Consultation to begin on Royal London development

Local residents are being encouraged to have their say on a six-week consultation which will contribute to the discussion on how insurance giants Royal London continue plans to develop at their Wilmslow campus.

The Royal London site is proposed as a strategic site allocation in the Local Plan, for 175 new homes and 5 ha of employment land. The Local Plan also which promotes the removal of the current campus, together with land to the east and land to the west of Alderley Road, from the Green Belt.

The ambition is to develop the site as a 'living campus', to create a thriving environment for business, as well as opportunities for living and relaxing.

The proposed development framework will help to shape future planning applications for a variety of uses and activities within the site, including additional office space, housing, improved transport links and a wide range of amenities including a hotel and restaurant.

Royal London was granted planning consent last year for a modern replacement for Royal London House, the main office facility for the company.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: "Royal London already employs more than 1,200 people at its Wilmslow headquarters and is a key employer in the town. This framework provides the opportunity to bring more and better employment opportunities to the area.

"I strongly encourage Cheshire East residents, not just those in Wilmslow, to get involved in the consultation process and have a say in shaping this discussion."

The consultation will run from Friday June 23 to Friday August 4. There will also be a consultation drop-in event at Wilmslow Leisure Centre from 2pm-7pm on Tuesday July 4, where planning officers will be on hand to answer questions from the public.

Printed copies of the development framework will be available from the libraries in Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.

Once finalised, the Royal London development framework will be used to inform decisions on future planning applications on the site.

Royal London


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

Manuel Golding
Tuesday 20th June 2017 at 4:55 pm
Who are these people, CEC & RL, just trying to kid yet again, The so called public "consultation" is a painful, for the Council's apparatchiks & the company's yes men, process they are statutory obliged to go through.

They have long ago decided what they want & what they will do - the anxious public is just a necessary thorn for them to cast aside as nothing more than a temporary inconvenience We must discount the broken promises for the RL sites by CEC leadership, backed by our former MP; I wonder why I am becoming a cynic?l

There is no guarantee Royal London will stay in Wilmslow. I have it on insider authority that one of the elements the company is looking at is "public transport" - Wilmslow has the Manchester-Macclesfield once an hour 130 bus, the Altrincham-Knutsford hourly 88 bus and that's it. Oh and the trains to Manchester & Crewe onward. I also understand the company is looking at two other sites which have greatly enhanced public transport.

