A 228-HOME development labelled as a ‘new beast’ for Warrington has been approved by councillors.

Urban Splash’s controversial scheme for the land at Grappenhall Heys came before the development management committee at the Parr Hall on Wednesday evening.

The site is located to the south of Curzon Drive, east of Lichfield Avenue and west of Stansfield Drive.

Outline permission for 400 homes at Grappenhall Heys was granted in 2017, which established the principle of development.

But the reserved matters application came before the committee this evening.

The reserved matters part of the planning process requires the applicant to submit detailed proposals over the scale, layout, access and appearance of the development.

The committee was told there are major issues with the site layout, building design and car parking.

A total of 152 objections were received from residents, with one letter in support of the application.

The grounds for objections included a lack of doctors and services in the area, along with a lack of transport links and amenities meaning the site is not sustainable.

Appleton and Stretton parish councils raised concerns over the plans.

Meanwhile, Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council objected on the grounds including the development not being sustainable, failing to meet parking standards, being high density and Urban Splash not working with residents and local sensitivities.

A total of 68 properties will be affordable housing.

Committee chair Cllr Steve Parish (LAB – Chapelford and Old Hall) said it is not a standard development and a ‘new beast’ for Warrington.

Cllr Ryan Bate (LD – Grappenhall), who spoke against the application, expressed serious concerns about the plans.

He said: “Residents and I have had a number of meetings with Urban Splash over the last eight months but we have been left disappointed by the lack of real engagement with our concerns.

“This has left us with a design which doesn’t respect or reflect the local character of Grappenhall Heys and, by extension, much of suburban Warrington.

“Let me be clear, we are not trying to stop housing. We never were, even at the outline stage.

“We are also not against change as a point in principle but we believe that there should be a balance between change and continuity.

“This is a suburban, almost semi-rural setting, one not typically associated with Urban Splash.

“It extends an existing community, which already has design variety, but nothing on the scale of the aesthetic and functional clash which this application would deliver.”

John Groves, the planning consultant who represents Grappenhall and Thelwall Parish Council and Grappenhall Heys residents, said the scheme provides ‘sub-standard levels’ of car parking.

He said the proposed development is not safe and that there are still ‘substantial concerns’ registered by Cheshire Police in its latest comments about the potential for the development to raise an increase in police demand due to ‘opportunities for crime’ and anti-social behaviour including neighbour disputes over parking.

Andrew Johnston, head of planning at House by Urban Splash, told the committee that he has no doubt it will be a fantastic community for Warrington and a ‘pioneering low carbon neighbourhood for the future’.

He also said the scheme will enhance the area and be an example of a new way of taking housing forward.

Tom Jarman, design director at House by Urban Splash, said it is ‘really upsetting’ when people feel something coming forward is not to their taste or liking.

He acknowledged that the proposals look a bit different to homes in the area at the moment but highlighted that the reason for this is because they are built differently.

Committee member Cllr Mark Jervis (CON – Appleton) said he ‘fully accepts’ it is a reserved matters case but what worries him is that it is a development which does not reflect the character of the area.

Mr Jarman stated the character point is generally applied to historical locations – and ‘this is not a historical location’.

The scheme was approved subject to conditions by the committee, as recommended by officers.

Warrington Guardian:

How the development could look. (Photo: House by Urban Splash)

House by Urban Splash says the designs feature a central green spine of 2,800 sq m of new public green space, play areas and more than 900 new trees running through the length of the site open to all members of the community.

It said that the homes are strongly contemporary in look and feel with outstanding environmental performance credentials, high insulation and low energy usage - and are built using modern methods of construction in the company’s own factory. Meanwhile, it stated many of the house types offer buyers the ability to customise the internal floorplans to 'suit their own lifestyle and family make-up, from big open plan to more cozy subdivided spaces'.  

After the meeting, Mr Johnston added: “We’re really excited to be in a position to now start work on delivering this pioneering new neighbourhood at Grappenhall which we see as a new way of creating suburban homes for the 21st century.

"Green-ness is at the heart of our vision here – both in terms of the amount of green space, trees and bio-diverse landscape, and in the environmental performance.

"Over the past 27 years, Urban Splash has become well-known for our work transforming existing buildings and run-down parts of cities and towns across the north west and beyond using great modern design and creating a strong sense of community.

"More recently, we have established an award-winning housebuilding business, which has seen us creating new residential neighbourhoods up and down the country. We really believe there is a different way of building homes and communities for the future and look forward to bringing that vision to life here in Grappenhall enabling people to live well by design.”