Decision due on plans for new car dealership


Plans to build a new car dealership with a showroom, workshops, car display areas and car parking on land at Coppice Way in Handforth are set to be determined by the Strategic Planning Board next week.

Halliwell Jones have applied to erect a modern car showroom on a vacant site adjacent to Handforth Dean retail park. This will enable Halliwell Jones to consolidate their sales, servicing and repair activities, which are currently split across three local sites.

The BMW showroom and servicing facilities will be relocated from the existing showroom and servicing workshop located the corner of Manchester Road and Dean Row Road, whilst the Mini showroom and servicing workshop will be relocated from the existing site at Summerfield Village Centre and the existing bodyshop will be moved from the Brooke Park employment area off Lower Meadow Road. Existing staff at these locations will be transferred to the new site.

The scheme comprises of two buildings, the primary building will house a BMW showroom and a MINI showroom - connected by a shared atrium, a body shop, workshop and an after sales facility. The second subsidiary building will provide a used car sales facility, with its own customer parking and road access.

A large proportion of the site will be set aside for parking, providing a total of 483 space for the external display of cars along with parking for customers, demonstrator vehicles and service parking.

The proposed development will secure 133 existing jobs and create approximately 36 new permanent jobs.

The planning officer is recommending the committee refuse the application because it is "not sustainable development".

A report prepared for the committee meeting states "The proposed building does not adequately reflect the constraints of the site and does not contribute to the sustainable development principles outlined within policy SD2 of the CELPS, and in this context it does not make a positive contribution to the immediate surroundings in line with policy SE1. The proposal also results in less than substantial harm to the setting of the adjacent listed building. The proposal results in the loss of habitats of sufficient value to be designated as a Local Wildlife Site, and the compensation proposals are inadequate to address the loss of this habitat."

The officer continues "It is also anticipated that there will be a significant net loss of woodland cover, which is contrary to the applicant's own Planning Statement and policies within the Local Plan. The current design provides no scope for compensation or mitigation to offset this loss, nor has a green buffer been incorporated to offset the harm to the existing woodland.

"The retention of an existing employer and the associated jobs would be a clear benefit of the proposal, but no information has been submitted to demonstrate how this site was arrived at, or consideration of other sites for the proposed development. Therefore only moderate weight can be attached to this.

"The proposal will result in the loss of employment land at a time when the Council has recently taken land out of the Green Belt to allocate additional employment land as part of the July 2017 CELPS. The need for sites was such that even Green Belt locations were currently identified as being required for the provision of the employment land to 2030. The weight afforded to the considerations in favour of the development is not considered to outweigh the conflict with the adopted development plan in this case. Accordingly the proposal is not sustainable development, and the application is recommended for refusal."

The Strategic Planning Board will meet on Wednesday, 1st August at 10.30 am at the Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings on Earle Street in Crewe.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 17/6486M.

Halliwell Jones, Planning Applications


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

Mark Pepper
Wednesday 25th July 2018 at 8:49 pm
About time! This will stop the dealership at Summerfields taking all the car parking spaces up with their cars that are for sale, which they spread around the whole car park.

It will also stop the chaos that the BMW garage causes at the crossroads with Manchester Road and Dean Road. The amount of times that selfish drivers block this cross road to try and go into this garage is unreal. Also, with all the staff now parking their cars on the road down Manchester Road, it just adds to the congestion at crucial times in the day. The number of times I have been sat in a jam at that crossroads, only to see someone pull over and block more traffic, get out of their Mini or BMW, lock it and walk into the garage is ridiculous.

