Disappointment for community hub plans as Council agrees lease for one of town's oldest buildings


Plans to create a community venue in one of the town's oldest buildings have been unsuccesful as Cheshire East Council has agreed to lease the derelict historic building to a Stockport-based construction company.

The Council, which deemed Rectory Stables to be surplus to their requirements, will enter into a 10 year lease with Lyme Design and Build Limited for the stable block which is situated adjacent to Wilmslow Leisure Centre Car Park. The building has been vacant for a number of years and is in need of substantial renovation.

Members of the Wilmslow Trust and Transition Wilmslow had hoped to transform the stables into a community hub and submitted an outline bid to Cheshire East to convert the stables to provide a meeting room that could seat 30-40 people and exhibition space for information on the town's local heritage. It would also have provided a venue for the town's annual Art Trail and for local artists and makers to exhibit and sell their work.

Pippa Tyrell told wilmslow.co.uk "Had we been successful in securing the building, we would have worked with local groups to crowdfund the restoration of the building. We believed that it could provide a community meeting place, a hub for information about our cultural heritage (Lindow Man and Alan Turing for example) and an attractive development on a key town walkway alongside the restored pond area.

"We were clear with CEC that we had no funds but were prepared to work with the community to raise them as a community venture. They came back to us to say the preferred bid was a commercial one, which did not surprise us as they inevitably would want to have any available rental income. We hope that the new tenants will restore the building sympathetically, being mindful of its history and it's very visible position on one of the main routes to the town centre."

Pippa added "We are of course disappointed, as Wilmslow lacks a town focal point or a place to celebrate our heritage. However, on our tree walk in November we did look at the trees at the back of the Stables and had some ideas about how that currently very messy area could be improved to make a green walkway: we would be delighted to hear if anyone else has any ideas about that, and how we could raise the funds to clear, replant and improve it."

The lease will enable Lyme Design and Build Limited to invest in the derelict building and will allow the Council to retain the asset and realise any uplift in value.

Cheshire East Council will receive an annual rent of £7,200, which is to be reviewed at 3 year intervals, and an 18 month rent free period has been agreed to allow the tenant to undertake improvements and fit out works to bring the property to a tenantable condition.

The Council advertised the property known as Rectory Stables for a 10 year lease by way of a tender process and received eight offers.

Lyme Design and Build Limited propose to use the site for an office and storage for home improvements, new builds and expansions. They will be responsible for obtaining planning permission for the proposed improvements works and for a change of use.

Councillor Rod Menlove said "The derelict Rectory Stables is one of the oldest buildings in Wilmslow and a significant part of the heritage of our town. So it is tremendous news to have a tenant at last with a restoration agreement so that the building will become a positive feature.

"This particular area has long been one of neglect and as ward cllr I have been pressing Cheshire East Assets for priority on a project that has not been straightforward.

"I'm pleased to say that as part of the renovation, some of the surrounding intrusive self-seeded trees and shrubs will be cleared to create an even more open aspect.

"This work, together with the restoration of the pond by the Wilmslow Partnership, will make this area an attractive feature for residents and visitors alike."

Lyme Design and Build, Rectory Stables


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

John Harries
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 4:40 pm
It may be "....one of the oldest" Wilmslow buildings but I'm guessing there isn't a preservation or listing order on it and CEC will have no interest in Wilmslow heritage or history - just a means of rendering more income from historical Wilmslow infrastructure.
So it's no holds barred as far as any long term tenant is concerned, note it's been let for office and storage use with an understanding that there is need for extensive restoration!! The building was originally the stables and later garage/storage for Wilmslow Rectory and existing access is only via the public car park with some of the original walling still forming the boundary with the main road (the 'old' bypass) and leisure centre service road.
No doubt change of use and subsequent planning permission will follow to try and change all of that (naturally to the benefit of the new tenants) who will wish to maximise their 10 year rental outlay - the nature of their business will no doubt entail a show window(s) onto the passing world (change of use will encourage that) and include dedicated parking (which will either reduce whatever is currently available to the hard pressed Wilmslow parking public or alternatively mean loss of a bit more greenery and mature trees bounding the area between the rear of the building and the service road) - in other words another showroom just like that proposed on the 'historic' farm development opposite the Waters site on Altrincham Road (with later application for a 7 day music licence....!!)
This building is already a CEC asset but not for the benefit of the local community and Mr. Menlove should be ashamed of his comments - had it been a bigger footprint you can bet your bottom euro it would be earmarked for an office block (just what Wilmslow needs) or apartments (RIP Remenham).
CEC in all it's pomp, working for us ratepayers. Local and county government needs locally focused representation, not political affiliations nor vested interest (...so I've heard said).
Don't forget the next time you vote.....
Manuel Golding
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 5:43 pm
This is a big disappointment and hammer blow to the Wilmslow Civic Trust's & Transition Wilmlow's commendable plans for one of Wilmslow's oldest buildings.

Residents of Wilmslow was right behind both the above organisations aspirations for this site and saw their concept as being of great merit as a historical and community centre for the town.

It is a great shame and a source of sadness and myopic thinking that both Cheshire East Council and its local Conservative borough councillors jumped on the quick profit motive rather than favouring and supporting our local heritage. Goodness knows, we have far too little of it.

