PLANS to construct 50 homes on an area of land in Whitchurch known as the 'sponge' have been withdrawn by developers.

The patch of land is located to the north of Edgeley Road and owes its informal name to the wetness of the site.

A previous application for 70 houses was also withdrawn in October 2019 following concerns from residents over potential for flooding and the impact on local wildlife.

Although the plans were reduced in scale to 50 homes, the plans have been withdrawn once again, coinciding with a number of issues being raised by nearby residents and Whitchurch Town Council.

The town council objected to the development, citing the risk of flooding, the loss of open space, highway safety and the loss of bio-diversity and habitat.

In a statement, a spokesman said: "Whitchurch Town Council objects to the proposed development at Edgeley Road.

"Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

"Decisions on applications should be made as quickly as possible, and within statutory timescales unless a longer period has been agreed by the applicant in writing.

"Applications for planning on this site have been ongoing since August 2019.

"For major development involving the provision of housing, local planning authorities should also assess why any earlier grant of planning permission for a similar development on the same site

did not start.

"The National Planning Policy framework states that planning decisions should enable the retention and development of accessible local services and community facilities, such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, open space, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship

"Existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless the loss resulting from the proposed development would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location.

"Assessing sites for a specific application should ensure that safe and suitable access to the site can be achieved for all users and any significant impacts from the development can be cost effectively mitigated to an acceptable degree.

"This scheme will generate a significant amount of additional traffic on a daily basis.

"All plans should apply a sequential, risk-based approach to the location of development – taking into account the current and future impacts of climate change so as to avoid, where possible, flood risk to people and property.

"Development should not be allocated or permitted if there are reasonably available sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas with a lower risk of flooding.

"This piece of land is known locally as the sponge' – not only does the land itself flood regularly. it prevents flooding further into the town.

"Whitchurch Town Council objects to any development of this land and believes that it should remain an accessible public open space for the benefit of the residents of Whitchurch."

It is not yet know whether the application will be submitted again at a later date.