So all added up, we are being used to create a greatly enhanced value to the RL site so that the company can sell at a enhanced valuation ..........and move elsewhere. We are left to pick up the societal cost & disadvantages.
Dave Cash
Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 2:23 am
Is Royal London really Wilmslow's largest employer?
Based on no. of total employees or just those living within 10 miles of Wilmslow?
James MacDonald
Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 6:36 pm
There won't be much living when the greenfields are torn up.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 21st June 2017 at 7:21 pm
Could the Ward Councillor, Rod Menlove, perhaps explain to us residents why he has repeatedly voted against the wishes of his constituents and supported Royal London, rather than the people who he supposed to represent?
I have certain knowledge that Private Eye magazine are very interested in this matter.
So, Cllr. Menlove, please could you explain your actions?
Bob Bracegirdle
Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 12:23 am
To think Wilmslow was a village. Surrounded by farms. Look at it now.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 3:54 pm
How Rod Menlove gets elected is totally beyond me. I had dealings with him years ago and his inability to grasp facts along with the ability to comprehensively misunderstand amazed me.
This is another stitch up job - remember "no infill" - and Royal London are not being honest and they have been caught out more than once being "economical" with the truth. If any thing this land should be used to correct some of the highways failures at the roundabout and the rest used for a sixth form college especially as the recent change in law and the selectivity of our non-selective school at age 16 provide no local facilities for the compulsory continuation of education locally for those without a place at the bursting at the seams high school.
Rod Menlove
Thursday 22nd June 2017 at 7:21 pm
Looking at the documentation, it is clear that the 'living campus' proposal is of very high quality.I welcome the fact that it is going to public consultation with a 'drop-in' session at Wilmslow Leisure Centre on Tuesday 4 July 2pm-7pm with staff on hand to answer queries and all information available at the library. I urge all residents to participate and comment so that the majority voice is heard as opposed to the usual handful of vocal commentators.
It is extremely regrettable that the entire site is removed from the Green Belt but as the Planning Inspector noted, Wilmslow is constrained by greenbelt. There needs to be a balance here between the Campus benefits of the planned open spaces and shared uses plus the reality of retaining this major employer. Do not forget that planning permission was given last year for a new office block (16/2314m) for at least 1500 staff on a 5.73ha parcel of land adjacent to the railway line in the knowledge it is in greenbelt. Even though the site is close to the town centre, the potential development will be largely unnoticed by all but a few local residents.
As to the comment from Pete Taylor, let me clarify that I voted in Council for the Local Plan to go to consultation. I moved an amendment that the land to the west of the RL site be excluded but the majority councillors voted against. I do not understand his comment of 'repeatedly' but Mr Taylor must keep detailed records so he can clarify. A mere handful of residents have
contacted me about RL but since the balance of the 3,100+ voters have not, I conclude that I am not acting against their wishes.
I have offered to meet Mr Taylor repeatedly for full and frank discussions on all the issues that are of concern to him but to date he has yet to accept. He is a ward constituent of Wilmslow East living in Fulshaw Park. It is a great pity that there is an apparent unwillingness to discuss these important issues face to face.
Mr Worthington appears to know me but I must confess that if I have met him, he made no lasting impression. He may or may not be a constituent in Wilmslow East but he can clarify. I brush aside his insults and extend the same invitation as to Mr Taylor to meet and discuss issues of concern.
Who knows, they may care to join together and I look to them to suggest a time and place of their chosing.
Friday 23rd June 2017 at 8:57 pm
Councillor Menlove perhaps you can help with this. The "entire site" removed from the Green Belt. The entire site in the Local Plan is site CS26. "The entire site" includes the area of Protected Open Space next to the High School which includes their playing fields. Has this "Protected Open Space" now been removed from the "Green Belt"? The "masterplan" gives no indication of what is to happen to this land, other than it is to extended by 1 hectare "for use by Wilmslow High and "other occupiers of the site".
Roger Bagguley
Friday 23rd June 2017 at 10:12 pm
We were assured by CEC, in the presence of Mr Pratt, Inspector, that the additional number of secondary school places required of the LP will be accommodated on land already allocated and not on any green belt so far not identified. There is a strong feel the preference is to expand WHS: I am informed meetings have taken place to agree land swapping between owners so as to free up the whole site. If all of this is correct then it is remarkable there is no mention in the master plan of school provision. The Inspector's final report approving the LP, under "infrastructure," does mention schooling is agreed but does not give any indication of where? Need to read this in more detail before going any further. If the school is to be expanded then some of this site will need to provide much improved access as well as an increase in sports provision and a big increase in parking.
Roger Bagguley
Saturday 24th June 2017 at 9:07 am
I am intrigued by the terminology used by planners, politicians etc as they buddy up to convert green belt into things called 'villages,' or in this case a 'living campus.' The in word during the LPS was 'sustainable:" A steal from ecology, pertaining to balanced ecosystems. But planners and the like do not understand 'limiting factors.' The new in word is 'quality.' What does this mean? A brand of chocolates springs to mind. 'Quaility Street,' a medley of delicious chocolates with fillings to delight the palate.

So excited about quality urbanisation!
Rod Menlove
Saturday 24th June 2017 at 2:22 pm
The reference for my use of the phrase "entire site " is the Plannning Inspectors report on the CE website on the consideration of the RL site CS25. I have no doubt that other considerations apply to any adjacent CS.
Jackie Pass - can you help with your comment on another thread "CE is buying land in the North to replenish their stocks". I have been assured that this is not the case and would appreciate the details/sources from you so that I can refer back to CE for clarification.
Saturday 24th June 2017 at 7:12 pm
Thank -you for getting back to me Councillor Menlove. The Consultation gives this site the reference of CS26. The Proposed Changes Version of the Local Plan(the most recent) - gives this site as CS26. Figure 15.47 of the new version has shifted the Protected Open Space to immediately next to the High School and it is edged in red. It is my understanding that the red lines denote the boundaries of sites in the local plan and hence this area is included in site CS26. (In the previous version the Protected Open Space was elsewhere and edged in green). That the "Protected Open Space" is included in site CS26 is reinforced by the text of the Proposed Changes Version which states at section 15.376a, "Any replacement and/or new sports provision should be in accordance with an adopted and up to date and robust Playing Pitch Strategy and with policy SC2 "Indoor and Outdoor Sports Provision". Hence my question remains - has the "Protected Open Space" which includes
the sports pitches been removed from the Green Belt along with the rest of site CS26? I hope that you can refer me to the person who can clarify.

