Housing estate hit by cash row
A DEVELOPER behind controversial plans to build 51 houses is refusing to pay £137,000 towards school and road improvements.
Cheshire East Council ordered Bellway Homes to pay the cash when it approved the plans to build 51 homes in Crewe.
The council told Bellway Homes to:
Pay £51,000 towards the construction of the Crewe Green Link Road, or use the cash to make improvements at the junction of Gresty Road and South Street, with Nantwich Road, in Crewe;
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Pay £86,268 towards education provision;
Ensure 18 of the homes were classed as affordable.
But Bellway Homes has now contacted the council to say it cannot make the payments because of rising costs at the site at Gresty Green Road, in Shavington Cum Gresty. It also wants to halve the number of affordable properties.
The developer is blaming the problem on spiralling "abnormal" groundwork costs, which include £250,000 for drainage, £130,200 foundation costs and £361,269 on external works.
Now council planners are recommending that Bellway Homes's request is rejected by councillors at a meeting on Wednesday.
A report to the council's strategic planning board says: "The proposed development would not provide the required level of affordable housing or make any contributions to local education provision or highways infrastructure.
"The proposal would, therefore, not create a sustainable, inclusive, mixed and balanced community.
"The benefits of allowing this development would be limited and would be outweighed by the significant and demonstrable adverse impact."
More than 240 people objected to the Gresty Green Road housing plan at a meeting last year.
It was approved at around the same time as councillors backed proposals to build 650 properties north of Remer Street, in Crewe, and 400 more homes on vacant land north of Parkers Road, in the Leighton area of Crewe.
Shavington First councillor David Brickhill, who opposed the Gresty Green Road application, said: "It is very rare to have a retrospective refusal, it's practically unheard of.
"We did say the land would flood. The costs of looking after that is quite high.
"The application should now be refused, as the officers have said.
"We should say that Bellway Homes should build the houses with all the original conditions, or they can get lost.
"We didn't want the damn thing in the first place."
Objector Paul McHugh, of Crewe Road, Shavington, said: "I wish the council had never given planning approval in the first place.
"It was known that there were drainage problems with this site. Nothing has changed. "The developers were well aware of the drainage issue and their obligation for affordable housing.
"To come back now and say they can't afford it is a bit incompetent."
Bellway Homes declined to comment.