AN applicant has been accused of attempting to ‘override legislation’ after a decision on whether to allow land to be used as a residential caravan site was deferred.

Cheshire East Council’s southern planning committee pushed back a decision on proposals for the land in Moston, off Dragons Lane, on Wednesday.

The site is currently occupied but the applicant submitted ‘personal circumstances indicating a need’ for permanent accommodation with access to public services.

The partly retrospective proposals sought permission for the change of use of the land from agricultural to the stationing of caravans for residential purposes for one gipsy-traveller family, with one pitch.

They also comprised a utility building, septic tank, fencing, shed and dog kennel.

A condition for the site would have permitted no more than one pitch, with two caravans, and no more than one static caravan

However, around 90 letters of objection were submitted by residents, as well as one from Congleton MP Fiona Bruce.

The grounds for objection included the potential for ‘extreme danger’ due to land crossing the National Grid’s high-pressure gas pipe, plans for an adjacent site recently being refused and uncertainty over who the applicant is due to the ownership certificate not being completed.

Cllr John Wray, Conservative member for Brereton Rural, hit out at the application.

He said: “As a planning committee, we have always tried to be consistent and not create a precedent.

“This retrospective application is a blatant attempt to override the planning legislation by exerting pressure on planners and committee members alike.

“This is the tenth application for residential development on this field – it is outside the development plan and is in open countryside.

“Every previous application has been refused, either by delegated powers or by this planning committee.”

The provision of ‘needed’ gipsy and traveller accommodation was highlighted as a ‘clear social benefit’ of the proposal.

However, while the requirement for sites and the current lack of alternatives weighed in favour of the application, they were not considered to outweigh the identified harm.

But planning officers did recommend temporary permission until February 2021, in line with adjoining sites, subject to conditions.

The committee deferred a decision to allow time for more ‘considered analysis’.