Manchester City Council has admitted using inaccurate information in rejecting a planning application for a development on Jewish cemetery land which would bring in desperately needed funding.
At a public inquiry held by the government’s Planning Inspectorate on Monday, the council accepted that it used “out of date” policy documents to argue that houses could not be built on the Crumpsall cemetery site.
Property developer Gemstone Land and New Homes Ltd and representatives from Salford’s Stenecourt Synagogue, which owns the site, are appealing against the decision. The sale to Gemstone would provide a minimum of £50,000 to fund essential works to the dilapidated cemetery.
Representing the developer and the synagogue, Paul Tucker, QC, argued that the council was “unable to clearly demonstrate a five-year [housing] land supply in accordance with national guidance. This fact alone strongly tips the planning balance in favour of allowing the appeal.” He added that ecological and landscaping objections provided “no proper grounds” to refuse planning permission.
The council’s barrister, Jonathan Easton, criticised Stenecourt for failing to provide clear plans. The council also argued that the housing proposal would harm the character of the area.
A decision is expected this month.