Revised plans for the erection of a new car dealership with a showroom at Coppice Way in Handforth are set to be determined by the Strategic Planning Board next week.
The modern three-storey car showroom will be occupied by Halliwell Jones, who have been searching for a new site for several years to replace their existing sites in the Wilmslow and Handforth area, which are considered no longer fit for purpose.
The project will see the development of a vacant site, adjacent to Handforth Dean retail park, in order to provide a joint BMW & MINI dealership, including servicing and MOT testing within a purpose-built facility.
The new dealership will enable Halliwell Jones to consolidate their sales, servicing and repair activities, which are currently split across three local sites at the corner of Manchester Road and Dean Row Road, Summerfield Village Centre and the Brooke Park employment area off Lower Meadow Road.
The proposed development will secure 127 existing jobs and create approximately 45 new permanent jobs.
Halliwell Jones were refused planning permission for a modern car showroom on the vacant 2.43 hectares site by the Strategic Planning Board in August 2018.
The proposed development (planning reference 17/6486M) was refused for the following six reasons: loss of employment land; loss of open space; out of character with site context; harm to the setting of a listed building; insufficient arboricultural information and ecological impacts.
The planning officer is recommending the revised plans for approval at the Strategic Planning meeting on Wednesday,26th June, stating "The majority of these reasons have been addressed within this resubmission. Adequate open space is now provided within the site to mitigate for the loss of the rather historic proposed open space allocation within the MBLP along the southern boundary.
"The proposed building has been amended to better reflect the characteristics of the site and will now positively contribute to the character of the area. Whilst some woodland will be lost as part of the proposal, the development will secure long term management of the woodland to maintain its integrity into the future. Finally, subject to the satisfactory receipt of mitigation proposals for specific ecological impacts, the ecological impact of the development will be acceptable."
Regarding the principle of a car showroom on a site allocated for employment uses, the planning officer states "The retention of an existing employer and the associated jobs is undoubtedly a clear benefit of the proposal. Whilst no information has been submitted to demonstrate how this site was arrived at, or consideration of other sites for the proposed development, there are no other known sites that could be suitable for the development, outside of other employment sites.
"Therefore significant weight can also be attached to this. Overall, given the absence of any other harm, the proposed benefits and considerations in favour of the development are considered to outweigh the policy presumption against the development on employment land grounds and the less than substantial harm to the setting of the listed building. Accordingly a recommendation of approval is made."