Plans to demolish pub to make way for eight houses


Plans have been submitted to Cheshire East Council for a new residential development on the site of a public house.

The proposed scheme from New Moor GB Ltd is for 8 dwellings, consisting of two blocks of 4 mews houses to replace 'The Riflemans Arms' on Moor Lane. The accommodation will be two storey with three bedrooms on the first floor and a master bedroom in the roof space. Each property will have two parking spaces, located in a small parking court to the rear off New Street, and a private garden.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 17/2236M. The last date for submitting comments is May 23rd and a decision is expected by 27th June.

Moor Lane, Planning Applications, The Rifleman's Arms


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

Manuel Golding
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 5:10 pm
Residents of Wilmslow had attempted to have Cheshire East, both the leadership and planning officers, to accept that a number of homes should be built on this site, thus adding to the number of homes required to be constructed in the town and going towards saving the Green Belt.
But no, they didn't wish to know - doing so would dent their and those of the area's builders plans for encroaching ever more into the green Belt.
We had the very same problem with the Council over Remenham. Again, refused to listen but eventually came round to RoWs view but dared not acknowledge our suggestions.
Alderley Park is yet another area RoW suggested as suitable for housing - we believed it would be a positive way of reducing the impact of Green Belt destruction in both Wilmslow and Alderley Edge. But no, they were not interested. Funny thing though, they are now heavily promoting house development there.
Pity the Council is equipped with blinkers and deaf ears.
Anne Greenhalgh
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 5:26 pm
This is such a shock! The Rife's is closely associated with Battery Lane's 'The Butts' firing range during the Crimean war except, that there was an earlier ale house on the site named The Riflemans Arms is still of historical interest. We seem to be losing the heart of my beloved Wilmslow, I grew up surrounded by rivers, woods, farms & farmland, walk in any direction & you were in the country. Now it is starting to look like the outskirts of say Manchester where from the city through to Heaton Chapel there is no difference or space between the former villages that are now just districts! Is that what we really want for this area?
Andrea Barton
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 6:24 pm
Could it just be that it is no longer financially viable to run such a large pub? If no-one can afford or is prepared to run it should it be allowed to stand derelict? It is a shame if it is going but many pubs are struggling these days. Perhaps the blame should lie more with the brewers?
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 6:39 pm
Manuel - they will be happy to accept these sites now that the "big boys" have got what they wanted, - namely the building on the green fields which surround Wilmslow. They simply regard such brownfield sites as extra houses to add to those which they have already allocated.
Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 6:43 pm
Another pub gone. More and more houses. Sleepwalking into disaster.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 10th May 2017 at 8:25 pm
Pub; Use it or lose it ! ,,,, This place hasn't been busy for too many a year that i can recount .. very sad.. so the alternative use now proposed is in keeping local development. Im sure its not the first to undergo this fate and it certainly wont be the last !... Brewery's wont sell commercial assets unless they're in the last chance saloon to make it viable ! ..
Steve Cummings
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 12:05 am
Who currently owns/runs the pub? It really is a bit of local history that's going to be lost. We need to fight to maintain these historic pubs, but if the community doesn't use it it's often a lost cause.
Gary Barton
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 10:13 am
I have requested that the application be called-in before the Northern Planning committee due to the importance of the pub itself to the local community and the potential impact on Moor Lane/New Street/Newlands re parking and traffic. I would urge anyone who wished to comment to do so via the Cheshire East website
I can be reached on 01625 524455 if anyone would like to talk to me about the application, or I can be emailed on
Ryan Dance
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 11:07 am
well said Nick.
Fiona Doorbar
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 2:10 pm
I don't know anyone who has used this establishment. Houses will look far better. Get rid
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 2:21 pm
The pub was built in 1937, so there's nothing particularly historic or architecturally pleasing about it.

The pub trade is in decline and has been for years, for all kinds of cultural and economic reasons. You can't force people to continue running pubs that don't make money. Perhaps Gary, Bob and Ann would put their money where their mouth is and buy it?

I also completely fed up of parking being used as the default objection to absolutely everything without any thought. The plan is to build 8 houses. How many cars coming and going do you realistically think that will generate? And how many cars do you think a pub that is is of such "importance ... to the local community" would have coming and going to it each day, including customers, staff, deliveries, etc? It's it's less than the traffic for 8 houses it's clearly struggling badly and deserves to be put out of its misery. If it's more than the traffic for 8 houses, then there will be a net reduction so there is no problem at all.
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 4:23 pm
Agree Jon - absolutely nothing wrong with this site being used for housing. Everything wrong with Cheshire East not being prepared to build windfall sites into their statistics.
Ade Whitaker
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 6:16 pm
It's a shame that the pub is closing but it is a sign of the times - people just don't go to the pub as often these days. Building 8 new houses seems like a sensible idea. I was just wondering whether there is a definition of a "home"? We keep hearing about various authorities having targets to build a certain number of new homes, and green belt land being given up to accomodate this. In terms of targets, are 8 new houses on a relatively small plot like this treated in the same way as 8 "executive" homes, on big plots, on the green belt? If, for example, we used up less green belt land and built blocks of flats, then would that count as a lot more homes than the typical schemes we see in Wilmslow? It would seem a better use of the green belt and provide some more affordable, local properties for those trying to buy their first home.
Rob McCall
Thursday 11th May 2017 at 8:27 pm
I think I counted upon completion of current building works on Chapel Lane and Moor Lane there would be an estimated 60 extra vehicles present on the two roads (conservative estimates for new flats, retirement apartments and extra residential dwellings being built).

