Initial proposals to transform town centre eyesore revealed

Initial proposals to redevelop a prominent town centre site have been unveiled to members of the public.

Annabelle Tugby Architects, a local architecture practice based in Styal, have been working with Property Alliance Group on the proposal for a 4 star hotel and restaurant to replace the 'eyesore' that is Tescos and the former sports bar on Alderly Road.

Susie Fairbank Angus said "Being just down the road from Wilmslow, we feel invested in the future of the area. The Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan pinpointed the Tescos Alderley Road site as one that is in need of development and therefore we think it is a great opportunity for a high quality piece of architecture to be part of the wider masterplan for the area.

"Over the past month we have met with members of Cheshire East Council, Wilmslow Town Council, Residents of Wilmslow and Transition Wilmslow to discuss the site and proposal which we have found to be very informative throughout the process so far."

A public consultation, held at Wilmslow Library on Tuesday 10th December, was attended by about 100 people who were able to view the scheme, which included a model and sketches.

Susie added "At this point our proposal is only at the initial feasibility stage so the design is by no means final, therefore we wanted to get as much feedback as possible! We showed a physical card model and sketches of our initial proposal (images above) which helped to communicate our ideas to the public. We found the model was a great way of encouraging the visitors to engage with the scheme and give us their thoughts and ideas.

"We really enjoyed meeting and talking to so many local people, and we hope that those who came along found it to be interesting."

Below is an overview of the feedback they gathered:

  • It was agreed that it's a great opportunity to create a high quality building in Wilmslow and hopefully will be a catalyst for other high quality developments to arise in the area.
  • The proposal of a hotel and restaurant was well received and the design was regarded as being a big improvement on the existing eyesore!
  • There was an overall opinion that the proposal has a good opportunity to improve the surrounding public realm ; something that we are keen to focus on.

The following are the main queries and their responses

Parking

  • Some people were concerned that the proposal of a hotel could add to the issue of car parking in Wilmslow. We appreciate this and are aware of the excess of traffic and parking problems that the centre currently has.
  • Town centre hotels do not usually have dedicated car parks and it is expected that any requirement from the hotel users for car parking will fall overnight when car parking isn't such an issue in Wilmslow.
  • It would be great if, as the WNP states, public transport links could be improved to reduce the reliance of cars working towards a greener future.

Hotel Viability - Is a hotel right for the site?

  • The interested hoteliers have done their research and concluded that Wilmslow is a great location for a hotel.
  • A hotel would improve the growing visitors economy of the area, bringing more people and business to the local shops and restaurants of Wilmslow.

Susie explained "We now hope to build on the feedback received and work towards developing an elegant and well considered design. This remains a once in a generation opportunity to upgrade this key site in Wilmslow as a result of the lease coming to an end on Tescos, with a scheme that will improve this eyesore and help set the agenda for new developments in Wilmslow."

They intend to submit a planning application in the new year.

Tags:
Alderley Road
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Comments

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

Pete Taylor
Friday 13th December 2019 at 5:10 pm
I rather like the look of that, although perhaps not so much in that same brown colour.

Before one of the local "grumblies" dives in, may I be the first to point out that, with the addition of a semi-colon to the title we have:

"Initial proposals to transform town centre; eyesore revealed." ;-)

My one reservation is the inevitable lack of parking provision. Not everyone checks in to or out of hotels before the commuters arrive/leave.
Nick Jones
Friday 13th December 2019 at 5:23 pm
Applaud the initiative !... great news for the town... The old Station Hotel was abandoned many years ago, this offers something fresh near the train station and any investment of this nature for jobs / customers to the town, already suffering too many empty units should be encouraged IMHO.
Jon Williams
Friday 13th December 2019 at 7:53 pm
Horrible, looks like a Court building
Pete Taylor
Friday 13th December 2019 at 8:34 pm
How many staff (full-time plus part-time) feature in the proposals? Hotels are 24/7, so I imagine a fair number.
Stuart Redgard
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 5:02 am
I attended the consultation and my comment was "very encouraging”.

I’d like to make the following comments on what Susie Fairbank Angus is reported as saying and what the author of the article reports:

1) There is no “wider masterplan for the area”.

2) “At this point our proposal is only at the initial feasibility stage”. I assume by this she is referring to stage 2 of the 2019 version of the RIBA Plan of Work (Concept Design)

3) My opinion is that commuting by car into Wilmslow for non residents commences at about 5:30am. and continues until gone 9:00am

4) As a professional in the built environment I’m surprised that a planning application is being planned for the new year.

I was a member of the Wilmslow Neighbourhood Plan Group and was one of the four member team who looked in detail at the Town Centre.

I agree that this is a once in a generation opportunity to do something with this eyesore. However, the developers have only secured part of the site. For this scheme to go ahead then they will have to secure the remaining land. One part of this is currently retail, the other residential housing.

And finally: After visiting the consultation, I thought more about the height of the hotel block (circa 5 levels above street level).

Maybe this might be a bit imposing for the town centre.

Take a look at the photograph of the existing site. I assume this development will be significantly higher than the tree that can be seen behind Tesco’s.
Sheila Hallas
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 3:38 pm
“We hope to have an elegant and well considered “ building?
I’m sure you have spent much time so far, but this is not “elegant”, nor well enough considered.
It is a boxy, somewhat brutalist outline. It doesn’t please the eye.
Could we not have an imaginative design that incorporates green walls?
If we are striving to be a plastic free town, we could take this opportunity to help towards clean air in Wilmslow.
Where are Hotel residents cars going? An underground car park? At what cost?
There has to be a better plan please.
Ade Whitaker
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 5:58 pm
I'm all for anything that can help boost the town, and the existing site is an eyesore, but the proposed new building is uninspiring.
Alan Slater
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 6:17 pm
I think you are quite right, Sheila - it does have a brutalist look! Perhaps that is exacerbated because we are not looking at the model from the equivalent of ground level. There are several ways that the bland exterior can be improved. I consider this a very poor first effort.

