Draft Objection – Parish Council


Formal Objection Notes for 16/01492/OUT a residential development proposal for 22 houses

Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council recently discussed Planning Application 16/01492/OUT – residential development of up to 22 dwellings with access at Northgate, Utkinton and at an Extra-ordinary Parish Council Meeting on 26th July 2016 it was resolved, unanimously, to place on record an Objection to the Application on the following grounds. This decision was taken in the light of discussions prior to the Parish Council meeting proper with 19 residents in attendance.

  • No proven need for Affordable Housing substantially above the current level of supply in the Parish
  • The lack of sustainability of the village – as evidenced in previous planning applications declined by CWaC
  • Impact on traffic and highways
  • Impact on the village and rural environment
  • Issues related to communication

Each of these is discussed below. Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council wishes to state that its research shows that the Parish as an whole is not against development per se, just developments that are seen as inappropriate for a village of its size and rural location.

Were a development of the scale any type of the one proposed to be permitted it would increase the numbers of households by 10.6% (i.e. from 208 to 230) and add 64% to the stock of affordable or social rented properties (making this latter sector some 16% of the total housing stock.

This objection is a synopsis of discussions with advisors to the Parish Council who have submitted a full and very detailed objection to Cheshire West and Chester Council Planning Team.

On behalf of the Parish Council

F Tunney – Chair



  • Housing Need Surveys
    • The Parish Council questions the veracity of the forecast housing need within the application – it is based on an extrapolation of data relating to an unsubstantiated and possible need through ‘newly formed’ family units rather than verifiable need.
    • Two previous developers (Muir Housing and Plus Dane) consulted with residents prior to submitting planning applications for this parcel of land and both withdrew their interest.  Muir Housing didn’t conduct a Housing Needs Survey, but Plus Dane did and got NO responses at all.
    • Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council have undertaken Housing Needs Surveys on three occasions (2006, 2012 and 2016) and the results show a degree of consistency in terms of the immediate needs
      • 2006 (86 responses = 36% return)
        • 2 units of accommodation immediately,
        • 3 units within five years
      • 2012 (156 responses = 48.1% return)
        • 4 people wanted Affordable and 1 Sheltered immediately
        • 17 people wanted Affordable and 9 Sheltered within 5 Yrs
        • 16 people wanted Affordable and 18 Sheltered within 10 Yrs
      • 2016 (68 responses = 22.8% return +1 received after the deadline)
        • The responses indicated that 3 people (1 individual and 1 couple) would require affordable housing over the next 3 years.
      • There are already social rented houses (22) in the village and the average ‘churn’ is for 1.75 a year so most of the need identified in the surveys may be met through Weaver Vale Housing Trust
      • It should be noted that in each of the three Housing Surveys there was an acceptance that some development of affordable housing would be required but in neither of the surveys was it to the levels indicated by this Planning Application. The most recent was a 52% response rate in favour of a small development (c.4/5) of affordable accommodation.
      • The applicant proposes that this would be a rural exception site.  In fact it is not really adjacent to the settlement boundary
      • It is within an ASCV (Area of Special County Value)
      • The mix of houses proposed falls outside of SOC2 Policy of 30% for market housing (8 / 22 = 36.4%)
    • Unsustainability of the village
      • Utkinton is a rural village of 208 households with 426 residents listed on the 2015/6 Electoral Register and part of a parish with Cotebrook.
      • It sits approximately 1.6 miles by road to its Key Service Centre – Tarporley
      • The village does not enjoy a regular bus service, only ‘dial-a-ride’ services provided by ‘Tarporley Shuttle’ (bookable between 09:30 and 14:30 Monday to Friday) and ‘Rural Rider’ Bookable for services between Utkinton and Northwich (Wednesday and Friday mornings and Winsford Wednesday and Friday Afternoons). These services are not suitable for any resident wishing to connect with full and regular bus services from Tarporley to Chester and Crewe for the purpose of employment or for visiting a hospital. This lack of connectivity therefore creates a demand for an increased use of private cars or taxis.
      • Utkinton residents have no access to Health Services (Doctors, Dentists or Pharmacies) except by private car
      • There is no safe footway or cycle way between Utkinton and it’s Key Service Centre putting further pressure on the use of private cars
      • The only employment opportunities in the village are located at Rose Farm Shop and its associated businesses and anyone seeking employment in the immediate area would require a their own transport or taxi.
      • Conversations with the employees at the shop and its various offshoots (Café, Car wash, Garden centre and the shop itself) suggest a large degree of unease with the siting of such a large development so close to the facility and its future as a village hub.
      • The village has few amenities;
        • A village hall with parking for 4 vehicles and a tennis court
        • A shop
        • A Church of England Primary School
      • Impact on transport and highways
        • If each ‘affordable unit’ had access to a single car and the market accommodation an average of two cars, that would mean 30 more private cars in the village and Part 1 and the NPPF actively discourage development which necessitate an increase in car usage, preferring development to be located in more sustainable places where there is public transport – which there is plainly not in Utkinton.
      • Location
        • The proposed development sits outside the proposed CWaC Local Plan 2 and existing ‘Village Settlement Boundaries’ and CWaC have already refused applications for two single properties that fell outside the Village Settlement Boundary – In one of these case (Rowley Hill Farm) Utkinton was decsribed as; a ‘hamlet’ and ‘unsustainable’ by the CWaC Planning Committee.
        • However, this site is being considered (by CWaC) as a Rural Exception Site for affordable housing which is different, but there is the question of whether the site can be considered to be adjacent to the village or not … its’ boundary touches the Village Settlement Boundary along a very small percentage of its perimeter adjacent to the garden of Bumblebee Hall and No 16 Northgate
        • Many villagers have said that they would like to see the field as an amenity for the community – perhaps with a small number of houses to make it viable.
      • Potential impact on communications
        • Whilst not covered as part of ‘sustainability’ the level of remote working in the village was evidenced in the 2012 research for the Parish Plan. Broadband was installed in the village two years later. However, the existing BT Green Box and the one for BT Fibre Broadband were designed to accommodate the number of premises when the ‘Phase 1 roll-out was planned – approx. 2011’. (From ‘Connecting Cheshire’).