Committee to determine future of British Legion site

The future of a vacant social club will be determined by the Northern Planning Committee next week.

Jones Homes has applied to demolish the Handforth branch of the Royal British Legion and replace it with 10 townhouses having recently acquired the site just off Station Road.

The 10 properties will have 4 bedrooms and are split into 2 blocks of 5, each having three storeys with garages at ground floor.

Councillor Burkhill requested that the application be determined by Northern Planning Committee because it is a large, prominent site adjacent to Handforth Station and there is a lot of public interest.

Friends of Handforth Station have been campaigning for the provision of an access for the elderly, disabled and those with young children who currently have to struggle up or down 35 steps to the platforms.

Included in the proposal is the provision for a disabled access through the site to the southbound platform of Handforth station, however Friends of Handforth Station are calling for better access to the station for everyone, whether they be wheelchair users, people with pushchairs, heavy suitcase carriers or those with walking difficulties.

Members of the Handforth Parish Council Planning & Environment Committee opposed the application as they consider it over development of the site and do not support any development for three storey homes at this location. Concern was also expressed about increased traffic levels in this area.

A total of 26 objections were also received and one letter of support. Concerns raised included that the development will cause overlooking and impact on privacy; the new building will overshadow neighbouring properties; the site will be overdeveloped and the site is not suitable for residential use as it is adjacent to the railway line.

Other points raised include an inadequate pedestrian link into Handforth station; the site would be better used as a car park for the station; the proposed dwellings are out of scale and character with those of the surrounding area; the development will place additional stress on local schools, doctors and the local highway network.

However, the planning officers are recommending the planning application for approval at the Northern Planning Committee's meeting on Wednesday, 6th July.

An officer's report prepared for the meeting states that the site is identified as being within a predominantly residential area and is considered to be in a highly sustainable location, therefore the principle of residential development on the site is accepted, the scale of the development reflects the character and appearance of the area and raises no issues in respect of residential amenity, noise, ecology or trees.

On this basis, the officers consider that the proposal represents sustainable development and consider that the adverse effects of the scheme are significantly and demonstrably outweighed by the benefits.

Second image shows townhouses that are similar to those proposed for Station Road, Handforth.

Handforth British Legion, Jones Homes, Northern Planning Committee, Planning Applications


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

Chris Wigley
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 12:16 pm is a little behind the times, the British Legion became rubble days ago and the site is being cleared of the debris.
Whatever the position is on the building of housing the it is highly unlike that the level of traffic will increase in comparison to the sites former use as a club with a car park.
For the development to take place it should be conditional on Jones undertaking making level access not only on the Manchester - Crewe side of the track but also through South Drive on the Crewe - Manchester side. It is a disgrace in this day and age that those with disabilities, with small children and with mobility issues are expected to mount stairs.
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 12:54 pm
You are correct Chris - the building has been completely demolished and all rubble has been removed. Seems to me that Cheshire East already knows the outcome of the planning committee next week.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 1:14 pm
Chris, I agree with everything you say except the part about Jones undertaking level access. It's the responsibilities of the railway companies who take billions of pounds in fares each year to provide this - I can't see why Jones or anyone else should be made to pay for it.
Julie Smith
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 1:41 pm
Exactly Jackie Pass, what will happen if the planning permission is refused? Do we get a shiny new British Legion building complete with new roof? Appears the whole thing is a sham!
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 3:01 pm
@ Jon Armstrong, Handforth station is owned by Deutsche Bahn, the nationalised German rail operator. I'm not sure that you will get much joy there at the moment.
I blame Margaret Thatcher.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 3:28 pm
And that becomes Jones Homes problem why?

The Legion was there for years but nobody suggested they should pay for and provide level access to a station they don't own. What's the difference?
Simon Worthington
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 3:38 pm
Was it knocked down over the weekend before planning permission was/is to be granted? Pete has previous for that. Why all the fuss? Who will be surprised at what gets built???
Terry Roeves
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 5:42 pm
A small contribution to not concreting over our greenfields.
John Harries
Wednesday 29th June 2016 at 10:51 pm
What do these planning officers get paid for - rhetorical question, it's something like ticking boxes, otherwise (and when not working on behalf the the big boys) overbearing jobsworths when the little man and planning is concerned!! Based on similar private property utilisation there will be up to 40 additional vehicles (=10x 4 bedrooms) accessing/exiting on a blind rise bridge.
True to form, Jones' already appear to know what the Planning Committee will decide next week (no ideas on how that works then...) and will want to maximise investment return on the site design/layout.
With this proposition in mind they should be compelled to work from a design footprint that also outlines and allows improved safety for vehicle and foot access to the southbound side of the station.
A gracious developer might also offer a modest lump sum donation on behalf of the community as encouragement for the station ownership to likewise improve their facility (and boost footfall/revenue to boot).