Handforth Retail Park is set to get a lot bigger following the Strategic Planning Board's approval of three applications this morning.
Two of the three schemes were recommended for refusal, on the grounds that they would result in the loss of employment land at a time when the Council is actively allocating additional employment land as part of its emerging local plan.
However, members of the committee went against the planning officer's recommendation and gave the green light for a large number of retail units along with restaurants, cafes, drive-thus and parking to be built on Council owned land adjacent to the existing Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Next stores.
Alderley Edge based developer Consolidated Property Group (CPG) can now go ahead with the second and third phases of their Handforth Dean Shopping Park which will involve approximately 25 retail units and create about 950 jobs.
CPGs third application for an extension to the recently constructed Next store (which CPG sold last week for £15.8m), Phase 1 of the £160 million scheme, was also approved.
This includes the demolition of the existing conservatory and garden centre so that two independent retail units can be built. which would create an additional 40 jobs.
Martin Ridgway, Group Managing Director of CPG, said "Delighted with the outcome which has taken many months of negotiation with the Council's officers. We also welcome the thorough debate amongst Members at the Committee and especially the manner in which they addressed the many issues relevant to the applications."
All three of CPG's planning applications will be referred to the Secretary of State and subject to the necessary clearance construction work could satrt in late 2017 with the restaurants trading by summer 2018 and the retail units by summer 2019.
A fourth application from Orbit Development's for a retail development on the adjacent site was refused on the grounds that it would result in the loss of employment land.
Orbit applied to demolish the existing warehouses at the junction of Earl Road and Epsom Avenue and replace them with a parade of six units and a standalone unit. Orbit says the development will create 290 additional jobs.
At the time of publication we are awaiting a comment from Orbit.
Orbit's application is a resubmission of planning application 15/0400M which was refused by Cheshire East Council's Strategic Planning Board in February 2016 on the grounds that the loss of employment land is considered to significantly outweigh the benefits of the proposal.
Orbit Developments have appealed against the refusal of the previous scheme (reference 15/0400M) for five retail units and two restaurants, cafes or takeaways along with 240 car parking spaces - claiming that the scheme is an acceptable form of land use in a sustainable location which will deliver significant benefit to the local economy and local employment prospects.
Orbit's appeal hearing will commence on June 13th.