Office development applies for retrospective permission to keep holding events


The owners of an office development located in the Green Belt off Altrincham Road have applied for planning permission to enable them to continue to hold events following noise complaints from local residents.

The Colony Ltd has submitted a retrospective application for the change of use of the HQ office building into a mixed use as an office and function/event venue. The application also seeks retrospective permission for the rear extension that has been constructed in place of the pergola that was granted planning permission in December 2017.

The site, which has been used for events since May 2017, has been the subject of an Enforcement investigation by Cheshire East Council due to a small number of noise complaints from local residents.

To date more than 60 events have taken place since the launch of the business in May 2017, these include corporate and conference events and weddings- the majority which have taken place on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The company has received five complaints in respect of noise, as a result of which they have engaged with both local residents and the Council's Environmental Health Officer and carried out a noise assessment. As a result a noise limiter has been installed and amplified music is now also only played within the building when all the doors are closed.

The current licence permits the sale of alcohol and the playing of music to 1am seven days a week. The company takes the they have no intention of holding regular weekday events beyond 11pm but to cover all possibilities they are requesting opening hours of 8am to 1am Monday to Saturday and 8am to 11pm on a Sunday.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council planning portal by searching for planning reference 19/3302M. The last date for submitting comments is 30th August and a decision is expected by 11th September.

Planning Applications, The Colony


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

Mike Cooksey
Tuesday 13th August 2019 at 9:12 pm
It appears that The Colony’s marketing company has been at work feeding one side of the story to readers.
The facts are that over the last year a large number of complaints over the noise have been made not only to Environmental Health at Cheshire East but also to the management at The Colony.
Apologies have been made with excuses such as “ someone turned the noise limiter off” or “ a guest opened the external doors”.
The truth is that guests spill out into the grounds and the music follows them.
That on a still balmy night means that screams and loud beat carry into Morley Green and surrounding dwellings.
When we ring to complain, like magic, the volume is turned down.
This is a rural idyllic environment and loud disco music does not belong.
Their arrogance is personified by the fact they have extended without consent.
Hence the retrospective application.
Why have a license until 1.0 if they don’t intend to have music beyond 11.0?
The application should be rejected and the license curtailed.
Oliver Romain
Tuesday 13th August 2019 at 11:41 pm
Mike: thank you for your comments they are very helpful. I live near the parish hall in Wilmslow and I understand how noise from parties can carry over large distances, especially with open windows and doors in the summer.
It is vital that residents put their comments about these plans to via the Cheshire East Planning Portal. The CEC planning committee members are unlikely to read this website.
I will ensure that Wilmslow Town Council planning committee is informed about your experience, however, if you are able to encourage your neighbours to contribute to the CEC planning process it would be ideal. The Labour controlled council is unlikely to be concerned about what happens in our neighbourhood unless they are told.
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 11:44 am
Hi Mike

The Colony have submitted a retrospective planning request for their ground floor pergola to hold events. Previously events there caused noise issues when the pergola canopy roof was off, its side windows open and an external DJ used their sound system.

They have now measured noise levels from the nearest houses with their pergola roof open, but this time with its double glazed side windows closed and their new noise limiting sound-system at maximum. Under these conditions, it meets Cheshire East's noise standards.

As at the time of my writing, there have been no complaints to this application on the Cheshire East planning portal. Regardless of this though, their application will be judged by an impartial planning officer with no political interference on their decision. Therefore, they will decide if the building is suitable for its new use or not.

However, they do not decide whether The Colony management team will keep to these conditions. Instead, this is covered by The Colony's Alcohol and Entertainment License. As we have seen recently with The Symposium in Wilmslow, these licences can be reviewed, amended and revoked at any time if the holder allows disturbances to occur.

So in a nutshell, this planning application is to see if the building is okay to hold events. It is not a green light for the management at The Colony to cause a nuisance to its neighbours and there are other council measures still in place to stop them from doing this.

I hope this clarifies things.

Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 4:40 pm
How fortunate to live in a "rural idyllic environment" a few hundred meters from all sorts of facilities and what a great pity some people are inconsiderate and disturb ones perfect environment. Perhaps moving further into the country is an idea but maybe the smell and noise of animals would not be so idyllic and the damned noise of church bells of a Sunday would be a terrible nuisance and the trek into the nearest town would not be quite so handy!!!
On the other hand the bunch who own this property have used every trick in the book to create a catering business out of a green belt kennels. The council was conned!!
Oliver Romain
Wednesday 14th August 2019 at 10:38 pm
This application will be considered by Wilmslow Town Council’s Planning Committee on Monday 19th August at 7.30 pm at Wilmslow Parish Hall.
It’s just one of the stages that local planning applications go through and by no means final, but it maybe useful for residents to come.
Residents and interested parties are welcome to attend, comment and observe the meeting.
Ultimately, planning is a political matter and whilst councils can choose to delegate authority for many common applications, they can also ‘call in’ applications to allow councillors to decide. If they consider it important enough.
So don’t be put off. It’s important that everyone who wants to engage in planning is encouraged to do so. Whether it’s writing an objection, speaking up at a meeting or heading up up a campaign it’s important to have your say. After all most planners and councillors are not ‘all seeing’ and need to hear from residents to help inform their decisions.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 15th August 2019 at 7:24 am
Should there really be such a thing as “retrospective planning”? Planning is thinking things through carefully in advance and weighing up all the consequences.
Isn’t this application simply a change of use for “office” buildings, which, iirc, was itself a change of use?
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 15th August 2019 at 10:26 am
One does have to ask questions about how a dog kennels within the green belt became offices of much greater bulk than the original, managed an extension to the car park to accommodate a retail venture and got a licence to serve alcohol? What does not help people living close to these ever growing ventures, councillors too who seek to represent them, is that planning law allows it to happen.
Laurie Atterbury
Friday 16th August 2019 at 3:12 pm
We need to resist these sort if applications; just registered my objection on CEC’s planning page.
Oliver Romain
Friday 16th August 2019 at 4:04 pm
Hi Laurie. Thank you for this. Planning committee members do look at the submissions. However, I don’t know how long it will take for your comments to appear on the CEC website. If you can please email me a copy (details on WTC website), I will ensure that your concerns are raised at Monday’s WTC planning meeting.
WTC’s role in planning is purely advisory, but it is an important element of the process as we have more detailed local knowledge. I find it is always helpful to hear of residents’ views.
John Brearley
Saturday 17th August 2019 at 8:57 am
Complete contempt and disregard for planning regulations by the Colony. They were granted permission for a pergola only but instead built a full glass extension for their party venue. Hopefully the relevant authorities will make an example of them.
Laurie Atterbury
Saturday 17th August 2019 at 10:00 am
Oliver I just checked and my submission is already on the CEC planning page
Oliver Romain
Saturday 17th August 2019 at 3:15 pm
Laurie that’s great news. If anyone wants to attend Monday’s WTC planning meeting to discuss their views on this and other recent applications they will be most welcome.