This article is by courtesy of Nantwich News
A plan to expand a fishery and leisure park at Newhall near Nantwich has been approved by Cheshire East councillors, writes Belinda Ryan.
Coole Acres Fishery and Leisure Park, off Coole Lane, applied for permission to remodel hatchery ponds to create a new lake and to use land for the siting of 19 holiday lodges and two mobile camping pods.
The application, which officers had recommended for approval, was deferred by the southern planning committee last month so councillors could visit the site to assess the suitability of the access road.
At Wednesday' meeting (March 15), when it was considered again, Sound parish councillor Paul Griffiths said the parish council was still concerned there was no evidence of an essential need for the development and also still had concerns about highways.
He said: "As I said previously, the general need identified by the Cheshire East rural economy manager does not automatically mean there is a specific need for all proposals.
"Each proposal should be assessed on its own merits.
"The maintenance of Coole Lane is atrocious, a situation only aggravated by these proposals and the already tourist developments along the lane."
Applicant Mrs Finney told the committee: "Our highway consultant and the council's highway officer have confirmed that Coole Lane is wide enough for pedestrians and vehicles."
She said a new footpath link had been provided between Coole Acres and the public footpath.
"It links to the canal and will be for use by visitors of Coole Acres and the Overwater Marina.
"It will reduce the need for pedestrians to use Coole Lane," said Mrs Finney.
She added if she and her husband did not feel there was a need for this type of tourist scheme they would not be investing so much in it.
Ward councillor Rachel Bailey (Con), speaking as visiting councillor, was unhappy with the first report presented by the council's planning officers to last month's committee.
"The latest report is far more complete and I thank everyone involved for that, but I regret that the initial report wasn't of a similar standard," she said.
"I welcome also the private footpath It's regrettable, again, that the leadership wasn't there in terms of policy from this council, but I very much appreciate that forethought of the two owners."
Cllr Sarah Pochin (Bunbury, non-grouped) said the committee had voted for a site visit and only two – herself and chair Andrew Kolker – had turned up.
"The visit made it absolutely clear in my mind that this is a well thought through application and we should, as a committee, support it," she said.
"You immediately could see that there was a very wide road outside of the site, very good access into the site, good visibility splays."
She described the site as an "immaculate set-up".
"It was very clear that the owners of this site are quite passionate about what they're doing and it was beautifully manicured," she said.
"Absolutely lovely site and, absolutely, I can see a destination point for tourists and would be a very positive contribution to the local tourist industry."
She said a lot of thought had gone into the footpath link and moved that the scheme be approved.
Cllr Kolker said he agreed with Cllr Pochin.
Willaston councillor Allen Gage (Con) said some councillors were unable to get to the site visit because of road closures.
"In future if we do have site visits, would it be possible to check the roadworks?" he asked.
The application was approved with 11 councillors voting in favour and one abstaining.