PLANNING experts believe the construction of 510 properties on land close to Centre Park is required ‘to meet a significant contribution to the borough’s future housing land supply’.

Demolition work at the former DriveTime golf range and Spectra Park, on Slutchers Lane, has paved the way for key phases of the £19.3 million Centre Park link scheme.

Part of the ambitious vision is the construction of a crossing over the Mersey to connect Chester Road to the town centre via Slutchers Lane, with the project also ‘unlocking’ areas of land for development.

The council previously issued an environmental impact assessment (EIA) screening opinion over plans for 510 properties on the Spectra Park site following a request from Countryside Properties.

Planning and development consultancy Lichfields has now made a request, on behalf of Countryside, for an EIA scoping opinion, which ‘will confirm the scope of the environmental information required to support an application’ when it is submitted after the EIA process.

Countryside’s ‘scoping’ document highlighted plans for a mix of around 410 houses and 100 apartments on the site and, in the ‘scoping report’, experts at Lichfields spoke of the ‘need for development’.

The report says: “The site is included within the council’s strategic housing land availability assessment, meaning that it forms part of its housing land supply and that, in principle, it considers the site to be appropriate for residential development.

“The site is also identified as a housing allocation in the emerging local plan preferred options.

"Parts of the assumptions that formed the basis of the assessment of the adjacent Centre Park link road proposal were that this site would be redeveloped for residential purposes and the former uses would cease.

“Furthermore, in the short term the council are unable to identify a five-year supply of housing land as required by the national planning policy framework and this development would contribute to the short-term supply of housing land.

“The development proposals are therefore required to meet a significant contribution to the borough’s future housing land supply.

“Countryside is committed to appropriate consultation with the community, businesses, statutory bodies and other stakeholders as part of the EIA and planning process.”

Although the plans for the properties are part of the Centre Park scheme, if refused there would be no direct impact on proposals for the link road.