Government to help fund garden village in Handforth

Garden Village site view from A34

Cheshire East Council has been awarded £188,000 by the government to help develop the garden village which could see the development of some 1,650 new homes on Green Belt land on the eastern edge of Handforth.

The garden village project, which is being managed by the council's arms-length company Engine of the North, previously received £228,000 via the Homes and Communities Agency.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration said: "I am delighted that we were successful with this grant submission. The project will greatly improve connectivity in the area and see a boost in the local economy."

Councillor Jamie Macrae, chairman of Engine of the North, said: "The garden village at Handforth will be an exemplar new community, offering a full range of housing types including starter homes, self-build opportunities, mixed house types and homes for older people, making living in the village accessible for all.

"The village heart will provide space for new businesses, shops and cafes, alongside a village hall, community facilities and a village green.

"Improved transport and sustainable green links will connect the village to the surrounding area. Around 40 per cent of the site will be open space for all to enjoy, including a country park, garden squares and leisure facilities."

Public consultation on a draft planning document will be launched by the council in 2018, prior to it being adopted by the authority.

Photo captions: Location for garden village of Handforth.

North Cheshire Garden Village


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

Friday 15th December 2017 at 11:55 am
"The project will greatly improve connectivity in the area"

"will be an exemplar new community"

Fantasy land.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 15th December 2017 at 1:17 pm
Councillor Arnold really does think we are stupid. Perhaps he could explain how 3,300 extra cars on our local roads will "improve connectivity" because it defies logic to me?

But this is just another in a long, long list of how Cheshire East Conservatives hold us in total and utter contempt though.

Another example is we are still waiting for the "improved connectivity" to the A34 at Dean Row. This was deemed essential to be in place BEFORE the new Bollin Park development on Adlington Road was completed. The same Bollin Park that was built over two years ago but with no sign of this essential "improved connectivity" ever happening. The money is there from the developer and Cllr Stockton of Wilmslow now runs Cheshire East Traffic, but there is not date for the work and they can't be bothered to set one. A great example of the "improved connectivity" they promise and what they actually deliver.

Frankly, their words are now just meaningless twaddle.

Instead remember their actions. Especially, come May 2019 when they ask you to keep their job and you are stuck in gridlocked traffic at Handforth contemplating the "improved connectivity" they gave you.
Pete Taylor
Friday 15th December 2017 at 3:52 pm
Don’t forget- “the Government “ does not have any money- that is our money being spent on something we do not want. Ainsley Arnold showing, yet again, that he is completely out of touch with the electorate.
Nik Eastwood
Friday 15th December 2017 at 4:37 pm
@Mark Goldsmith, are you talking about widening of the on slip road between dean row Summerfields and dean row A34 roundabouts?
Terry Roeves
Friday 15th December 2017 at 7:14 pm
CEC is heading for £500,000 of s106 monies from building in Wilmslow and Handforth. To date not one penny has been spent. CEC keep it. Nothing ever happens, except ineptitude, waste and payoffs.
CEC prevented Wilmslow Trust leasing the old carriage stables in the leisure centre in favour of a builder from Stockport. That was almost a year ago. To date nothing has happened there either. Draw your own conclusions residents.
It’s pathetic that Conservative Cllrs for Wilmslow don’t get anything done. They block also WTC from doing anything either.
So our polluted roads jam up, our schools overcrowd, we even clean our our streets. then care home beds aren’t adequately subsidised so bed blocking isn’t addressed and so it goes on and on.
What is the point? Our conservative Cllrs can solve this. Resign enmasse. Join the Independents.
Julian Barlow
Saturday 16th December 2017 at 8:03 am
“Connectivity” appears to be the latest buzzword from the CEC dictionary of complete cobblers. For anyone confused by Cheshire East terminology, simply assume the word to mean the exact opposite of its implication.

For example when the council use their other favourite word “strategic” its safe to assume that we’re about to be subjected to a chaotic, ill conceived and costly project that no one outside of the council actually wants.
Ruth McNulty
Saturday 16th December 2017 at 7:28 pm
Terry! I cannot allow your assertions about CEC in two regards go unchallenged.
Most prominently is that you allege that CEC 'prevented' Transition Wilmslow leasing the Old Stables for a heritage site.
As Chair of Wilmslow Partnership I can tell you that Transition Wilmslow, a member of the Management Team of the Partnership, discussed this possible project at every meeting for at least 12 months before they (Transition) eventually withdrew their interest for a number of reasons - mainly costs for both renovation and subsequent manning of a centre - together with a lack of agreement of any content. Their interest in both this site and another in the town centre was kept open until their eventual withdrawal. To suggest otherwise is misinformed.
The use of S106 monies remains a particular frustration for those of us trying to improve aspects of the town centre through the deployment of the monies locked into these funds. WTC has managed to access over £20K to contribute to the building of the toilets by the Parish Hall car park. We continue to press for use of these not insubstantial funds but the impediment is not CEC but rather the restrictions of the initial legal framework of the agreed use of the funds that often revert to the developer if not used.
Mark Goldsmith
Saturday 16th December 2017 at 10:25 pm
@Nik Eastwood - Yes, widening the slip road onto the A34 opposite the Blue Bell BMW site. This would allow two cars abreast onto the A34, so that double the number of cars can enter the duel carriageway. It would help stop the gridlock at the roundabout during rush hour.

