Wilmslow's largest employer submits plans for new head office

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As reported last week, Royal London have submitted, jointly with Property Alliance Group, an application for outline planning permission for a new office development

The proposed site sits to the east of the existing Royal London campus, accessed from Alderley Road which is located within the Cheshire Green Belt.
The scheme includes additional car parking, better access for vehicles, the creation of new pedestrian and cycle routes to the site and improved landscaping.

The planning application is now available to view online and shows that the new office building is envisaged to be three or four storeys high with roof top plant room and have an internal floor area of up to 17,000m2.

The new contemporary building has been positioned in the south eastern corner on the main approach into the site to give it greatest prominence from the west coast main railway line and to make it visible when entering the site.

Access to the site will remain via the existing entrance off Alderley road, next to the existing northern lodge building, but it is proposed that the existing entrance be widened and extended in front of Harefield House. Plans also include a new mini roundabout, with new access roads to service the visitor car parking, a shuttle bus drop off point, staff car parking and new landscape features such as lakes and ponds designed to enhance the arrival experience at the site.

The existing mature trees which run through the middle of the site will be retained where possible as key features of the site around which a new footpath and cycle path will connect to the north of the site.

According to the Design & Access Statement "The layouts are indicative at this stage but the initial concept work suggests a pavilion style building split by a central 'street' for internal circulation and communication. the main entrance to the building will be from the western end of this 'street' accessed from the new public realm fronting the building."

Included in the application is an indicative masterplan which shows how the Royal London scheme could sit within the wider context to deliver the aspirations of the site which are contained within the emerging Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy.

The land to the north of the outline application site has been zoned to show an area to accommodate 80 dwellings, along with 1 hectare of land provided for additional sports pitches for joint use by Wilmslow High School and occupants of the Royal London offices.

In March 2015 Royal London, which employs around 900 full time staff, announced they plan to create an additional 450 new jobs in Wilmslow and the outline application says the plans could accommodate up to 1500 full time employees.

Additionally, up to 1,100 additional car spaces will be created on site.

Royal London is holding an open exhibition to display the plans and present proposals at Wilmslow Public Library on Thursday 19th May between 12:00pm and 6:30pm. Members of the professional team acting for Property Alliance Group and Royal London will be on hand to answer questions and explain the proposals in more detail.

The planning application can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for reference 16/2314M. The last date for submitting comments is 16th June and the planning application is currently scheduled to be determined by the planning committee on 13th July 2016.

Image: Sketch of indicative masterplan arrival view.

Planning Applications, Royal London


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

Saturday 14th May 2016 at 11:14 am
Leaving aside the real issues, this sketch shows a flat roof. Are the architects from the South of England?
Ryan Dance
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 9:44 am

What exactly are the real issues? apart from the fact - you do not want any development...anywhere..of any kind in wilmslow.

This would be a massive improvement on a site already occupied with office space
Mark Russell
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 10:30 am
Added to Ryan's comments i might add are the creation of 400 odd jobs. It may well lie in green belt land, but the public has no access to it, so let them build it, create jobs and the associated wealth for the area. If this company leaves because they are not allowed to build, not only will the immediate 1000 jobs go, but think about all the associated jobs in the surrounding business that relies on Royal London being in Wilsmlow. Short sightedness at its best!
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 4:57 pm
The usual suspects in support. Better they move to Alderley Park and this site is used for a sixth form college. With all the housing about to be built and no new school, places will be in short supply unless some action is taken to expand the high school or build another.
John Harries
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 5:56 pm
It has all the styling of a monster greenhouse - and it sure will be more visible from the BR line as well as plenty of the other properties to be 'overlooked' in the vicinity.
Green belt hammered again, just because it is there….why the blazes shouldn't it remain just that, public access or not.
Wilmslow needs more employment does it? I always thought of it as a dormitory town, not a scaled down Slough because now with Waters at one end and god knows what is in the offing to the north, that is what is happening.
If Royal London need the space so badly why don't they go downwards (save on the old carbon footprint don't ya know) and have a limited, sympathetic structure above ground level.
Failing that and at hardly any inconvenience, move just a little way along the A34 to Alderley Park where there is ready made office space available.
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 7:56 pm
Having researched Wilmslow, with 200,000 sq ft of empty office space, a quich check on the internet, as regards office space available, betweem Macclesfield, Poynton, Bollington, Wilmslow, Handforth, Cheadle (near John Lewis) and Knutsford, there is available a million sq feet of empty office space ( What is available at Manchester Airport, I have not checked, but I saw one building of 60,000 sq ft available). These places are within a 6/7 mile distance of Wilmslow.
These figures excludes Alderly Park.As I understand Royal Londons head office is in London, so another branch in this area, whether on their present site or nearby, with modern communications, should make no differencemake no difference.
Ryan Dance
Friday 20th May 2016 at 9:07 am

Thank you for your kind words "the usual suspects in support".

Perhaps next time you describe me in this manner, you could include something like. "I see some people who reside in Wilmslow have a both a pragmatic and progressive view of the town and are able to see the benefits of investment"
Jon Armstrong
Friday 20th May 2016 at 10:18 am
"It has all the styling of a monster greenhouse - and it sure will be more visible from the BR line as well as plenty of the other properties to be 'overlooked' in the vicinity."

You're really worried about what it will look like from the railway line? Well it would certainly have stiff competition from the architectural beauties that are the High School, the Leisure Centre, the rear of the Stanley Green trading estate and round the back of Waitrose by the bins in Alderley. And that's only on a short stretch of the line. It's like the nation's greatest gothic cathedrals have been lined up for our viewing pleasure.
Roger Bagguley
Monday 23rd May 2016 at 6:19 am
With reference to pragmatism and a vision for the future I wish I could get to understand this. Clearly we live in a world driven by a need to grow and create wealth but as I see it those who drive this have their fingers well pressed on the self destruct button. But their is little anyone can do about this other than to offer protest and hope someone, in this case, Mr Pratt, Government Inspector for the Local Plan, will spot the over provision of development within and around Wilmslow and apply the Green Belt rules. Apart from there being no need to create more empty office spaces in Wilmslow with all else that is happening in our area of the North West I am not really in the mood to accept an application from an organisation like Royal London which has previously issued a threat it will move its operation from Wilmslow if Cheshire East does not change its Green Belt policies. We should watch this space with interest.