Morris Homes, a Cheshire-based development company, has still not complied with the requirement under an S106 agreement to construct a river bridge to link its new housing estate in Congleton with the town’s park. This was agreed with planning application 12/0410C This bridge should have been built as an extension to Parkside Place off Davenshaw Drive.
Morris Homes was given concessions in exchange for building this bridge. It was allowed to reduce the number of ‘affordable’ houses on the site, and was let off building a playground, the latter presumably because of the proximity of the park. Indeed it was a selling point at the show home – that there would be this excellent car-free route straight into the park for the children, and a shortcut to access the town (leisure centre, shops, Dane theatre etc).
Morris Homes should have built the bridge at the trigger point of partial completion of the development, which was in 2015. It was never done, and now it appears that they have left the site altogether. The procrastination on the part of Cheshire East and Morris Homes along with delayed responses and endless excuses has resulted in making it more difficult and expensive to comply with this agreement, but it remains a legal obligation.
Bridge design sketch
Although Morris Homes have been saying for the past 6 years that they intend to build the bridge, no-one has yet seen its design other than the sketch that was made in the initial application. Can we expect this design to be accessible to all and in particular step-free for those with pushchairs, and for those with mobility impairments meaning they cannot easily use steps, or need a wheelchair or mobility scooter.
Meanwhile on Morris Homes website, there is a page entitled ‘Why Morris?’. The answer is ‘Independent, experienced, trusted’. Who would now trust them enough to buy a house when they cannot keep this particular legal obligation?
It’s very simple. Morris Homes is required to build a bridge and so far it hasn’t. Why would any local authority want to deal with this company again? Certainly the public have a good reason to oppose any more of their planning applications, since they break contracts so readily.
Will 2021 be the year of the bridge, finally?