Council puts the brakes on plans for new car dealership


Plans to build a new car dealership with a showroom, workshops, car display areas, bodyshops, offices and car parking on land at Coppice Way in Handforth have been refused by the Strategic Planning Board this week.

Halliwell Jones were refused planning permission for a modern car showroom on a vacant site adjacent to Handforth Dean retail park  which would have secured 133 existing jobs and created approximately 36 new permanent jobs.

The proposed development was refused because it has not been demonstrated that the site is no longer suitable or viable for employment use; the proposal results in the loss of open space and no assessment to show the open space is surplus to requirements was submitted.

It was also considered that the proposed development does not adequately reflect the established character of the site or make a positive contribution to the immediate surroundings.

Additionally, the proposal was consider to result in less than substantial harm to the setting of a gradeII* listed building, which is not sufficiently justified, it is anticipated that there will be a significant loss of woodland cover, no survey has been carried out to determine the presence of roosting bats and the proposals to address the loss of habitat, which is considered to be of sufficient value to be designated as a Local Wildlife Site, are inadequate.

Also, the submitted ecological assessment did not consider the potential impact of the proposed development upon Great Crested Newts associated with the ponds located at Handforth Hall.

The new development would have enabled Halliwell Jones to consolidate their sales, servicing and repair activities, which are currently split across three local sites on the corner of Manchester Road and Dean Row Road, Summerfield Village Centre and the Brooke Park employment area off Lower Meadow Road.

Halliwell Jones, Planning Applications


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

Nik Eastwood
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 4:36 pm
can somebody explain this "employment use" thing to me, do they mean they would rather have a factory there [or offices]?
surely ANY business is "employment use"?
Jon Williams
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 4:39 pm
Short sighted C/E again
Ryan Dance
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 5:07 pm
Bunch of muppets. Ridiculous decision.
Keith Brewer
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 5:20 pm
Oh, brilliant foresight from CE council. Let's take a thriving business employing over 100 people and throw it in the bin. Consolidation of 3 sites into one, loads more business to Tesco and M&S food outlets with potential to grow the business and bring I'm yet more staff. The resonated area has been unused ever since HD was built, so why not use it. Brings in even greater revenue to CE Council !! Why are these elected representatives of the people more PC than people orientated.
Jon Newell
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 5:46 pm
Good diet for a care home? - creates employment, plenty of space for a big car park.
Will need to deal with the bats and the great crested newts though.
Shaun Waugh
Friday 3rd August 2018 at 8:40 pm
Are these the same people who agreed to Adlington Road and Dean Row Road destruction of green belt to put up houses in place of fields (open space). Must not be enough money in it for them.
Rick Andrews
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 4:25 am
Yet again the council demonstrates inconsistent and illogical decision making. Get ready for expensive appeal process, badly managed by the outsourced planning department. Or HJ relocating outside CE.
Roger Bagguley
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 11:04 am
Inconsistent application of planning guidelines is becoming a real issue as CEC push on with their quest for growth. Of course Halliwell Jones is in the business of retail and creating jobs, and cannot do so continuing to trade on their current out-dated sites. The proposed development does not sit well within the surroundings yet the approved, grossly enlarged Lidl at Dean Row apparently does.

I am amazed the application is not accompanied by very professionally carried out ecological and environmental surveys and plans to address the issues and wonder why Halliwell Jones did not withdraw until these were settled. So what is the agenda? Whatever, as one who studies numerous applications for developments on behalf of RoW, inconsistency in the decision making process does need explaining.
Nick Jones
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 12:23 pm
I must concur fully with Ryan Dance ... and all above... Perverse!
Dale Longworth
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 1:03 pm
Why does it seem that everyone involved in local councils are either tinpot tiny minded social engineers or fat backhander taking parasites. Can't we have someone normal who actually cares about the town? Time to drain the swamp!
Marc Staples
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 12:56 pm
Why are jobs under threat !! surely because this has been refused it doesn't mean they will have to make redundancies at the other sites. Surely the 133 other jobs are safe ?
Jon Williams
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 2:24 pm
BMW want it all under one roof
Marc Staples
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 2:59 pm
I understand that John but why are jobs at risk ? Surely a very busy business will not be laying staff off just because it cant get planning permission .
Jon Newell
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 3:57 pm
All the main dealers - including BMW - have very precise and increasingly demanding minimum standards for their dealerships.
Many may think these demands are unreasonable but they are a commercial reality.
I have no specific knowledge of the case in point - only general awareness. If Halliwell Jones do not get planning permission for the proposed site, someone else will be empowered to develop an alternative (maybe HJ) on a site outside Wilmslow. The Wilmslow jobs are at significant risk.
Whatever happens, the current HJ site at the traffic lights will go - it only exists for historic reasons and would never be allowed under current planning rules. It is not fit for purpose in the 2018 environment for either BMW or an alternative motor dealer.
On the other hand, the proposed development looks to be well thought out and I can not see the basis of the objections. The proposed site is certainly not pretty, it does not provide access to open space for walkers/ wildlife enthusiasts and is surrounded by retail parks and office developments. I would have considered this site “Brown field” in character whatever it’s legal status. An ideal location for a plan which preserves jobs and provides the potential for increases in the labour force in the future.
Michael Maddox
Wednesday 8th August 2018 at 5:50 pm
Having operated as a Senior Manager in the Motor Trade Franchise system for close on 50 years, I feel I can comment with experience on what the major Motortrade Manufacturers demand from a Franchise.

The Manufacture will control the whole process of where they would like the premises to be be, which will include the size and design of the premises. The number of bays in the Car park and workshop, and so on. And I may add, even the signing off of the Plans!
The Manufacturer normally has a system where they give a Licence to a business on a rolling 2 year basis. During this time the Business is always on probation, having to comply with certain rules and objectives set by the Manufacture.
Failure to comply - will result in the Manufacture warning the Business/Company they are in breach of these set guidelines, leading possibly, to the Franchise agreement being cancelled! Which normally ends up with the business closing.

Lack of foresight by CE Council, jepordising the future business of a Company that's been in the area for some time - borders on stupidity!
Gina Thompson
Wednesday 8th August 2018 at 6:06 pm
Money is at the root of this. If you go on the footpath from Marks and Spencer to Hall Road you will see Jones homes busy building, this is in the same area as HJ want to re locate. CEC will get money from the government for building residental homes but not for commercial premises.
Simon Worthington
Monday 13th August 2018 at 3:31 pm
If only the application had been in the name of Mr. Jones - rubber stamped.
Marc Staples
Monday 13th August 2018 at 4:03 pm
It certainly would maybe HJ could donate a few cars to CEC to helps it through