Barlow's Beef: What exactly is a 'garden village'?


Macclesfield General Hospital is bursting at the seams. Last week they made an appeal for people to stay away from A&E unless they have a dire emergency. Meanwhile GP's surgeries are struggling to cope and the pharmacies where we were urged to go for medical advice are under threat of closure.

Dental practices are not a whole lot better with many reluctant to take on new NHS patients.

As many parents know places in local schools are increasingly difficult to obtain forcing pupils to travel. Given the congestion on our roads travelling even a few miles can be a long commute.

So here we are with plans approved to create a new 'garden village' of 1500 homes on the eastern edge of Handforth and n'er a word about infrastructure. While plans announced so far are specific on the number of houses they are rather vague on the details of schools and healthcare facilities.

Joined up thinking it isn't.

I'm no expert but would it not be a good idea to start with a plan of the infrastructure before they start throwing up hundreds of new houses or is that too logical? Are we going to wait until the roads are gridlocked and schools are using Portakabins for classrooms?

We already have the sick sleeping in hospital corridors and ambulances unable to offload patients for lack of beds. Cheshire East seem to be hell-bent on closing every facility they can get away with. So what's going on?

How can they plan cut-backs and closures at the same time they are planning thousands of additional houses? It makes no sense whatsoever.

The only logic to be deduced from this is a that projects generating profit will be acted upon with great alacrity while those requiring expenditure will be ignored, avoided and denied until the chaos becomes overwhelming. It's a self-perpetuated crisis.

I don't know what image a 'garden village' is supposed to project but I'm guessing it isn't overcrowded schools, gridlock and an overnight stay in a hospital corridor.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Barlow's Beef, North Cheshire Garden Village, Vic Barlow


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

Rick Andrews
Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 10:34 am
Contrast the situation in the 60s and 70s. Housing Development (e.g. Handforth, Lacey Green, Summerfields, South Wilmslow) was accompanied by building of new schools (Wilmslow Grammar (Boys and Girls sites), the Hough, expansion of Knutsford High, several new primary schools, hospital expansion at Wythenshawe and Macclesfield with cottage hospitals still operating in Knutsford and Alderley Edge and massive development of Leighton hospital, and development of the road system (M6, M56, etc). We need similar investment now - especially in schools and medical facilities. Local and national government have lost the plot.
Chris Neill
Tuesday 10th January 2017 at 12:58 pm
Dear Vic, I used to live in a Garden Village. It's called Alkrington, and is about 5 miles North of Manchester on the Rochdale road. It was paradise, and in the 50,s was a mixture of Edwardian, 1930,s and 50,s houses built either side of a busy main road, but surrounded by a mixture of woods, lakes and small ponds, as well as the odd small farm. During the 60,s and 70,s building went ballistic, taking up farmland and green belt and creating new Alkrington, with a mixture of characterless semis and apartments and doubling the population. Guess what we got... overcrowding, more traffic, speed bumps,overloaded schools, people lying in hospital corridors,and a heap more crime.
Some years later, the Council, decided to bring back the village "feel" of the place by spending a fortune on street signage and calling it Alkrington Garden Village" What a typical con. It's not a village ant more, they took that away when it was completely overdeveloped and the precious quality of life that was its original design, was lost forever.
Here we go again, no vision, not democratic, short term greed, and a disaster for the existing population, some of whom will move away like I did, but who cares?