As to your question I would like to concentrate upon this clarification because of its urgency.
Rod Menlove
Sunday 25th June 2017 at 5:21 pm
Jackie Pass - thank you for your response.
Any questions needing clarification will be possible at the "drop-in" session at WLC on 4 July 2pm-7pm. I would strongly encourage you, not only to go but to take notes of your exchanges.
You asked for the CEC contact for earlier questions on the status of various CS and that is Adrian Fisher whose contact details can be found on the CEC website.
Please come back to me soonest on the "buying land" matter.
Simon Worthington
Monday 26th June 2017 at 10:42 am
Mr. Menlove- I am a constituent of Wilmslow east. To jog your memory I contacted you some years ago after you had penned a piece in the local paper informing readers how much road "accidents" cost public funds. After researching and discovering that of 20 collisions in central Wilmslow seven were the result of pedestrians crossing roads at inappropriate places and walking into stationary vehicles and most of the rest were rear end shunts in traffic with none (to my recollection) being "serious", your figures were wildly inaccurate and appeared to be gleaned from a comprehensive misunderstanding of government statistics. You then took umbrage and curtly refused any further discussion.
Rod Menlove
Monday 26th June 2017 at 2:10 pm
Mr Worthington - Thanks for the expansion but I have no memory of the dialogue. From your description, it sounds as though it was probably face to face so I should have remembered. If we did meet somewhere was it perhaps at your residence and it might jog my memory if that is in the area between Alderley Road and Hawthorn Street/Beddells Lane.
Pete Taylor
Monday 26th June 2017 at 4:38 pm
Mr Menlove, if I might jog your memory too; the two occasions you offered to meet me, one to one, were after I asked you to consider a surgery so that several residents could discuss our long-term broken street lighting and the repeated flooding. You said that you preferred to meet voters singly rather than as a group. Unfortunately I was was travelling overseas at those times (as I am now).
Your comment about only a handful of residents contacting you about The Royal London green belt is, frankly, fatuous- you must surely be aware of the thousands of people who have objected to incursions into the green belt in the many surveys, from the "Wilmslow Vision" onwards- how many of them were for removal? Approximately none.
Brian McGavin
Sunday 16th July 2017 at 1:10 pm
This is another developers' charter in league with the council to enrich the
pockets of the site owners as greenbelt land value is pushed into land for
development, seeing a huge increase in value for the owners. Further
development is planned after removing the greenbelt obstacle.

The plans destroy greenbelt, Grade 1 farmland, the last open view to Alderley hill and will increase already worsening traffic gridlock in the area. Apart from a plan to increase road width at the site entrance to the roundabout, no thought has gone into this issue.

More speculative office development with potentially another hotel - there
are already nine in the greater Wilmslow area, is NOT needed when there is
already over supply locally. A demolition and rebuild of the beautifully landscaped Royal London HQ will trash an iconic building in the Wilmslow landscape. The development, if any
should be much smaller scale on the existing site.

How on earth does this vandalism offer, as the developers claim: "A modern-knowledge business requirement to attract a high calibre of staff"? Does the current HQ building not attract high calibre staff? This is sheer developer twaddle!
People have until 4 August to contact Cheshire East Planning. Please do so!
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 1st August 2017 at 7:29 am
Last few days to make your comments on the Royal London Green Belt issue:

At the top of the feedback questions is a link to the Draft development Framework document.

The agricultural fields to the West of Alderley Road are not part of the existing "Campus" and certainly will not be if they are built on- they are being sold off for development purely to fund the speculative development on the existing Royal London site. These fields are hardly mentioned in the Framework Document and in the small space section 4.2 which does mention them most of the words are about the land to the East!

This is the only bit of green space between the Wilmslow border and the town; it would be a tradgedy if yeat another look-alike Adlington Road development were to become our "Welcome to Wilmslow" from the South.

To fill in the comments on the linked survey will take ten minutes of your time, please take that time.
Tuesday 1st August 2017 at 8:41 am
Consultation runs to the 4th August. 28th July an Environmental Impact Assessment was put on the planning portal for "land north of the existing Royal London campus" for a "new access road and temporary carpark". Seems to me that they could have waited until after the
end of the "consultation".
Nick Jones
Tuesday 1st August 2017 at 9:12 am
This clearly evidences why CEC chose to ignore the view of residents imposing “THEIR Local Plan” . The decision already made, Consultation rom the electorate has been blatantly ignored. [Previously reported many times on these pages] ... I imagine if you frequently ‘deceive’ as you soon forget Truth …. Which Cllr on this thread said; "I have worked closely with the town council over the years to counter threats to the local Green Belt – something I will continue to do" [Apparently Not ].... "I am on record as supporting building on brownfield sites before green areas and on allowing offices to be converted to housing. I have publicly opposed any housing on the Royal London site…[Apparently Not again ] … Fiscal control by developers. Not furnishing actual requirement as the ONS statistics indicate. Ignoring local views supporting meaningful / appropriate development… Its not only the timing of this consultation that’s deliberately flawed, it’s the pollution statistics as well... On the border there is significant development at Manchester Airport, (side-lining burning of tons of Jet engines hydrocarbon fuel) Airport city, SEMMS link, Increased Congestion on A34 and arterial roads, Its all either a perfect storm of mistakes or a well spun plot to deceive. The public are not fools. Cllrs involved will pay the price at the ballot box.