@Ruth McNulty: Remind me who sets the legal framework with the developers you are complaining about?

And why these restrictions don't seem to be a problem for Cheshire East services (eg school places). This money is claimed quick enough, but the its the infrastructure work that never gets used. A cynic would say one is pure profit for the Council, while the other requires some work doing, but I'm sure this is just a coincidence.
Sunday 17th December 2017 at 8:56 am
Ruth - two points.

Firstly, Cheshire East knew that Wilmslow wanted the Old Stables but could not afford to do everything themselves. The same Council knew that Holmes Chapel had a Community Centre which was struggling and needed investment. In Holmes Chapel the community centre was taken on as a community asset and promptly shifted off to "Everybody Sports and Leisure". The result is that Holmes Chapel, population 6,000, has 2 Leisure Centres . Meanwhile, Wilmslow, population, 37,000 has 1 and, of course, the Wilmslow one has to be used also by the ever expanding residents of Handforth, because they have none. So whilst I appreciate that Transition Wilmslow could not see their way ahead, it strikes me that Cheshire East did absolutely nothing to help them. I might add this same Council is the one which says that Dean Row does not need Energie - because there is no identified need for it.

Secondly, S106 monies. Again this money is locked in for particular things by legal agreement. The point is that monies have been there for years and the purposes for which the money was earmarked have never materialised. There have been several lots of money thrown at the recreation area off Browns Lane, including monies from Bollin Park. It remains a boggy mess because nothing has been done. The S106 monies, also from Bollin Park, to improve the access to A34 before first occupation, again has not materialised and yet Bollin Park must be 50% occupied by now. It is not the S106 agreements which is restricting use it,- it is Cheshire East.
Ruth McNulty
Sunday 17th December 2017 at 7:27 pm
Goodness me Jackie - what a series of assumptions, judgments, assertions and speculations you posit here.

You must take up your specific concerns about activity or non activity on Browns Lane with your local CEC ward Councillor

I was involved - albeit on the sidelines - with the interaction between CEC and Transition Wilmslow to convert the Old Stables into a Heritage Centre. At the time there was - and I suspect there still is - a local appetite for a provision to showcase Wilmslow's history. As Chair of the Partnership of which Transition Wilmslow are an active member, I was concerned that the necessary funds would be difficult to raise not simply to renovate the building but thereafter to maintain the structure and rent the premises. In many ways this was the least of the challenges facing Transition. Of further concern was the question of the abilities of either the Partnership or Transition both to rent and to man a 'Heritage Centre' - bearing in mind that this would now be an attraction that would not attract any visitor contribution. The Partnership encouraged the creation of a 'Heritage Display' in the library as a trial run to demonstrate the potential for a more complete exhibition. Sadly this has not materialised but remains an opportunity as yet to be realised.

A Leisure Centre wherever sited would attract user funding. Sadly a 'Heritage Centre' as proposed would not. Further and despite 12 months discussion, there was no proposition put forward either to the Partnership or to CEC about any content of a 'Heritage Centre'.

I don't detect any signs that readers of this site would support initiatives in Cheshire East, however worthy, to promote an appreciation of our history at a cost to the public purse. If my assumption is misguided, I am sure you will be in the vanguard of those advising otherwise.
Monday 18th December 2017 at 3:27 pm

I will not seek to match your condescension with my own, but it does seem to me that one persons “assumptions, judgments, assertions and speculations” are another’s entirely reasonable inferences and conclusions based upon lengthy observation of the behaviour of Cheshire East.

As to your advice re Brown’s Lane, you know that in Councillor Fox we have an excellent representative. I mentioned that site by way of example, and it was not my intention to suggest that Councillor Fox requires any prompting to add this item to her long list of defaults by Cheshire East. I could just as easily have cited other examples of unspent money in other Wilmslow Wards, all of which have Conservative Councillors.

