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Planning Committee

Planning Committee – 14th September 2023

Time: 7.00pm

Location: Congleton Town Hall

Contact: David McGifford – Chief Officer Tel: 01260 270350 Email: info@congleton-tc.gov.uk

The following members sit on the Planning Committee:

Ex Officio Members: Councillor Rob Moreton (Town Mayor) and Councillor Kay Wesley (Deputy Mayor)

Printable Agenda & Reports Pack 621KB


1. Apologies for Absence

Members are reminded of the necessity to give apologies in advance of the meeting and to give reasons for absence.

2. Minutes of Previous Meetings

To approve the minutes of the meeting 17th August 2023

3. Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

Members are requested to declare both “non-pecuniary” and “pecuniary” interests
as early in the meeting as they become aware of it.

4. Outstanding Actions

To review any outstanding actions from previous meetings and to provide an update on any work in progress.

14.3.23 Astbury Place /Congleton park bridge Section 106 – Briefing note from David Malcolm CEC Planning 


Following various false starts and lack of action from Morris Homes (including threats of legal action),  momentum was finally achieved in 2022 and the Council held several meetings with Morris Homes to understand the options for retrospective installation of the footbridge, alongside agreeing the necessary Licenses, Agreement for Lease and Heads of Terms.  Formal site investigations were completed in summer 2022, which resulted in a package of technical information alongside side a suite of documents including the bridge designs and a programme of works submitted towards the end of last year.  A number of further queries arose from that information which Morris Homes responded to in February this year.

 It is evident that when the footbridge was proposed on the original planning application (and included in the legal agreement) that no significant details of the bridge and its construction were considered (other than what it might look like).  Notwithstanding this,  there is a breach of the legal agreement and the homes have now been constructed, and therefore it is the recently submitted information that provides the level of detail and the understanding as to the impact of construction.


The construction of the bridge and the plant (vehicles, cranes etc) required to transport/construct the bridge can only take place from the Congleton Park side.  Investigations of a lighter bridge solution are not possible due to the span required.

 Loss of Trees

While some tree loss was expected as part of the original approval, the extent of tree removal alongside the embankment is significant and of potential concern and would require significant mitigation (space to do this?).

 Park and Pitches

Construction access via the park would lead to a significant closure of the park itself, with an estimated programme period of 35 weeks.  There would also need to be a proposed haul road across the rugby pitch(s) and its subsequent remediation which would have an impact on the use of the rugby pitch for at least one season possibly 2.

 River Dane

This river system is notably active in terms of erosion and riverbank stability and the introduction of a new asset into this river system may also bring with it new, future maintenance liabilities from a flood hazard and public risk perspective.   Removal of trees along this embankment may also affect stability without appropriate safeguards.

 Approvals and Consents

It is noted that various permissions and licences will be required from the Council and other Governing bodies (e.g. the Environment Agency) both to install the bridge and for its maintenance over the parkland in perpetuity.  Further consideration will be given to this once a scheme is agreed and finalised. 

 Suitable Alternatives

Should the cost / benefit impacts of the bridge not support its construction then it may be that through negotiation with Morris Homes an alternative solution for s106 monies could be facilitated as mitigation – such as other local pedestrian/accessibility improvements.  This would ultimately be a committee decision as a variation to the original planning permission.  Officers are now waiting for a response as to whether this is something that Morris Homes would consider and/or the nature of the contribution.

 You will appreciate the sensitivities/uncertainties, particularly around the potential impact on the park and the pitches, and therefore until there is further certainty on the direction of travel and discussions with Morris Homes, I would be grateful if you could just keep this information to yourselves for now.  I will send an update to the Town Council and some local residents but without some of the specifics.

 Next steps

Once I receive an update from Morris Homes I can arrange a further briefing to hopefully provide greater certainty on either moving forward with the bridge or prepare papers for an alternative option.


Tree Protection order at the Church House – CEC update 7.9.23

Further to your initial report on 13th August 2021 an Officer attended site on the same week and spoke to the Manager of The Church House who confirmed that they were redeveloping the area where the Ash was located to create more outside seating. Part of that revamp had included removal of the Weeping Ash. However, Robinsons brewery acknowledged they had miscalculated the reaction of the local people and were apparently shelving the idea while they considered alternatives, therefore the risk of the tree being removed was considered to have subsided.

Due to its location to the road frontage with Buxton Road the tree was found to offer high public amenity and be of good vitality at the time of the first assessment in 2021. There had been several large limbs removed which had resulted in large, partially occluded wounds. There was noted to be evidence of die-back to small diameter branches in the canopy which is very typical of this variety of Ash. Weeping Ash are not a particularly long-lived species and are prone to carrying dead wood and branch break out, and that is without the added prevalence of Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) which is pretty much considered endemic to Cheshire East now. The suitability of applying formal protection to a tree which is over mature for a grafted Ash, with the species characteristics described above, in an area which the public have access to, and given its anticipated limited future growth potential are all factors which have been instrumental in not making a Tree Preservation Order to date.

A final evaluation of the trees health and appearance will be carried out over the next few weeks, and if you are able to provide advice as to whether you have received any recent information that leads you to believe the tree is once again at imminent risk of removal, this will be taken into account within the final assessment.

5. Questions from Members of the Public

There will be 15 minutes at each meeting to receive any questions from Members of
the Public, either verbally at the meeting including those which have been received
in writing 7 days prior to the meeting.

6. Urgent Items

Members may raise urgent items related to this committee, but no discussion or decisions may be taken at the meeting.

7. Planning Applications Section 1

To note or comment as appropriate on planning applications lodged with Cheshire East Council.
For members of the public who are wishing to comment about specific applications at the meeting.

8. Neighbourhood Plan (Enclosed)

To receive notes from the meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Development Working Group and Urban Imprint

9. Planning Appeals

To note or comment as appropriate on planning appeals lodged with Cheshire East Council.

10. Licensing Applications

To note or comment as appropriate on licensing applications lodged with Cheshire East Council.

Application from: The Wharf Inn, 121 Canal Road, Congleton, CW12 3AP

Requesting: a premises licence to provide the following licensable activities:
Recorded Music & Supply of Alcohol – Sunday – Thursday – 10:00 – 00:00, Friday – Saturday – 10:00 – 01:00 AM

Officer comment:

Several local residents have already expressed a variety of concerns about this licencing application. Main concerns are based around concerns about public nuisance and the negative impact on the health of residents living in close proximity to the pub.

Councillors can make representations on licensing activities based on the following four areas (1) The prevention of crime and disorder (2) Public safety (3) The prevention of public nuisance (4) The protection of children from harm.

11. Planning Applications Section 2 (Enclosed)

To note or comment as appropriate on planning applications lodged with Cheshire East Council.