As there is no provision for car parking in this building, we all know what that means. I suppose there must be upwards of 50 bedrooms plus staff and very few of those will walk to work or use public transport. It costs to provide guest parking but I've stayed in hotels with car parks in the basement and this should be considered, here.

We do need this corner of the town improving but this is not the final solution.
Vince Chadwick
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 7:28 pm
I agree with Sheila Hallas. I applaud the proposal to redevelop the eyesore that is the present site, but come on, this proposal isn't visually any better than what's there now - maybe even worse.

As Sheila says, it is brutalist. It's a mish-mash of un co-ordinated unimaginative boxy structures above some threateningly dark spaces. It has all the elegance and subtle design of a 1950s military barracks.

Where's the imagination? As Sheila asks, where are the green walls (or anything else that smacks of creativity)? If the architects can't come up with something that lifts the soul in this prime town-centre site, get architects who can! Whatever is built there will there for a long time. Let's get it right!
Chris Neill
Saturday 14th December 2019 at 10:20 pm
Its too big isn't it ?
Julie Green
Monday 16th December 2019 at 1:12 pm
A central hotel would be a good idea if you can solve the car parking issue. However, as a Town Centre new building, it should be iconic in design and this design is hideous and does nothing to lift the Green Lane area. An Art Deco style would be better. Also, the growing tendency for new developments seems to be to hide the Churches away between overbearing structures e.g. the apartments next to URC. Consideration should be given to the historic Churches when developing.
Chris Neill
Monday 16th December 2019 at 2:40 pm
Totally agree with Julie who seems to fully understand Wilmslows heartbeat against the overwhelming greed and lack of vision for shot term gain.
Nick Jones
Monday 16th December 2019 at 3:36 pm
From experience I have faith in our new councillors.. Fox, Jefferay , Goldsmith who have dealt successfully with a number of issues that affected me ....and that the previous incumbents ignored.... and there's the rub ! .. The previous incumbents... did nothing !!.. a talking shop...hollow promises... See the many previous threads here all the bluster and no substance... But things have changed .. The planning panel are refusing poor / required development and All our local councillors are live to the parking issues in our fine town.... and it is a fine town that needs some investment... not inaction .. So whilst I think its a positive.. I respect the opinion of others who may feel differently .. But I dont want to see the town die as happened to many local towns when The Trafford Centre was built.


In a previous threadon Lisa's site ; https://bit.ly/36EDEe1 Cllr Goldsmith explained " Extra parking for this development is likely to be incorporated into the new all-day car park that Cheshire East is considering to build nearby. This development may also help fund it too "..
So although at an early stage .. it looks like joined up thinking.. not the bluster and deceit that previously made us all very sceptical of tribal politicians ..

Lets give the new regime a chance.. so far they haven't let me down and i'm sure they will try their best for their electorate.
Martin Theobald
Monday 16th December 2019 at 6:32 pm
So what is the extent of the plot?

Does the plot include the terraced cottages on Green Lane and the off road parking behind?

Does the plot go up to and include the Asian restaurant?

Will the parking behind the restaurant and adjacent premises be retained?

Are the church hall and associated green and parking areas to remain?
Rick Andrews
Tuesday 17th December 2019 at 7:07 pm
Developers are not altruistic and are driven by profit, so we should ignore the platitudes. It’s all about the money. Any proposal must address on site parking as part of the plan. Maybe use one of the many proposed floors for parking. Ugly building, flawed proposal with no regard for the surrounding built environment. So very likely to be approved by our CE planners. :-)
Maria Quin
Wednesday 18th December 2019 at 5:00 pm
Julie Green has said more or less exactly what I was about to say (great minds)! Art Deco style would blend beautifully with the Rex and help define the character of the town centre. Parking could surely be solved with an underground car park? Being so close to the station would encourage many guests to use the train which is good for reducing traffic and climate care.
This would excite me but the current design does the opposite!
Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 18th December 2019 at 6:30 pm
Think Ugly! Has the Architect not toured Wilmslow looked at some of the Edwardian houses and older office premises. Surely the outside could look more in keeping with Wilmslow & not some hideous 1960's new town plan.
John Harries
Wednesday 18th December 2019 at 7:54 pm
So far you're all giving redevelopment (of the whole site) a green light and in the process turning 'a design/concept', in fact any design as the only option - in the process also turning into urban development gurus 'cos you know best. It's more buildings don't ya know. Don't kid yourself, it will be more congestion and frustration - and (IMHO) it's really not needed!
For someone it will be simply, profit - good on them if they get the final go ahead but I'm bleating - again - for more open space and low key mini-development if absolutely necessary.
Derate/redesignate the land use and blight any 'big building' notions from the get go.
Wilsmow centre isn't going to die for the lack of a hotel and yet more restaurants, get real.
Gordon Hyslop
Wednesday 18th December 2019 at 9:28 pm
No imagination, basic and boring will fade into the general urban landscape. The best a local team who “feel invested in the future of the area” can do? Luckily it’s not the final design, maybe they will be true to their word and take onboard the feedback from above
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 18th December 2019 at 10:56 pm
He who pays the Piper calls the tune...

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