£400,000 S106 money held for Handforth - with 50% set aside for bus service improvements

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Cheshire East Council has over £400,000 in its S106* account from Next Plc which has been allocated for improvements in Handforth.

Next paid Cheshire East Council £410,000 in December 2015 in relation to the development of their superstore on Earl Road at Handforth Dean, however to date only £1000 of this has been spent.

Over half of the money has been allocated for improving local bus services, with £205,000 having been set aside for improvements to the 312 bus service, which runs from Handforth Dean to Heald Green, Cheadle and then on to Stockport - rather than local services for Wilmslow, Handforth and Styal.

Meanwhile the Council is currently proposing to make a number of cuts to local bus services, including reducing the 88 Knutsford to Wilmslow to Altrincham bus from a half hourly to an hourly service, cutting support for the 200 service from Wilmslow to Manchester Airport which passes through Styal and discontinuing evenings and Sunday buses, which would result in cutting support for the Sunday 130 service which travels from Macclesfield to Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Manchester.

The S106 money from Next has been allocated as follows:

Public Rights of Way

  • £45,000 towards upgrading footpaths in the vicinity of Earl Road.

Highways

  • £205,00 for improvements to the 312 local bus service.
  • £30,000 towards bus stops.
  • £100,000 for infrastructure works.

Public Open Space

  • £15,000 towards improvements, additions and enhancements of the existing facilities at Meriton Road Park, Henbury Road and Spath Lane.
  • £15,000 towards the off-site provision of recreation/outdoor sport at Meriton Road Park and Spath Lane.

To date the Council has only spent £1083 on scoping and costing footpath improvement works. They are proposing to spend £16,321 on improving the footpath between Delamere Road and Earl Road. No further expenditure has been planned.

At the time of publication we are awaiting information from Cheshire East Council as to when they intend to spend the rest of this S106 money and what it will be spent on.

We have also asked why the money allocated for improvements to local bus services has been earmarked for the 312 service rather other services for Wilmslow, Styal and Handforth.

*Section 106 agreements are legal agreements between the Council and developers, the money from which is intended to be used for social and community projects..

Tags:
Handforth, Next, S106 Money
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Comments

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

Chris Wigley
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 5:39 pm
I wonder when Orbit/Emmerson will provide the disable access to Handforth Station (Handforth to Crewe) that they agreed to fund as part of the planning permission for Carriages. Perhaps some of the S102 could be used for similar access via South Acre Drive (Handforth to Manchester).
I have always thought it rather strange that the 200 bus wasn't a circular journey including Handforth, which has no direct access to the airport. It could also be more appealing by including Wythenshawe shopping centre.
The money set aside for the 312 doesn't appear to benefit many CE residents as most of it's journey outside of CE, and anyone using just public transport has a fair walk to Handforth Dean to pick it up. It really would be useful if this service incorporated Wilmslow and Handforth to compensate for the cessation of the 378.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 6:50 pm
A quick look at the bus roue map shows that there are 36 stops on this route.

According to the CEC interactive map TWO(!) of them are in Cheshire East!