Anything that stops this chaos at these key locations is welcome!
Peter Evans
Wednesday 25th July 2018 at 10:35 pm
Two immediate thoughts: a) the planning officer has drawn a bizarre set of conclusions that I don't understand, esp in comparison with some other conclusions drawn and reported in (given the scant disregard to green belt land south of town circa Royal London, I'm quite surprised this patch of messy brown land surrounded by retail mayhem is green belt anyway) and b) the planning committee seem to usually totally ignore their appointed officer, so here's hoping that their usual behaviour prevails for once. Makes total sense to me to let BMW invest in the area in this manner.
Kathryn Blackburn
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 8:47 am
David Smith
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 10:24 am
Stupid idea. We want houses not more car showrooms. There are plenty of other BMW 'outlets' in the Northwest area so why do we need another one where we live. It could only attract more traffic to where we live on roads that are too busy already. BMW purchasers - go somewhere else to buy a car. After Brexit European cars will be more expensive anyway and demand will fall. Another reason for not wanting this 'car sales outlet'.
Marc Staples
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 10:40 am
The officer continues "It is also anticipated that there will be a significant net loss of woodland cover, which is contrary to the applicant's own Planning Statement and policies within the Local Plan. The current design provides no scope for compensation or mitigation to offset this loss, nor has a green buffer been incorporated to offset the harm to the existing woodland.

They have already bulldozed down all the trees and plants here !!!! How can this happen with the relevant permissions.
Looks like the bean counters have been at work as the fine they get if any will be easily offset but the new sales forecasts having a bigger showroom
Jon Williams
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 10:56 am
Lets hope they get the O.K. next week, this is the perfect spot for the BMW main dealer
Roger Thawley
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 11:57 am
Was this not a site which CEC themselves considered using as a waste/recycling site at some point in the recent past? Perhaps I'm confusing it with some other plot.

The site is a piece of scrubland located at the edge of what is today a retail and light industrial site. It wouldn't make a particularly good location for housing and, in any case, some thousands of houses are proposed for the 'Handforth Garden Village' site on the other side of Ainslie Way (A34)

The 'listed building' referenced is already surrounded by commercial units, which are situated much closer than the proposed car showroom ...and the last time I passed by that was undergoing rebuilding ....I think it suffered fire damage some time ago. Assuming the woodland bordering Lower Meadow Road is being retained, the proposed development will be out of sight from the listed building anyway.

HJ and before them BlueBell has outgrown the current site, which, it seems to me, would be better turned over to housing. The proposed site has long struck me as a sensible location for something like a car dealership.
Alasdair Carmichael
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 1:30 pm
The planning officer does not like the loss of natural habitat - it is actually a scrubby plot with lots of litter and no natural redeeming feature.
The planning officer bemoans the fact that the development will take needed employment land.
Does he think high density employment development will result in the retention of natural habitat? Does he not see that the plan is to employ 169 people, 133 moving from existing 3 sites as well as 36 additional jobs.
It is a site in the middle of a light industrial and retail area - it seems to be a very good location for the intended purpose. It is one of the more reasonable applications compared to some that have been approved in the last few years.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 26th July 2018 at 2:01 pm
When you are on a leaky ship, sometimes you need a bigger bung.

Old Chinese proverb.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 27th July 2018 at 1:06 pm
@David Smith:

- This is a BMW and Mini garage that will fix cars not just sell them
- The Mini is made in Oxford, so wont be effected by Brexit
- Not sure how making people drive further to a car dealer makes the roads clearer?
- The existing BMW garage in Handforth will become vacant and probably become housing.
- But surely more houses = more people = busier local roads?

Generally, it seems a good place to have this for me, so it will obviously never happen.
Rick Andrews
Friday 27th July 2018 at 6:45 pm
I agree with Mr Goldsmith, this is a relocation of existing businesses on multiple sites so there is clearly a need to consolidate on one site and an opportunity to increase staff and create jobs.

The site is currently neglected and development will improve the area in general. The references to the adjacent listed building are illogical as that building has a trampoline facility to one side and industrial units all around already.

The CE planning team continues to demonstrate inconsistency and incompetence. We will no doubt bear significant costs when the application goes to appeal.
Martin Kitchin
Friday 27th July 2018 at 10:08 pm
And of course the question on all resident's lips is :

"To replace the existing Mini garage, will another inappropriately big, out of town retail unit be squeezed into Summerfields Village to the detriment of struggling Wilmslow town centre ?" (Retail Studies 2018)

Based on past performance residents should really be told now.

