Royal London given green light to build new offices


Wilmslow's largest employer has been granted planning permission to build a new headquarters in the town.

The Strategic Planning Committee met earlier today (Wednesday, 13th July), and approved Royal London's outline planning application for new offices on the land to the east of the Royal London campus on Alderley Road.

Reacting to the announcement a Royal London spokesperson said; "This is good news, and the first step in getting full approval. The planning application includes; new offices and car parking, plus pedestrian cycle and vehicle access improvements to the land to the east of Royal London House.

"Clearly the proposal for a new office in Wilmslow remains a contender, alongside other the two developments that we're currently considering."

Royal London say the development would ensure the retention of 960 jobs in Wilmslow and securing the provision of an additional 500 to 600 jobs in the town.

The next step is for Cheshire East Council to refer this matter to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) who are required to assess Cheshire East's decision, as the land is currently within the Cheshire Green Belt.

A decision is expected from DCLG later in the summer.

Planning Applications, Royal London


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

Nick Jones
Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:35 pm
Not really a surprise is it..??
Ryan Dance
Wednesday 13th July 2016 at 8:48 pm
Common sense prevailed for now but only a small step in the ludicrously bureaucratic and antiquated planning procedures.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 14th July 2016 at 9:39 am
An outrageous decision given the land is still within the Green Belt. It may well be allocated for development within the emerging Local Plan but this is not yet approved. Are we now to expect the developers poised to build on Little Stanneylands and Heathfield Farm to now seek outline permission and have this approved by Cheshire East before the Local Plan is approved? There is still a long way to go before the fate of the Plan is sealed and over provision of housing and offices in Wilmslow still remains an issue. This application may well secure jobs for the existing staff at Royal London but I see no evidence of how it provides for additional jobs. History is new offices and old ones vacated in Wilmslow and around the area simply add to the office stock that remains empty.

Interesting times with a local WTC election due on 4th August and who knows what lies ahead for the Tatton Constituency?
Pete Taylor
Thursday 14th July 2016 at 7:40 pm
Could this not have waited until the Local Plan inquiry? I am informed that our local Tory CEC Councillors (with one exception) voted in favour of this rushed application and voted against an amendment to delay for three months until the Planning Inspector has had time to consider all the comments from the public.

We elect these people to support our wishes yet, time after time, they have gone against the manifest public reaction to attacks on the Green Belt. Whose interests are they serving?

I sincerely hope that the electorate makes clear their opposition on 4th August. We have a shining example just up the road in Alderley, where EVERY Tory Councillor was booted out of office last year because they did not listen to, or respect the wishes of, the electorate. An unprecedented situation, when an entire Council was kicked out and all Independents were elected.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 14th July 2016 at 9:27 pm

It is a case of "should" not "could" this have waited? The land given over to this approved application is allocated within the emerging Local Plan that is not yet approved. Given the over provision of housing and land allocated for employment Mr Pratt, Government Inspector, may well finally fail the revised Plan on the grounds Cheshire East has consistently not listened and not met legal requirements. They got away with it at Adlington Road on weight of law. This is looking like a repeat performance and it stinks. The Local Plan is a process that our councillors should insist is followed to the end, not vote to have developments approved part way through just because the end product is inevitable. The end is only inevitable because they are not committed to have it any other way. It is the inevitability of party politics. The people of Alderley Edge have it right. Wilmslow East has a chance to change things coming up on 4th August by voting Independent.
Manuel Golding
Friday 15th July 2016 at 9:32 am
We witnessed yet another Cheshire East committee indulging in a shameful disregard of the electorate's wishes, preferring to placate an uncaring company's desire to destroy the Green Belt.
Independants on the committee voted against premature approval (with one other councillor) advocating awaiting the Inspector's examination in two months time.
The majority Conservatives with Lib Dem support voted to ignore the locally expressed opposition to this premature application.
In voting this way, both the Conservatives and Lib Dem demonstrated the absolute necessity to vote for an independent councillor in the WTC by-election on the 4th August.
Your independent voice will only be heard when the Residents of Wilmslow Independent candidate, Mark Goldsmith, is elected, putting People Before Party!
John Harries
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 11:47 am
Utter disgrace and a complete disregard of not only overwhelming local opposition to the development but driving a bloody great bus through green belt legislation.
The A34 was a traffic by-pass - to ease congestion for Handforth/Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. It should not be considered some sort of building line boundary for in-fill development. This new proposal for a 'greenhouse' office block is un-proportional and inappropriate and Royal London have other local options just up the road for relocation or additional workspace.
I urge all constituants to consider exactly what(who) their local Councillors represent when they participate in these important decisions.
We all have an opportunity, I 100% endorse the sentiments expressed here by Peter Taylor - follow the lead of Alderley Edge, boot the whole lot out on 4th August and get people independent of the main political parties who have local interests at heart.
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 2:18 pm
All of the usual suspects whingeing with their cracked record!
Unless they are proposing 'Wexit' of Wilmslow from the UK we need to play our part in addressing the economic needs of the country.
Regardless, without Royal London in Wilmslow (and they seem likely to pull out completely if they can't expand) the local economy would suffer to a considerable degree - and our ability to fund and maintain all of those things that the whingers hold dear would be severely compromised.
Expansion of Royal London provides economic benefits for all local folk; well beyond the conservatives (with a small c) and older generation who can't tolerate change.
Christopher Dodson
Wednesday 20th July 2016 at 3:47 pm
No-one has mentioned that Wilmslow Town Council unanimously recommended Cheshire East to refuse planning permission at this stage for the new office for Royal London on the ground that the land is - at least for the time being - in the green belt and there are in our opinion no very special circumstances. I attended the Cheshire East Strategic Planning Board meeting to reiterate this point.
Voting for the independent candidate in the Wilmslow East by-election for the Town Council on 4 August would not in fact change anything in this respect.