Something smells funny down at the farm

A farming family in Handforth are furious after finding out "through the grapevine" that a developer is planning to build a path through the middle of their farm.

David Wilson Homes has submitted a planning application for a new residential development of 174 homes on land north of Stanneylands Road, behind Wilmslow Garden Centre and south of Bridge Farm in Handforth.

The 14.62 hectare site, which is currently used for grazing/paddocks, has been removed from the Green Belt and included in the Cheshire East Local Plan as a site suitable for building up to 200 homes.

David Wilson's scheme includes a new three-armed roundabout providing access to the site from Stanneylands Road, public open space, a new foot and cycle path connecting Linneys Bridge and Manchester Road along with a new pedestrian and cycle bridge across the River Dean to the council owned land to the north of the site which is occupied by Bridge Farm - the only remaining farm in Handforth.

The Shenton family have rented the land off the Council for over 60 years and Chris Shenton, who lives there with his wife Debbie and youngest daughter Holly, has run the farm and the farm shop for over 40 years - helped by his son Mark and and his middle daughter Lisa who also lives in Handforth and helps out in the farm shop.

The family run business breeds sheep and cattle - including a prize winning herd of Blondes which has the Cheshire Farm's competition for the last two years and in 2012 the cattle won the National Blonde Herd competition.

Debbie Shenton told "The impact on the farm if the bridge/path goes across the land would be that the land would be unsuitable to graze with cattle and sheep, because we put newly calved cows with calves at foot, working stock bulls and tups ready for the breeding season on this land. All livestock can be unpredictable and be easily spooked or charged if chased."

Despite being council tenants for decades, neither Cheshire East Council or David Wilson Homes consulted them on these plans - instead they were left to hear about it from other people - subsequently they have contacted both the developer and Council for clarification of their plans but have not received a response from either party to their enquiries. They also contacted their land agent from Cheshire East Council who informed them that he knew nothing of the plans.

Debbie Shenton said "We have had no notice written or verbal about the bridge/path. A site plan which is in the planning application clearly shows a new bridge over the River Dean on to our side of the river.

"We feel that there is an alternative route that the path/bridge could take, that would not affect our grazing land. Our suggested route would cross the river at the bottom of Dobbinets Brook, from the Stannylands side to link into Handforth Woods and lead on to Sagers Road - thus leading into Handforth Village and extend to the back of the garden centre's existing path to lead on to Manchester Road."

According to the Design and Access Statement (which, in error, includes two photos of land at Bridge Farm instead of David Wilson's land) "The proposed development will provide a multi-user route through the site. This route will provide a connection between Linneys Bridge and Manchester Road, including a new bridge crossing across the River Dean, improving accessibility to Handforth town centre and the railway station." approached both Cheshire East Council and David Wilson Homes who confirmed that the bridge and route of the path are now being discussed and yes it does look likely that the path will cross through Bridge Farm.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "Yes, CEC has agreed that Wilson Homes can build a path over the river. The details of the bridge and the route of the path are currently being discussed."

He added "It does seem that they weren't told which is regrettable.

"There's no statutory obligation to say they should have been but even so, naturally it should not have been the beyond the wit of man to keep them informed."

A spokesperson for David Wilson Homes said, "Providing a cycle/footpath from the Stanneylands development across the River Dean to Manchester Road is a requirement of the Local Plan policy that allocates this Stanneylands Road site for residential development, and is therefore a planning requirement for this scheme. The precise route will be for Cheshire East Council to determine."

Debbie Shenton said "We are mad that we have not been informed about the bridge/path. We have not had a fair chance or opportunity to have our say or put our points of view across.

"We heard about the plans through Handforth Planning Committee and village gossip, I can not stress enough that we have not had written notice at all."

David Wilson's plans for 174 homes at Stanneylands can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 17/4521M.

The deadline for commenting on this planning application has been extended to Wednesday, 11th October, after local resident Julian Barlow discovered a discrepancy in the cut off date for submitting comments regarding this development.

On the Cheshire East Council website the cut off date for all comments was stated as being 5/10/17. However, on the notifications posted locally on lamp posts, the final date was stated as being 11th October so the deadline was subsequently changed.

Photos: The Shelton Clan, four generations aged from one to nighty three years young. The blonde cattle.



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

Nick Jones
Saturday 7th October 2017 at 11:22 am
CEC and No consultation !! AGAIN !! .... a familiar story !! .. remember the Local Plan ? Who was it that voted to remove this land from Green belt protection ??... The Wilmslow 4 and their colleagues... !! Now In such a rush to bring in developers it looks like Chris and his family have become further victims of CEC's incompetence in their haste to build new housing stock at any cost.
This should also now be referred to Dept of Communities and Local Government who are already closely watching CEC .
Perhaps one of the Cllrs concerned can now give a pubic explanation ?? This should be raised on 10/10/17 at next CEC meeting @ Westfields as a matter of significant public concern.
Saturday 7th October 2017 at 12:03 pm
Good manners alone should have meant that the land agent was informed and the Shentons. This is the last working farm in Handforth. The whole situation is not a one off mistake. There is the Royal London fiasco of a new road put in after the Local Plan, and, in Knutsford they included a site with no access and now plan to include Public Open Space to give access. What a way to treat residents who fund them.
Julian Barlow
Saturday 7th October 2017 at 1:00 pm
This development of 174 houses has attracted over 450 objections on the Cheshire East planning website. If it goes ahead it will serve to prove that "public consulation" is nothing more than an inconvenient process to be treated with complete indifference. The Shenton family along with hundreds of others have expressed legitimate and well considered concerns regarding this development. If it gets the go ahead it will serve to prove that Cheshire East Council are utterly out of touch with the people who pay their wages and that the profits of greedy developers are prioritised over our quality of life. Commuting times, road safety, school places, GP Surgeries, dental practises, our local farm and our ever decreasing green spaces will all be negatively effected.

