PLANS for 53 homes and a pub in open countryside at Acton near Nantwich have been recommended for refusal.

The application, for the development on land south of Monks Lane and west of Chester Road, was originally submitted in 2019.

It will be considered by the southern planning committee on Wednesday, April 3.

The proposal has received a mixed reaction from the public, with 70 sending objections to Cheshire East Council and 38 writing in support.

Among the objections are arguments the scheme is contrary to open countryside policies; it would be a visual harm to Acton village and it would have an impact on listed buildings and the conservation area.

Those supporting the scheme say the development would provide funds to maintain the Dorfold Estate, would be an improvement to the village and would provide employment opportunities.

Acton, Edleston and Henhull Parish Council has not objected but suggested a number of conditions be imposed.

Among these are giving careful consideration of the design of the ‘village green’ so that it appears as community open space and not private open space for the residents of the proposed houses.

The application, submitted by Charles Roundell, seeks full planning permission for 53 residential dwellings and parking, public house with ancillary accommodation and parking, vehicular accesses including link road between Monks Lane and Chester Road, footpaths and village green.

In a report due to go to the committee, the council’s case officer states: “Within the open countryside, only development that is essential for the purposes of agriculture, forestry, outdoor recreation, public infrastructure, essential works undertaken by public service authorities or statutory undertakers, or for other uses appropriate to a rural area will be permitted.

“The proposal does not meet any of these exceptions.”

The council’s housing officer has objected stating insufficient information has been provided in support of the application with respect to the location and tenure of the required affordable housing provision contrary.

The report also states: “The development would not provide suitable room sizes for all plots to provide sufficient living environment for future occupiers.”

It acknowledges the benefits of the proposal would be the provision of open market and 30 per cent affordable housing, but adds the weight to be given to that 'is more limited given this open countryside location and given that the council has a five-year housing land supply and is meeting and exceeding its affordable housing targets’.

With regard to the development funding improvements at Dorfold Hall, the case officer states in the report: “The LPA (local planning authority) do not consider the proposal constitutes enabling development and actually causes more harm to other heritage assets.”

The application has been recommended for refusal on six grounds.

These include the proposed development is unsustainable because it is located within the open countryside and because it would cause harm to the setting, character and appearance of the conservation area, listed buildings and historic registered park.

The southern planning committee meeting takes place at 10am on Wednesday, April 3, at Crewe Municipal Buildings.