PLANNING chiefs have rejected plans to knock down a garage and build two new homes on Green Belt land, despite it being recommended for approval.

An outline planning application had been submitted to flatten an existing garage on Senna Lane, Comberbach, and build two houses.

The proposed homes were intended to sit alongside an existing property opposite Comberbach Methodist Church and would be within the Green Belt – a buffer designed to protect against urban sprawl.

A report to Cheshire West's planning committee had recommended outline approval be granted to address issues of access, with more specific planning matters being dealt with in a subsequent application.

The report said: “The proposal is located in a sustainable settlement, would not represent inappropriate development within the Green Belt and would bring social and economic benefits associated with the construction of two new houses.”

It added: “The scale of the plot and layout of the adjoining dwellings means that at this stage, it is considered that two dwellings could be constructed which would not appear cramped or incongruous and would not result in a disproportionate or significant loss of garden land, to the detriment of the amenity of the original dwelling or the new development.”

But the report said there had been a ‘large number’ of objections by local residents, with concerns also being raised by Comberbach Parish Council. The plans were called in for further discussion by Marbury Cllr Norman Wright due to concerns around visual amenity.

At the planning meeting, John Groves, chartered town planner speaking on behalf of local objectors, said: “The site is simply not big enough to accommodate three dwellings.

“The existing building was clearly designed to work in the space it now occupies, not squeezed between two houses. The application before you takes its current form only after two years of discussion on previous submissions which failed to come up with an acceptable scheme.”

Ledsham and Manor Cllr Peter Wheeler said: "When you’re looking at an outline planning permission (you're) trying to decide if it could be satisfactorily developed. It has not been demonstrated that is the case, certainly not to my satisfaction.”

The committee voted to refuse permission by a majority of eight to two on grounds of residential and visual amenity.