It's time for council leader Rachel Bailey to show some back bone and, in her own words "ensure that the countryside and open spaces in Cheshire East are managed prudently". There has been no evidence of this so far in the Great Green Belt Give Away.
Saturday 7th October 2017 at 3:11 pm
Julian - I suspect that this site will follow the same pattern as others. You can tell what is going to happen by the response of the internal consultees. Highways always say there are no problems. If a development was in the middle of a roundabout they would probably still not oppose it because Highways are Cheshire East - because a unitary authority controls the Highways department or subcontractor. The Housing internal consultee always says "yes" - but says what they would prefer. In this case they say that affordable housing is "pepper potted throughout the site" - when there are whole sections on one side of the proposed development that do not have any affordable housing and since they are most near the "countryside" - they are clearly going to be the "exclusive" part of the estate. The other phrase to look out for in the consultee response is, "discussions with the developer". What this means is that we don't like what they are doing but we have been told to look for "mitigation" to offset the bit we don't like. Still not seeing in this application what cash is expected to change hands in the way of S106 monies - the monies that seem to be never spent.
Caroline Barker
Saturday 7th October 2017 at 6:57 pm
It has taken me an awfully long time to read through the majority of the documents relating to this application but the most important, the planning document cannot be opened - request failed. The S106 monies is mentioned in connection with the building of the bridge, but we can't see where the associated footpath may go. It seems wrong to me to ruin viable farmland, jeopardise a thriving farm shop and the livelihood of a local farming family when there are other options available. The local topography is not suited to such a development, the access is dangerous, valuable habitat will be lost.
Pete Taylor
Sunday 8th October 2017 at 12:57 pm
@ Jackie- when our local roundabouts were “sponsored” by a well- known local house-builder I wondered if it was just a matter of time before they built on them!
Jon Williams
Sunday 8th October 2017 at 4:05 pm
Slightly off topic, but does anyone have more any news on the proposed apartment block on the Hillside Care Home site on Adlington Road
Martin Kitchin
Sunday 8th October 2017 at 4:18 pm
Friday at 4pm it took almost 40 minutes to get from the Bluebell end of Dean Row Road to the Adlington Road roundabout.

An accident or roadworks maybe?

No just the sheer volume of traffic.

To make matters worse desperate drivers are now resorting to the narrow side lanes to get through and cut out bottle necks.

And of course that's without the extra traffic generated by the following over developments:-

Little Stanneylands
Heathfield Farm Dean Row
Dean Coppice
Royal London
Sagars Road
Threat of a 50 percent bigger Lidl on Summerfields Village Dean Row to replace Energie Fitness Centre
East Handforth Village on A34
Fully occupied Bollin Park and Woodford Garden Village

We are fast heading for gridlock.

Please Cheshire East when considering planning applications listen to residents and take a more joined up holistic view on the impact on the road network.

Pollution and concreted greenbelt issues aside, one day there will be an accident and emergency services will get stuck. I hope it's neither me nor my loved ones that perish ...
Paul Tracey
Tuesday 10th October 2017 at 1:28 am
I have just checked and there are now 581 complaints! Ok, I have not checked every single one is an objection, so I guess that should be 581 comments.

Anyway, here is a direct link to the planning application on CE website:

Simply click "Comment on this application" on the right hand side.
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 3:55 pm
All on land presumably purchased by the old Macc Council with rate payers cash then handed over to this mob to use as they please. Disgusting.
Simon Atkins
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 4:14 pm
CEC your discourtesy and arrogance is disgusting!
Christian Hurstfield
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 5:22 pm
Be nice for non-farmers and their families to be able to freely walk through the lovely greenbelt everyone tries desperately to keep hold of.
Sure it's a bit underhanded but without this path then all of that land is just for the farmers and their families to enjoy while everyone else has to walk the streets or small crappy areas of woodland or tiny parks.
It's just one path not all of the field, there are plenty of grazing areas which are right next to public paths so not sure why this one would attract any issues not already present on others.
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 6:16 pm
Farmland gone again. And we can't feed ourselves. Madness.
Paul Tracey
Friday 13th October 2017 at 11:06 pm
@Christian Hurstfield, unfortunately, with this attitude, there will be no "lovely greenbelt (sic)", it will be just houses everywhere. That 14.2 hectare site was green belt, but CEC have decided, in their wisdom, to unlist it, so, it will be houses, but it is already not green belt, that decision has already been made. The main issue here is regarding the disruption to the local farm. It is the equivalent of building a house next to yours and then a path through your garden. Your garden is not green belt, so why not?

There are plenty of walks and runs around Wilmslow and Handforth that avoid the roads and "crappy areas of woodland". I am relatively new to the area and and still discovering new places.