Town Council objects to Royal London's latest plans for new car park


Wilmslow Town Council is objecting to Royal London's latest plans to build a new permanent car park on their Alderley Road campus.

The Planning Committee met on Monday, 24th August, and agreed to "recommend refusal on the grounds that no exceptional circumstances have been demonstrated at this time for this development in the greenbelt".

The latest planning application (reference 15/3488M) from Wilmslow's largest employer is for a permanent car park with 126 spaces on the site of their current temporary car park.

Royal London were granted permission to use some land as a temporary car park in November 2012 provided the land was returned to a grassed field by December 2015, unless a further application was approved by the Local Planning Authority.

The company has also submitted an application (reference 15/3554M) to extend the use of this temporary car park until December 2017. The Planning Committee agreed to support the extension of the temporary planning permission but stated that it "hopes that a permanent solution will be found in the near future".

At the end of last year Royal London submitted a planning application for a permanent car park (reference 14/5536M) with 90 spaces on land at the front of the campus, on a grassed area adjacent to the existing Lodge car park.

This planning application, reference 14/5536M, is still to be determined. However, Wilmslow Town Council's Planning Committee also recommended refusal of this application, which they considered in February 2015, on the grounds that "no exceptional circumstances have been demonstrated for this development in the Green Belt". The Committee also highlighted the issue of flooding on the proposed site.

Speaking last month, Royal London's Head of Procurement & Facilities, Neil Kilshaw said: "We have been discussing our plans with the Council. Once it becomes clear which of our two planning applications the Council favours we will withdraw the other application."

Royal London announced plans in March to create an additional 450 new jobs at its Alderley Road campus and build new, modern offices to the east of the existing campus to accommodate the addition members of staff.

The company currently employs around 900 full time staff in Wilmslow and wants to increase the number to around 1,350.

The Royal London campus was identified in the Local Plan for mixed use development site, delivering 75 dwellings, a hotel and 17-24,000 sq m of employment space.

Planning Applications, Royal London, Wilmslow Town Council


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Barry Buxton
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 8:56 am
Shame on you Town Council! Local employers should be supported, not pilloried with irrelevant issues.
Sheila Hallas
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 3:32 pm
The Town Council are quite right to object to this.
The Green Belt is a communities 'Crown Jewels .

Nibbling away at this means you have exchanged a precious, finite resource for more concrete sprawl.
Josie James
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 4:25 pm
What a shame as Royal London seems to be the only employer in Wilmslow who's staff don't block up the residential streets - which are becoming dangerous. Goodness knows how fire engines or ambulances would get down the likes of Bourne Street or Chapel Lane
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 4:59 pm
I too support the Town Councils decision to "recommend refusal on the grounds that no exceptional circumstances have been demonstrated at this time for this development in the greenbelt".

This issue has been going on since 1997. We hear mention of a green travel plan but with no actual information being provided to demonstrate it's impact.

I only hope CEC will come to the same conclusion rather than capitulate as they did when the last temporary application was approved. I know as I attended the planning meeting.
Stuart Kinsey
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 6:50 pm
Hardly an irrelevant issue, Barry Buxton. Democracy still applies to planning and 75% of Wilmslow residents responding to the Wilmslow Vision in 2012 indicated that they wanted the land at Royal London to remain in the Green Belt. Wilmslow Town Council made their recommendation having considered that the land at Royal London House is and will remain in the Green Belt until a duly adopted Local Plan determines otherwise. CEC Northern Planning Board will also have to consider that fact when formerly making decisions on the RL planning applications. In the meantime Royal London occupy a site which contains two of Wilmslow's Heritage Buildings and a campus which is beautifully maintained. I know that the RL team want to retain those assets for the community and that they are still reviewing all options to find additional parking spaces without adverse impact on the neighbourhood or Green Belt. Royal London executives see the relevance of the democratic process and are not offended by it.
Sandy Martin
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 8:23 pm
I totally agree with Mr Kinsey's comments.
This is green belt land, and as RL still has office space available, so well done to the Town Council.. RL provide a mini bus back and to from the train station for the staff they employ, so I am sure they can find a solution to this issue within the year granted for the temporary car park
We have to save our greenbelt, and support the Wilmslow Vision
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 26th August 2015 at 10:04 pm
This piece of green belt is irrelevant because nobody (other than employees and the odd visitor) can either see it or walk on it. Put it to good use and stop hiding behind the thin end of the wedge argument!
Jon Williams
Thursday 27th August 2015 at 7:05 am
Well done Wilmslow Town Council, shame they can't say no to houses as well !
Manuel Golding
Friday 28th August 2015 at 1:39 pm
Barry Buxton shows he is totally ignorant of the Green Belt's requirement. It is not necessary that it has to be "open" to the public, its purpose is to act as a barrier in preventing urban sprawl, to assist regeneration within the urban area and to act as a community's "green lung".
Josie Jones fails to understand why RL's employees do not park in the areas surrounding the campus. All the neighbouring roads have short-timed parking restrictions; before these were implemented the roads were choked full of RL's employees parked vehicles, obstructing other & local traffic movements, littering the roads where they parked, hurling obscenities at house holders attempting to exit and/or enter their properties - it is the restrictive & enforced parking "that dun it" Josie, not the good neighbourliness of the RL parkers.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 3rd September 2015 at 8:31 am
This employer's staff used to block up Fulshaw Park until prevented from doing so. Could we have the number of locals employed at Royal London. There may be almost 1,000 on site but if there is such a need for extra parking I presume that, just like the UK, Wilmslow is providing jobs for others, and now we are to lose greenery to provide them with parking. Well green init.
Ryan Dance
Thursday 3rd September 2015 at 3:00 pm
i hope the prospective applicants appeal the decision and win on appeal!

planning applications of this nature should carry presumed consent.