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.