Homeowners Await Fate as Council Blunder Threatens Demolition of Newbuild Estate


Residents of a newbuild estate in Crewe, Cheshire will soon discover if their homes are to be demolished due to a council blunder. The mistake left 263 houses without proper planning permission, sparking investigations into contaminated land on the site. Asbestos, lead, cyanide, and arsenic residue were found, leading to the revocation of planning permission. With a final decision on the estate set to be made next month, homeowners are left uncertain about the future of their properties.

Council Blunder Leaves Homeowners in Limbo

Countryside Partnerships received approval in 2018 to construct 239 three and four-bedroom houses and 24 flats on a 17-acre brownfield site known as Coppenhall Place. The development was located on the former Bombardier train factory Crewe Works. However, an issue emerged concerning contaminated land, prompting an investigation by the council. As a result, concerns were raised about the lack of thorough land checks during the project.

Contaminated Land Raises Concerns

The investigation revealed the presence of hazardous substances, including asbestos, lead, cyanide, and arsenic residue. The council accused the developers of not conducting proper assessments before and during the construction. Despite the concerns, Countryside Partnerships maintained that appropriate assessments had been conducted and continued building. However, planning permission was eventually revoked when the developers failed to address the issue of contaminated land.

Residents Face Uncertain Future

The decision to revoke planning permission has left residents of the 263 homes, many of whom are currently living in them, facing the possibility of demolition. Homeowners are struggling with the uncertainty and the potential loss of their properties. Tamzin Caiger, a resident of the estate, expressed her distress, stating, "It is really upsetting. I feel like we don't really know what is going on." Another resident, David Andrews, voiced his concerns about the future, questioning, "If it is not sorted out, and the houses have to come down, what will happen to us?"

Final Decision Imminent

After more than five months of delay, a final decision on the estate is expected to be made next month. The Cheshire East Council has announced that the application will be presented to the strategic planning board in September. If the application fails, the estate may be subjected to demolition, leaving homeowners devastated.

Call for Action in the House of Commons

Penny Mourdaunt MP raised concerns about the situation in the House of Commons, labeling it a "disgraceful situation." She urged both the developer and the local authority to fulfill their moral obligations to the homeowners who purchased the properties in good faith. The developer, Countryside Partnerships, acknowledged the planning condition and is working with the council and the Environmental Protection department to address the issue. They have submitted a retrospective planning application that is recommended for approval, with the main priority being to find a resolution for the residents and customers.

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