MAJOR plans for 300 new homes and a school could spark traffic chaos in Cheadle, it was claimed this week.
Developers Persimmon Homes (North West) have submitted details of a scheme to build 125 properties east of Froghall Road.
The company is also seeking outline permission for 175 houses and a primary school at the site, which is north of Ayr Road and Cheltenham Avenue.
First news of the scheme emerged in September last year, but details of the project have now been put forward to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
And community leaders are already calling for it to be turned down – fearing the project, which could generate more than 600 extra cars, could lead to gridlock on town roads.
The 12.5 hectare site is described by the council as the ‘Cheadle North Strategic Development Area’ within the draft Staffordshire Moorlands Local Plan.
The first phase of the scheme, for 125 homes, sets out plans for 45 four-bedroom, 37 three-bedroom and 43 two-bedroom predominantly two-storey units.
It includes provision of a play area to the north east, aimed at children between the ages of three and nine which would combine with an existing games area near Donkey Lane.
Primary access to the site would be from Froghall Road via a priority controlled junction.
Phase two of the project, for 175 homes, would feature a new primary school, including a sports facility.
But town and district councillor Peter Wilkinson is leading a call for the scheme to be thrown out.
He said: “This would be an absolute nightmare for existing residents and I’ll fight it all the way.
“I know Cheadle has been earmarked for new housing and we have to accept that, but this development would be in entirely the wrong place.
“Building so many houses in Froghall Road would put hundreds of extra cars into a traffic system that cannot cope as it is.
“The town will become gridlocked because the roads would simply be unable to take it.
“If they’re going to build new houses in the area, they should build them closer to the A50, and include a link road so much of the extra traffic could avoid the town centre.
“The district council has a National Policy Framework in place which insists any development must make the lives of residents better.
“But this would make it alot worse, particularly for people in that part of the town.”
Cllr Richard Alcock, also a member of the district council, insisted he was dead against the plan.
He said: “The roads in Cheadle are absolutely full of traffic as it is and this would make it a hell of a lot worse.
“There’s absolutely no capacity for hundreds more cars in the town and I hope to God that the planners see sense and turn it down, but I don’t think for one minute that they will.”
Cllr Julie Bull believes the scheme is premature.
She said: “The Local Development Framework has not yet been adopted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, so the developers are jumping ahead of the game.
“But now plans have been submitted, we need to address the issues.
“The Froghall Road and Leek Road area already suffers from debilitating congestion at the busiest times of the day and this scheme would certainly make it worse.
“The ideal site for a new school would be more central in the north east ward, perhaps in Churchill, Road or Oakamoor Road – that would make it more accessible for youngsters.
“300 houses seems like extreme over-development of the site and I would urge anyone who has concerns to write to the district council as soon as possible.”
The scheme has also come under fire from campaigners Moorlands United Planning Action Group.
Chairman Nick Cresswell said: “Our main issue with this is the lack of infrastructure and we have major concerns regarding the road network.
“The town can’t handle the amount of traffic currently, so I’m afraid it’s a case of ‘putting the cart before the horse’.
“The council should have sorted out the problems we face with traffic before considering any more plans to build extra houses in the first place.
“SMDC have ignored public concerns and residents views once again, all they seem to care about is the thousands of pounds worth of bonuses they’ll receive with the new houses built. They’re still treating the residents with contempt.”
An independent transport assessment carried out last month by Croft Transport Solutions concluded phase one of the scheme, for 125 houses, would have a ‘negligible’ impact on the road network.
But it found the addition of 300 units and a school would lead to ‘long delays and excessive vehicle queuing’.
Studies showed journey times on the Tape Street and Leek Road corridor, which acts as an arterial route through the town centre, would be ‘notably increased’ during the morning rush hour.
The report said such high levels of additional traffic demand, in addition to cumulative impacts of plans already in place – which include plans to build homes at nearby Cecilly Brook – would cause the road network to become congested.
The report added: “The existing level of infrastructure is unable to facilitate the high level of demand throughout the peak afternoon period, causing a detrimental impact to overall network performance.
“It is therefore likely that there will be capacity issues at Ayr Road.”
The developers have promised to provide land for the school and access to the site at no cost to the Local Education Authority – and values such a contribution at more than £670,000.
Persimmon would also provide play areas and has offered more than £260,000 towards improving the capacity of the town centre road network.
A planning statement submitted alongside the plan said: “The site is already identified as the first choice for an extension of the urban area of Cheadle in the adopted Staffordshire Moorlands core strategy.
“Our analysis has quantified the economic benefits from the construction and occupation of the housing to which must be added those from the construction and operation of the school.
“The delivery of market and affordable housing, the provision of a new educational facility, the proposed shared use of the multi-use games area and the laying out of allotments will all have social benefits.
“Although some greenfield land will be lost, there is scope to mitigate landscape and ecology impacts and the site is in a highly sustainable location.
“The balance of arguments in favour of the proposed development is overwhelming and planning permission should be granted without delay in accordance with the Government’s planning policy agenda to boost significantly the supply of housing.”
A landscape and visual appraisal concluded the site would provide a ‘logical extension of the town’ to the north.
It said a ‘relatively small number of residents will have significant visual changes as a result of the development’, but the ‘effects as a result of the development would not give rise to any unacceptable landscape and visual harm’.
Public consultation on the scheme opened this week and will run until May 9.
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