The deferral was never moved formally.

Middlewich councillor Garnet Marshall also raised concerns about the application.

“I can see this whole estate is there because of the fact Middlewich didn’t have a Neighbourhood Plan to specify where this kind of estate could be put,” he told the committee.

“I do have serious worries about the effect on Warmingham Lane in terms of the increased traffic."

He also said the estate didn’t seem to connect to Middlewich as a town.

“All these estates that have been built become estates in their own right and not part of the town itself,” said Cllr Marshall.

But other councillors praised the scheme.

Cllr Heather Seddon said: “I think there are positives to this design.

“There is a lot of green open space… the frontage will have mature oak trees so it will look nice.

“We’ve got the ponds and the play area, 20mph zone, heat pumps.”

Cllr Lesley Smetham said: “I rather think this looks like a very nice development with all the green around it and the mixture of properties and I think a lot of people don’t want gardens any more I’ve heard.”

Cllr Ken Edwards moved the application be approved saying: “It does seem to me that it is pretty well-planned with a pretty large quantity of open space.”

He added: “This is an allocated space for a development.”

The move to approve was seconded by Cllr Seddon and the scheme was granted permission, as per officers’ recommendations, with conditions.