Row erupts on A500 housing and office plan
TWO councils are objecting to plans to build new offices and thousands of houses near the A500.
Councils in Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle are opposed to the plans for 2,000 houses and a business park just over the border in South Cheshire.
The housing and office scheme is included in Cheshire East's draft Local Plan which identifies sites for development.
It aims to identify land for 27,000 new homes and 300 hectares of business and general industrial land up to 2030.
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But the two Staffordshire authorities fear the plans for the houses and offices to the west of Junction 16 of the M6 will take new jobs and residents across the border.
It is claimed that the development is only being proposed to attract the cash to turn the whole stretch of the A500 into a dual-carriageway.
Newcastle Borough Councillor Mick Clarke, pictured below, who is chairman of the council's planning committee, said: "Cheshire East is saying it wants to build 2,000 houses on the A500 corridor, plus a business park with 80 per cent office space. But we are saying they should be looking at other sites. It is going to effect our town centre.
"We think there are better sites. But the issue we have is more to do with the business park than the houses.
"It would conflict with other office space in Newcastle and Stoke-on-Trent.
"We all need a thriving town centre and that means getting office space within our own conurbation.
"We feel a business park along the A500 corridor would encroach on our borders."
The city council has lodged its own objections after a meeting last month.
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said: "We, along with Newcastle Borough Council, have raised concerns over the proposals put forward by Cheshire East. We believe that plans for 2,000 homes and the development of 50 hectares of employment land along the South East Crewe Growth Corridor will have a negative effect on the ongoing regeneration of North Staffordshire.
"We do not feel there is justification to build at this location, which is within the green belt.
"We are also opposed to a significant amount of office space being created at Basford East.
"We believe there are much more suitable locations for these developments that would not have such a major impact on the regeneration of North Staffordshire."
Developers have been lodging dozens of planning applications for housing developments across Cheshire East because the authority had no local plan in place.
Cheshire East councillor David Brown, cabinet member for strategic communities, said: "We are aware of concerns around the proposed plans and will ensure that communication is constant between Cheshire East Council and neighbouring authorities to minimise concern."
Action groups have already formed to fight housing plans in the Barthomley area.
The Duchy of Lancaster revealed it wanted to build around 1,000 new homes near their village.
Viv Belcher, chairman of Barthomley Action Group Chairman, welcomed the fact that neighbouring authorities had raised concerns about the development.
He said: "I believe there are much better sites in neighbouring areas which would be better suited to this development."