Should'nt they ?
Peter Evans
Saturday 28th July 2018 at 8:10 am
So, most correspondents seem to agree that this proposed development by BMW is a good idea. I have two scandalous suggestions to ensure it goes ahead:
a) get Lidl to submit the development proposal, approval would be assured and then they sell the land, with planning permission to HJ
b) provide a certain Mr Jones with a nice new 7 series... see what impact that might have...?

Just hypothesising... :-)
Rick Andrews
Saturday 28th July 2018 at 10:08 am
Good point from Mr Kitchin - more likely a drive through fast food outlet to replace Mini. A few years ago there were plans for KFC and McD right where the BMW garage is planned.
Jon Newell
Saturday 28th July 2018 at 2:07 pm
Some excellent and well thought out comments here.

The only illogical statement comes from the planning officer.

This is the most sensible planning proposal I have seen reported upon. The site being developed is,whatever its legal status, within a deveped commercial area with no "open space" aspects that make it worth preserving. This is exactly the kind of space we should be developing.

But the planners are recommending rejection! - how on earth can the reconcile this with the many applications they have supported; Lidl being the most glaring example.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Blue Bell site. Only because of drift over a number of years was this allowed to develop from what was one a filling station and small car dealership. Under current planning laws, the current facility would never have been developed.

I am sure this will go to residential development but then we will have a density issue. The development will be accessed and exited from what is still one of the busiest cross roads in Wilmslow.

I know the planners have a quaint belief that their plans will ease congestion In the medium term but at the rate we are going, the airport link road may never be complied.

And then the Stannelands development begins.

Maybe there is a plan. The Bluebell site is demolished and we build a big roundabout. At least the prospective residents of Stannelands and Heathfield Farm will be able to get out of their streets.
Nik Eastwood
Sunday 29th July 2018 at 7:35 pm
if Mini move from Summerfields, I think another dealership will strike up there, and that means the car parking problem will remain.

although I do hope thats not the case.
Jon Williams
Monday 30th July 2018 at 8:24 am
Or Aldi come to Summerfields
Paul Roue
Monday 30th July 2018 at 10:06 am
Talk about double standards. How does the CE planning department reconcile this thinking for Handforth Dean with the application for Lidl Summerfields Village they were so keen to see approved, regardless of the cost to the community and to residents.

We really should be told, shouldn’t we?
Pete Taylor
Monday 30th July 2018 at 2:42 pm
@Paul, indeed- or even the removal of Green Belt protection from the Royal London fields to build houses? Of course the first thing RL did after getting outline planning permission was to announce that they were pulling out of town anyway.

Strange days indeed in our Planning Department.
Richard Armstead
Monday 30th July 2018 at 10:26 pm
There is no need to wonder why some applications are approved and others much more deserving are refused. Planning permissions now have a price. In Richmond, Lidl are building houses and schools for the local authority. It makes you wonder what the price is in Cheshire East.
Martin Kitchin
Tuesday 31st July 2018 at 6:20 am
Hello John Williams,

Under The Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), Summerfields Residents Association have twice applied to Cheshire East to see any Pre Planning Advice that may have been given to the developers of the current Mini site in Summerfields Village Dean Row, Wilmslow

The aim was to determine ~

■ what was being discussed
■ the extent to which residents had been consulted, if at all
■ what steer the Planning Department were giving the developers about the likelihood their planning application might be approved.

On both occasions under FoIA, Summerfields Residents Association were told that no advice had been provided regarding the Mini site. And we take this as being accurate.

This action has been taken before of course by residents. A previous FoIA for another large Summerfields Village development had proved to be very, 'enlightening'.

So, yes we should all be told everything about forthcoming developments when our livelihoods, our homes, our right to privacy and peaceful existence is at stake.

And one way to do that is to seek the Pre Planning Advice from Cheshire East Planning Team.