Plans for 950 houses at Woodford Aerodrome revealed

Stockport and Cheshire East Councils invited local residents to have their say on 'Woodford Garden Village' last week - a proposed residential development on the former BAE Systems Woodford Aerodrome site.

BAE Systems made the decision to cease operations at Woodford Aerodrome in March 2011. The site was sold to AVRO Heritage Ltd late in 2011, who subsequently formed a joint venture with Harrow Estates.

The councils have been working with Avro Heritage Ltd and Harrow Estates, part of the Redrow Group, who are a specialist brownfield developer with expertise in residential master planning and regeneration.

More than 1,000 people visited two public exhibitions held last week, where the proposed master plan was showcased.

Woodford Garden Village, adopting 'Garden Suburb' principles, proposes a community of 950 homes, including both open market and affordable housing, within a landscaped setting where everyone can benefit from gardens, greenspace and useable open spaces that will be integrated with the existing Woodford Village.

Proposals include a new primary school, a day nursery and creche, children's play area, new heritage centre, shops, a public house, playing fields and a village green close to Chester Road.

The extent of the development area will equate broadly to the 42.1 hectares of the existing Major Existing Developed Sites (MEDS) albeit in a different shape. It is proposed to merge the two MEDS areas and locate the residential development on the northern part of the Woodford Aerodrome site, which lies within Stockport.

The southern MEDS area would be reinstated to open countryside with appropriate green belt uses.

Public transport would also be improved, as well as opening up public rights of way.

As the Woodford Aerodrome site straddles the administrative boundary between Stockport and Cheshire East Councils it has been agreed that both Councils will work together in the production of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the whole site.

The next step is for the Councils to prepare a draft SPD which will guide development for this site. Once the SPD has been drafted, people will have further opportunities to have their say during the six week consultation period later this year.

The potential for the future use of the Cheshire East part of the Woodford Aerodrome site and a realigned route for the Poynton relief road will need to be considered as part of the Cheshire East Local Plan and explicitly not within this SPD.

Councillor Iain Roberts, Executive Member for Regeneration at Stockport Council, said "We want to hear the views of local people and these events are an important way of getting feedback on the proposed Woodford Garden Village.

"We are determined to get the best amenities and services for the local community and finding out what people think is a crucial part of this. I would urge people to keep talking to us, and to have their say on the draft SPD which will be published later this year."

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity and economic regeneration, added: "I would encourage as many local residents as possible to take the time to get involved and express their views about the Woodford Garden Village.

"It is vitally important that we have as much input from local people as possible as the plans will help shape their communities for years to come. We want to get any proposed scheme right for local people and the wider region – and right first time."

Details of the exhibition can be found at and

This is not the formal community consoltation period, however it is an early opportunity to have your say. Comments may be submitted to:

Woodford Garden Village SPD Consultation, Ian Harrison, Regeneration Manager, Stockport Council, Stopford House, Piccadilly, Stokcport, SK1 3XE or via email to

Cheshire East Council, Woodford Aerodrome


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

Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 29th May 2012 at 3:25 pm
I hope this will not preclude continued future use as Woodford as an airfield. Uniquely among major conurbations, the Manchester / Liverpool area of North West England has no general and business aviation airfield except City Airport (formerly Barton), which is grass, is short, and frequently closes in winter due waterlogging.

Woodford has a superb runway in excellent condition that would cost many millions of pounds to build.... and it languishes unused!

Manchester International Airport is geared for large scale commercial flying and it is uneconomic for small businesses to use it. Liverpool John Lennon is following MIA's model.

London has Biggin Hill, Blackbush, White Waltham, Wycombe, and many other small airfields to cater for business and recreational flying while its major airports of Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted handle the major carriers.

The provision of smaller, cheaper, all-weather airfield for business and recreational use would enhance the area's economy; I know some businessmen who do not do business in the North West because while they can visit several customers around the UK in a day using a small aircraft, this area is no-go for them because of this lack of facilities in our region.

In Woodford we have a marvellous piece of infrastructure; it would be madness to destroy it with yet more speculative building.
David Greenwood
Tuesday 29th May 2012 at 6:18 pm
Having been involved in the design workshops held last year by Stockport Council and BAE representatives I was disappointed and concerned with what was now being portrayed by Stockport Council and Harrow Estates as the "masterplan" for the Woodford Aerodrome site.

The original concept of there being a plan for the site as a whole seems to have been replaced by a large housing development behind a small area of greenery that does not meet the hopes and expectations of the original design work shop attendees. The plan does not improve or provide any benefits to Woodford as a whole but appears simply to be the introduction of a large housing estate that is not integrated or in keeping with the existing semi rural area. Giving the site a "Garden Village" name does not make it such.

As with the design work shops there still seems to be an absence of traffic metrics and details of what is needed to the current road infrastructure to accommodate the initial development traffic on the site and the eventual traffic once the development is complete. Referring back to the traffic flow of the BAE site is not sufficient as time has passed and the shift operation at the site had a different impact than a housing development will.

The plan states that the proposed housing development area will be equivalent to the combined north and south Med areas but does not seem to take into account the fact that there will still be some commercial usage continuing in the southern Med area. Similarly there seems to be a lack of provision for any potential future commercial extension including Cheshire Easts requirements as they are still reviewing their needs from the site.

On the exhibition boards comparisons were made with Bourneville and Port Sunlight villages which are inappropriate as these villages grew from the desire to provide decent housing for workers local to the factory they worked in and neither village, even today following their expansion over the years, has the density of houses that is being proposed for the Woodford site.

I look forward to seeing the results of the feedback forms provided at the exhibition which I am sure will give a very negative response to this latest proposal for the Woodford site.
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 30th May 2012 at 7:44 am
Brilliant David. We were first drip fed the possibility of 500 houses now that has doubled. Which of the surrounding over-full high schools are the 1000 or so children going to attend? What will happen to Bramhall which has been massively over developed over the last 50 years and is often gridlocked? Does this have any bearing on the 1500 houses Wilmslow "needs"? Will the next proposal be to provide commercial developement to provide jobs for the 1000+ residents of working age? How will the Disneyland crossroad at Poynton cope? How many more speculators and chancers will now put their heads over the parapet? Will Woodford Garden Centre be next? When can we hear more from Cheshire East about their "needs"? Is this third recent large scale local proposal a further attempt to confuse present residents (many of whom chose to live this area because of the green spaces) in the hope that some of it will get past the huge local revulsion? Will this lead to another attempt by Greater Manchester to expand?
Are our councillors, who are struggling with the problems of dog control, potholes and litter really up to dealing with the prospect of large scale "developements? (rhetorical question).
Rob Sawyer
Wednesday 6th June 2012 at 10:44 pm
Vince - The "Avro Heritage" name link to the past is a clever piece of branding but I think that Woodford was declassified as an active airfield last year and as far as I am aware there are no plans to reverse this. There as talk of film studios being built on parts of the site but the cynic in me makes me fear that more housing will follow instead.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 12th June 2012 at 1:22 pm
Woodford was closed as a licenced airfield by BAe last year, though has been used a couple of times since on an unlicenced basis. I have heard rumours (and they are no more than that) that part of the existing runway would be retained for light aviation use, either licenced (which would be required for commercial or training operations), or unlicenced (which is OK for recreational and other non-commercial uses).

The proposed plan would appear to preclude that.