Wilmslow residents may recall that these same Conservatives have form when it comes to ridding the town of its few historical memorabilia. The same guilty parties welcomed with undue haste the shipping out of the town of another local heritage site, Romany's caravan.

It will be well worth Wilmslow's residents recalling these betrayals when next we are voting.
Residents of Wilmslow supports the need for preserving our few historical assets for the community, in contrast to the Conservative led destruction.

As John Harries says "Don't forget the next time you vote.....".
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 6:06 pm
Cheshire East first, Wilmslow last - conservative councillors do not care.
Constructive progress was made within Wilmslow, after years of CEC neglect. All for nothing. Such a shame, especially Cllr Menlove. How could he???
The use is wrong for the location. And here's guessing that car parking spaces will be lost for us residents.
Like Dean Row shopping centre where the Mini garage frequently parks 20 cars in public spaces, this will be little different.
Don't CEC Cllrs care? Answers on your ballot papers......
No wonder the world of politics is in turmoil. The rise of the 'forgotten man' continues. And quite right too.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 7:03 pm
I do hope that Lyme (Green) Design and Build realise that there is no space in front of the stables for loading/unloading, or parking without payment, and no access to the car park for vehicles which will not fit into one of the designated bays; the road immediately in front of the building is one of the main car park access routes.
I'm sure that the Ward Councillor will make it his mission to ensure that no parking violations occur; after all that is his speciality. Perhaps double Lyme Green lines could be painted on the sides of all the access roads After all, yellow would look so out of place next to this "significant part of the heritage of our town".
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 7:40 pm
I'm not surprised that Cheshire East has done this. I noticed when the idea of a community project was first mooted that a sign advertising this property immediately went up from Cheshire East, - in other words they had got wind of its value and would publicise it with a view to getting a greater return. The town is awash with empty office blocks and yet here we have another set of offices in the making.

What I can't understand is the situation re parking for this building. If this is to be an "office/shopfront" then presumably it requires parking. The carpark this building is situated in is owned by the leisure centre which was set up as a "trust". How is it that this "trust" can suddenly sign away the carpark? - which is not in the interests of the leisure centre or the town. I can see little point in having invested all the money doing roof repairs on the leisure centre, renovating the cafe, and then making it impossible for those who live some distance away from being able to park. Before the usual voices come in and say . "walk there", - I would point out that people in the classes I go to come in from Poynton, Prestbury and Macclesfield.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 25th January 2017 at 9:26 pm
Lyme Green was also apparently a ‘project not being straightforward ‘ and we neer got to the bottom of that... John Harries sums it all up .. nothing more to be said ... the track record continues ... When’s the next election ?
Simon Worthington
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 3:00 pm
All for A ton and a half a week - what money grubbers have we elected. Time now to evict them all and install those with the electorate in mind.
Rod Menlove
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 3:38 pm
Some points of fact

-The buildling is not listed but any changes will require planning permission when all residents can comment. The tenant may or may not want a show window but I see no source quoted for this assertion.
-There is no evidence that car parking spaces will be lost. The car park is owned and managed by CEC.
-Conversations between CEC and Transition Wilmslow (and others interested) about the possible use of the old stables, began after the decision to market the property and the availability of the information in the public domain. The allegations around the timing of the erection of the 'to let' sign are invalid.
-All councils are under a statutory obligation to achieve 'best value' when deciding on publicly owned assets. The freehold is retained by CEC with a full restoration agreement with a modest annual rental income.
-Local heritage has benefitted from the renovation of a derelict building at minimal cost to the tax payer, saving tens of thousands of pounds. The building will be a positive feature for Wilmslow and that, by any definition, is a public benefit.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 4:25 pm
For those of you so against this:

- What use do you think this building could be put to that might not lead to people wanting to park near it?
- It's great that community groups wanted to use it, but since they admit they had no fund in place to renovate it or meet ongoing running costs, perhaps leasing to them may not have been the soundest plan? There are many other buildings around Wilmslow that could be used to meet their stated aims that don't require tens of thousands of pounds of restoration work and may be better alternatives.
Thursday 26th January 2017 at 7:20 pm
Am I missing something here? According to this, http://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ecminutes/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=1895
the date for "call in" is 30th January 2017. If not "called in" by that date it will become a decision on 31st January 2017.
In other words no decision has been made until that date. Why was no representation made to have it "called in"?
Nick Jones
Friday 27th January 2017 at 6:20 pm
When and how was this ever put out to tender ?... I'm probably missing something here... but this seems to have been 'squared off' before any other considerations could have been made .. never mind considered !
Pete Taylor
Friday 27th January 2017 at 7:14 pm
Could I request that the Ward Councillor calls it in please?
I am a resident in the ward.
Alan Brough
Saturday 28th January 2017 at 10:08 am
I am also resident in the ward and would ask that the ward councillor calls it in.

More time, more scrutiny please.
Manuel Golding
Saturday 28th January 2017 at 2:52 pm
If you wish this matter to be "called in", I suggest you email the ward councillor, Councillor Menlove, at this address -

The "call in" must be acted upon by next Monday, the 30th January, so there is not much time left.