Surely this is a misuse of Cheshire East S102 money?
Julie Lowe
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 7:05 pm
Why are Cheshire East Council funding a Stockport bus service with s106 money intended for use in Cheshire East when they are cutting services in Handforrh? That £205,000 could fund the original 378 service for 2 years!
John Featherstone
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 7:13 pm
totally agree with these comment above
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 7:31 pm
The determination to destroy our bus services in favour of the car beggars belief.
Jonathan Follows
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 7:42 pm
Does the £410,000 (minus £1,083) actually exist, though? Lisa refers to the "S106 account" but does such a thing actually exist, or is it just a notional construct and the money isn't actually reserved in a separate account? I know this is the intent of the money, and it has been "allocated", but I'd also like to think that there's a separate account for this money which has been earning us a paltry rate of interest since it was handed over some 18 or more months ago and remains available to be spent for its designated purpose. Or, like most payments to central government, did it disappear into one central account and has since probably been spent on something else?
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 9:01 pm
Would be helpful if HPC n WTC both summarise regularly how much has been paid in to CEC by builders, where it is going to be spent (with their agreement of course) and how the spend is going.
Last year Wilmslow had around £250k unspent (from memory, Cllr Menlove gave us the figure in a comment here).
Richard Nolan
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 10:38 pm
I HAVE to agree with comments already made, but as I said before ,the 378 bus was a
Lifeline too most of its passengers and as quoted by our own MP Esther Mcvey having
Stated ,that the passengers do not only use any bus including the 378 ,just for their
Shopping ,there are visit's too the Doctors, Dentist's Hospital's to be made.
I Myself often asked the Bus Drivers of the said 378 bus service. Why do the Company
Stagecoach not realise the Fact that We the Public needed a double decker, on the 378
Bus Route. The 378 used to be packed well before it's destination of Stockport coming
From Wilmslow, during school term of course, you have the children,
The 312 bus service can be boarded in " Cheadle,People of Wilmslow " but You have to
Catch the 130 from Macclesfield to Manchester, which is now sometimes a work of art .
Then if You need too ,You can get the 312 too HANDFORTH Dean and do Your much
Needed Shopping, Now Then if You need too Get too Colshaw farm ? Lacey Green?
Wilmslow centre You can not, not from HANDFORTH Dean . But you could get A Taxicab
Adding Too Your Grocery Bill. For now I rest My Case !!
Martin Watkins
Wednesday 9th August 2017 at 11:01 pm
@Terry Roeves. S106 monies are not normally paid to Town and Parish councils ( unless you want to build a toilet block and accept a three and a half year wait to persuade a unique transfer). S106 monies are for specific and named causes and you cannot work outside these parameters. That said I am amazed that CE negotiations for S106 contributions included this bus service over others that need support more inclusive of Cheshire East than cross boarder services.
Jackie Pass
Thursday 10th August 2017 at 9:34 am
Martin - agree that S106 monies are for specified causes. However, the same "specified causes" are used over and over again and nothing on the "specified causes" appears to be spent. How much money has Browns Lane playing fields had thrown at it over the years? What has been done?
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 10th August 2017 at 9:55 am
I observe that we're rehashing some of the completely valid points made and documented in http://bit.ly/2wKV2Md which dates from March 2016. Do we still have no S106 officer or has one been appointed? With the recent statement that "The council is keen to continue to be open and transparent" I'd hope indeed that we could have more transparency on the status of all the S106 monies. Or do we need to keep submitting FOI requests to get the information instead?
Janet Taylor
Thursday 10th August 2017 at 2:52 pm
Interesting questions, from the article you will see that some of this S106 funding has been allocated to Stanley Hall Park in Handforth, three members of the Friends group have been trying since February to gain confirmation that the funding is in place and can be used for park projects, along with further funding from the development of the former chapel adjacent the Pinewood Hotel, we have been fobbed off and passed from pillar to post for the past 6 months and still received no answers so perhaps some of your comments are correct, perhaps CEC S106 Officer could tell us all publicly whether these funds do indeed exist or whether they have gone to other areas? This lack of support from the S106 Officer is not only preventing us from completing our current path project but also stopping us applying for much larger grants which would be available if we can prove we have funding in place.
Birgitta Hoffmann
Friday 11th August 2017 at 5:48 pm
As some of the other comments said, this is a matter of negotiations for specific projects. And CEC and Next clearly believe that there are more people that would be coming to Handforth Dean from Stockport, than from Wilmslow, Handforth and Styal.
Do the CEC believe that people in Cheshire East can come by car (especially as the traffic jams are already making that an experience all of its own). Or are we just making policy for people who are only "their sort of kind", who would not want to be seen shopping at Handforth Dean anyway.

It seems quite clear that when it comes to the interests of the County they represent, the attention of the CEC is elsewhere. Or are we just spiteful, that so much of their mismanagement in the last 10 years has come to light and is not being approved of by their voters?

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