The consultation CEC had in relation to the parking seems to be taking so long to be decided upon I can't help but think the solution won't be fit for purpose by the time it gets implemented anyway.

Cllr. Barton, I do find it quite shameful that you have been silent and borderline inactive on several issues that myself and others have had reason to deal with you over, a job for which you are paid to do, and yet when there is a planning application near your house you seem to be far more vocal than previously thought capable.

I suppose what we should realise if the solution to the problems above is to talk to your local councillor it seems we're all doomed anyway.*

*Unless you live next door to one.
John Clegg
Friday 12th May 2017 at 4:21 pm
It's owned by Trust Inns, who aren't a brewery but are merely a large-ish property company whose assets are mainly pubs. Like the largest, Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns - who own 10,000-12,000 of Britain's pubs - they exist by churning the above-average, above-market rental income, and well-above market place-priced beers, wines & spirits, earned on heavily-mortgaged pubs into paying the loans on these pubs.
The high rents and wholesale prices make for a broken "business" "model" which largely ensures the poor, over-worked "landlord" is just a cash-cow but can rarely earn a decent living on the meagre margins after rent and beer purchases.
Pete Taylor
Friday 12th May 2017 at 7:13 pm
@ Rob McCall, I also engaged with Cllr. Barton at the time when he was voting to remove the Green Belt protection from the fields around Wilmslow. He did not respond to my questioning of his actions.
I also congratulated him on his success in getting a refusal on the planning application immediately over his back fence.
It seems that our Conservative CEC "representatives" are indeed "self-servatives".
Simon Worthington
Monday 15th May 2017 at 11:27 am
I don't know anyone who shops at Hoopers so let's knock it down for houses!!!!!!
Jerry Dixon
Monday 15th May 2017 at 7:07 pm
The Rifes was once a thriving local with an array of great characters and the best pint in Wilmslow. Finding a seat in there was often impossible. Alas, those days are distant memories, and the only surprise is that it's lasted this long. As Nick Jones says, if you don't use it, you'll lose it. Sadly the most recent refurb appeared to be an attempt to turn it into an airport departure lounge and signalled its final demise.
The pub certainly has no architectural merit, so it won't be a loss on that front. We shall have to live with our memories of great times and of legends like the late Jonny Brennan, whose exploits could fill a small book.
The 'pub' is not quite dead, it's just that these days it comes in the form of small tap shops and bars, often occupying ex retail premises that also can't survive.
Perhaps the new development could incorporate such an establishment: "Brennans" !
Bill Fisher
Tuesday 16th May 2017 at 9:35 pm
There seems to be some comments from people who don't know the Rife's. It has struggled in recent years because of the exorbitant rents demanded by the property Company that owned it. It's no longer a place where drinkers would blow their week's wages on a Friday night. It's now a community centre with a loyal clientele who meet twice a week for the excellent quiz run by Steve Peek, for the seriously competitive dominoes team, for everyone to watch the football, for neighbours to enjoy the excellent carvery that Jason used to run every Sunday. It's where neighbours meet to discuss the latest news, where sports clubs, social clubs & PTAs had committee meetings, a place for christenings & wakes & Christmas Eve carol concerts. When it's gone, the Farmers & the Jockey are not going to fill the the vital role of community centre. Yes, it's too big, it struggles to create an atmosphere because of the architecture. Could we go for Plan B - build 7 houses and a smaller pub? It would maintain the spirit of the covenant that has protected it for the last 100 years and continue to provide a focal point for the local community.
Guy Williams
Wednesday 17th May 2017 at 9:52 pm
I understand the Rifleman is a failing pub the business is going downhill it has become impossible to make a living the same with big pubs like this all over the North West there time has gone. The only reason a brewery would sell a pub like this is there is no future for the site as a public house they will have all the data and completely understand the way the trade is going in sites like this. Lets say it did get investment and become successful it would need a 2am licence and people coming and going into the small hours seven nights a week, doesn’t sound like a sound plan for the residents that surround the site to me. The Rifleman’s car park has been used for commercial vehicle’s to park for free and an actual business selling and storing cars not really ideal so not really surprised the owners have fenced it off. The future is bleak slowly running down no money for future investment and gradually becoming an eye sore and source of anti-social behaviour affecting the local residents and our property values in a negative way. I thought developers where supposed to be encouraged to acquire brownfield sites and develop much needed family accommodation instead of the precious greenbelt. The scheme this developer is proposing looks really high quality, provides the new family homes we need, does not impact on the greenbelt, remove’s a future potential social problem and has a positive financial impact on all the surrounding houses.

I do not understand the stance of the local councillor who seems to be going against everything his party stands for. Perhaps he intends to organise funding with the council to buy the pub and run it as a peoples co-operative. He could nationalize it and make it dependant on tax payers funding it in the future in ever increasing amounts, comrade Barton could chair the committee. If he has access to the funds perhaps the car-park can be bought and used for the public not sure why there seems to be plenty of safe public parking available. So to sum up we have a local tory councillor who is anti-business, anti-development supports public subsidy of failed business’s and wants to CPO private potential residential brownfield sites for public car-parks. Perhaps he really wants to do the right thing? and offer the site as a traveller location I understand we are desperate for one in Wilmslow and temporary HGV overnight stops. I wonder if the councillor is in the right party or we need a new councillor one who believes in what his party is about.