Council won't consider restrictive covenant when assessing Royal London's housing plan


Cheshire East Council has confirmed that a restrictive covenant, which some Fulshaw Park residents believe prevents development from taking place on the field west of Alderley Road, will have no impact on the planning application process.

Royal London submitted two planning applications in November 2017 for new homes on its Alderley Road site - which is included in the Cheshire East Local Plan as a strategic site for employment use, a hotel and residential development.

The first application is for 120 homes on the northern part of the campus site and the second is for up to 60 homes on land owned by Royal London to the west of Alderley Road. The field was removed from the Green Belt after its inclusion in the Local Plan as a strategic site for up to 75 dwellings.

About 15 homeowners, whose properties back onto the field, believe any development of that land would be illegal because there is a restrictive covenant pertaining to their properties that does not permit any developments on the field.

They have taken legal advice regarding the covenant, which was put in place in the 1860s, from a specialist solicitor and we understand their first impression was that they have a good case.

However, according to Cheshire East Council it will have no impact on their consideration of the Royal London planning application.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing, planning and regeneration, said: "A number of residents have raised the issue of a possible restrictive covenant on the land relating to properties backing on to Royal London's premises, west of Alderley Road, Wilmslow.

"However, this is not something that can be considered as part of the assessment of the planning application. If planning permission is granted it would be for the developer to address this matter through any associated or necessary legal process."

A spokesperson for Royal London said "Royal London has received several enquiries about restrictive covenants from owners of properties close to its land west of Alderley Road in Wilmslow. Royal London is preparing replies to every party, which will be sent soon."

Alderley Road, Cheshire East Council, Planning Applications, Royal London


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

Clive Cooksey
Wednesday 31st January 2018 at 5:46 pm
Pass the sick bucket please
Derek Smith
Wednesday 31st January 2018 at 7:17 pm
So the council won’t hold up a multi-million pound much-needed housing development because someone’s found a sentence at the bottom of an auction advert from 70 years ago?

Who could’ve predicted that?!
Simon Pollard
Thursday 1st February 2018 at 9:40 am
So restrictive covenants can be ignored if it suits Cheshire East? No doubt the contract ultimately will go to Jones/Orbit/Emerson?
Oliver Romain
Thursday 1st February 2018 at 11:21 am
Restrictive covenants are never considered as part of a planning application by any council. Nothing unusual here. There are many and varied reasons for restrictive covenants and they are often nothing to do with the local authority. Planning apps would cost a fortune if the council had to investigate restrictive covenants, ownership and private rights of way etc. Not practical or lawful for them to interfere in private property ownership and rights issues.
Manuel Golding
Thursday 1st February 2018 at 11:46 am
No one is saying such covenants are part of planning, this RoW has pointed out to the council leadership.
What RoW is asking is that the Council acts responsibly in the light of the law pertaining to covenants, that it postpones the forthcoming planing debate UNTIL such time as the legal result is known on the validity/strength of the restrictive covenants.
Rather than waste stretched resources, we suggest the council bides it time to await the legal process.
Should the SPB vote in favour of Royal London, the company will be unable to proceed with its plans until the legal aspect is resolved. Should it choose to push ahead in total disregard of the covenants, it will be laying itself open to monumental legal actions costing it millions.
But then, to push ahead is exactly how both these entities have behaved towards the local community, total disregard, totally uncaring, their g'd being solely money, local disquiet being of no concern to these entities.
Simon Pollard
Friday 2nd February 2018 at 7:58 am
So a restrictive covenant stating no development on a particular piece of land is never considered? Restrictive covenants are there for a good reason - it is arrogance in the extreme for the Council to ignore then simply so that they can get the kick backs from the developers!
Oliver Romain
Friday 2nd February 2018 at 1:48 pm
It’s not arrogance it’s the law. Planning and ownership rights are separate issues. There really isn’t a story here.
Stuart Redgard
Friday 2nd February 2018 at 10:24 pm
Manuel states "What RoW is asking is that the Council acts responsibly."

The council has a duty to abide by the laws from which it acquires its statutory authority to act.

In relation to "Planning', the law is quite clear that Restrictive Covenants have no effect on the planning process. Therefore in my opinion on this issue the Council is acting responsibly.

However, the council could be found to be at fault for not checking if there were any legal reasons why the Royal London land could not be developed in the first place.

Did Royal London lead CEC up the garden path? Will there be a a gaping hole in the CEC Local Plan Strategy if the Restrictive Covenant can be, and is enforced? What will CEC need to do for that gap to be filled? And how will it do it? ...................
Oliver Romain
Saturday 3rd February 2018 at 10:58 am
I think the council has to assume that those asking for planning believe they can proceed. There will be very very few applicants paying to submit plans that can’t proceed. Expecting the council to investigate and look for the tiny amount of submitted plans where restrictive covenants may prevent plans would be a massive waste of money. Again no story here. If people want to object to other people being given a chance to live here in new build homes then it’s best to stick to real and valid objections.
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 5:11 pm
There has been a slew of after the deadline supporting comments which look deeply suspicious. I hope that CEC will investigate and report back. If not, perhaps someone else should investigate?
Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 6:11 pm
Planning and covenants are two distinct issues. The way ahead is surely for the beneficiaries of the covenants to seek a declaration and or injunction.

As to Royal London "replies sent soon" - that was in the article dated 31st Jan. Has anyone received a reply yet?