Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State, has finally given the green light to Fox Strategic Land after the developer sought permission to build 280 homes in Sandbach earlier this year.
In his original announcement in February, Pickles had noted that Cheshire East Council lacked five years’ worth of housing supply, which is a requirement of the National Planning Policy Framework.
In March, the Council wrote to Pickles informing him of its new Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment, which revealed that it did, in fact, meet the criteria.
Pickles, however, said that although he had given careful consideration to the letter, the evidence was not enough for him to overturn his decision as he still didn’t feel that the plan had been assessed strongly enough.
In the correspondence, Pickles wrote:
“The SoS is of the view that the Council has not demonstrated a five year supply of deliverable housing sites against even the most favourable assessment of the five year housing requirement. The SoS finds this a factor weighing in support of the proposed development.”
Council Leader Michael Jones said that he then looked at all of the options on the table, before reconsidering the plan and choosing the next steps carefully. He said that the original strategy had failed because the Council used a different calculation method to Pickles.
Now the green light has been given, however, and those offering loft conversions in Cheshire will no doubt see increases in demand once work on the complex has been completed.