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Member Update – Macclesfield Rugby Club

Dear Member                                            9th August 2017

We wanted to provide an update regarding progress of the “full planning” application for the development of the Priory Park site (reference no 16/6237M) submitted to Cheshire East Council in December 2016.  The application was registered in January 2017 with a targeted Planning Committee date of the April 2017.

What has been Cheshire Easts response to date?

As part of the consultee response process we were asked to provide further ecology surveys (as well as the comprehensive surveys undertaken in 2016) to support the application.  Unfortunately, the further Badger and Bat Surveys that were requested are seasonal and could only take place in May and June 2017.     

As part of the application the Club was required to submit a “Viability Assessment”.  The Viability Assessment justifies the number of houses required to ensure the funding of the Club’s redevelopment plans to secure its long term future.  The Local Authority was not able to instruct a consultant to review our Viability Assessment for two months.  The Viability Assessment underpins the whole planning application and planning argument so this has inevitably introduced some delay.

Over the course of the spring and summer, we have received a number of additional queries, particularly relating to the costs included in the submission.  In order to progress matters, a roundtable meeting with the consultants is taking place on August 18th.

As part of the Viability Assessments submission, negotiations have been ongoing with the Local Authority over the “Planning Gain Financial Contribution” that demonstrates that the development should provide towards education and highways improvements at Priory Lane/Alderley Road junction.  We are actively chasing feedback from the Local Planning Authority.

In terms of further consultee responses, there are no objections from the Council consultees on noise, contaminated land, drainage, ecology, Public Rights Of Way, and comments provided by United Utilities, Sport England and the Environment Agency. An outstanding objection from the Tree Officer is being negotiated and we expect to have resolved the matter this month.

When is the application going to be decided?

There is no Strategic Planning Committee Meeting at which this application could be determined in July 2017.  Consequently, the application is targeted for the August 2017 Planning Committee.  There are two Strategic Planning Board Committee Meetings in August 2017, the first being the start of the month and one at the end of the month.  Given the matters outstanding and reliance on third parties’ support, the application will not achieve the first meeting in August. This is because the Planning Case Officer at Cheshire East Council is on leave until late July 2017 and will not have sufficient time to compile the planning report. Consequently, we are targeting for the 29th August Planning Committee.

To lay the foundation for a positive decision, a press release was issued in June 2017 that was published in the Macclesfield Express and the Club Chairman has invited the Ward Councillors to an update meeting with the Club. Members of the Planning Committee will receive an update letter before the Committee Meeting in August 2017.  We also encourage Members of the Club to attend the meeting in their Club attire.   

How does the application timeframe compare to King’s School?

As a comparison, the King’s School residential application was registered in November 2016 and determined at Committee 8 months later in July 2016.  Should the application be heard at the Committee in August 2017 then determination will be on the same timeframe (8 months).  It then took 5 months for King’s to resolve their Legal agreement to secure planning Gain and receive their Decision Notice.  King’s will still need to apply for detailed planning approval on their residential which is likely to take a further 9 months to achieve.  Unlike King’s, we have a full planning application with the Local Authority for the Rugby Club so there will be no need for any further application to be submitted (see figure below).   

Activities of the Delivery Panel

The Club, Emery Planning and Jones Homes are working hard to ensure that the permission we get is right for the Club.  Work is also ongoing through the Local Plan process to promote the site for housing to fund the Club’s plans. This is a safety net should the planning application not be successful.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the members for the immense support received to date and we thank you in advance for your continued support.

Estimated timelines for major activities in the re-development of Priory Park. Click on the image to enlarge.

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