Turning to the Old Stables site. Whilst, of course, I appreciate the distinction between capital expenditure and various running costs, I remain of the opinion that with sufficient political will those difficulties could have been addressed and overcome. It is instructive to compare with the “state of the art” history centre at Crewe, which received £4.2 million, with the shortfall being sought via a bid for a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant. A facility which will include “more space for volunteers”. Of course, the parallel is not exact, but it does seem to me to illustrate the way in which difficulties can be overcome. With respect I do not think that a “heritage display” in the library would provide much useful evidence upon the basis of which to make a decision concerning an entirely different idea housed in a separate building, with its own history, and with attached shop displaying local crafts. The latter of which would contribute to the visitor economy in Wilmslow.
Martin Watkins
Monday 18th December 2017 at 5:17 pm
Goodness me! An article about a garden village in Handforth now revolves around widening the access road to the A34, the old stable block, boggy land at Browns Lane and S106 monies all in Wilmslow. How did that happen? Therefore perhaps as I am the Chairman of WTC I can tell it “as is” from this Council’s point of view. The decision to widen the access route onto the A34 asap was part of the Adlington Road development. It should have been done during the school holidays 2015 but wasn’t. CE have been chased about this by WTC ( no matter who else wants to claim credit) on a regular basis. Earlier this year, Councillor Don Stockton (someone has had a go at him too) offered to intervene as he had an interest with the proposed Stanneylands development. He managed to get a firm start time of August 2017. This was subsequently pulled by the contractor, I am told. Perhaps it was no coincidence that this was the same time as digging up the road to Styal and other road works in the vicinity. For the record, we are against the start of further development until this access road is widened.

The old stable block. With no disrespect to the parties involved, the Wilmslow Partnership and Transition Wilmslow do not have the funds to embark on a project to develop a Heritage Centre. However, WTC does hence why the proposal was to work together. WTC repeatedly asked CE if they were prepared to negotiate for a rental period of more than 5 years. Repeatedly, we were told that it was not possible. Imagine our surprise to discover it was subsequently leased for 10 years. No Council would consider it financially prudent to lease a derilict building, draw up planning permissions, engage in restoration work and occupy it all within 5 years before handing it back to CE in a restored state.

Boggy land at Browns Lane. This goes back to the Summerfields development and could be described at undeveloped. With the Adlington Road development we now have further input of funds. But there are technical problems which need to be overcome otherwise good S106 monies will be wasted. What is important should be the recognition that a fit for purpose recreational area is well overdue and needs a commitment to see this fulfilled sooner rather than later.

S106 monies. Commercial in Confidence and legal requirements spring readily to mind. When these monies are negotiated it is important that the needs of the local community are known. These needs must be practical and spent in the community. S106 monies should be replaced by CIL which CE has yet to implement.

Councillor Martin Watkins
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 5:10 pm
To be perfectly Frank(!) the Handforth chickens are coming home to roost.

More evidence of a sad disconnect within Tatton Conservative factions.

Interesting that the electioneering has started already.
John Fallows
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 4:49 pm
Surely the original plans for the Adlington Road development showed the playing field being landscaped and lit. I understood this was part of justifying the so called sustainability / accessibility of the site: making it easier for the OAPs and single mums in the 'affordable' housing to run backwards and forward to the shops at Summerfield Village for the odd pint of milk etc. (if you don't know it's a good 30 minute+ round trip!)
Robert Bracegirdle
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 5:45 pm
Improved transport = local bus services halved. Equals more cars on the roads. It really is amusing as long as you don’t let it affect you.

Remember. Don’t vote for them. It only encourages them.
James MacDonald
Wednesday 20th December 2017 at 8:05 pm
I suppose garden village sounds more enticing than concrete jungle.
Christine McClory
Thursday 21st December 2017 at 12:54 am
OMG. The Old Stables either get preserved... and made into useful community space ... to be preserved for future generations. Or they get given to some group who develops them for their own ends.
Who cares who said what? Community leaders should be able to see what's right.
But it's the same with everything else around here.History is no longer a part of life. Money appears to be the only mantra. Community?
What an old fashioned idea.
WTC and Wilmslow Trust and Transition Wilmslow, all did their best against CEC but despite their truly noble efforts, they were up against the short sighted.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 21st December 2017 at 1:34 pm
I am involved in one local group with an interest in this area and I know considerable effort was made on the idea of a heritage centre.

None of the local groups were capable of funding it, and my understanding is much like ours the others couldn't provide the commitment to manning the place 8 hours per day 300 days a year or whatever it would be. And I mean commit. Every day, not "I can't do Tuesday because I'm getting Aunt Doris to visit" or "the weather is lovely this week so I've planned something else." And not just for the initial period of time when everyone is enthusiastic... Someone still needs to still be there on a wet Wednesday in November in 3 years time when there are hardly and visitors.

If everyone on here who is so keen on a heritage centre had committed to manning it for say a couple of days a week each for the next 5 years I'm sure something could have been arranged. But they didn't, and largely still talk about "they" should do something or "someone" should intervene. We see it again and again on here... "They should turn the Rex into a community run cinema" or whatever. And most of the time it's caveated with "just as long as that someone isn't me".