Council sets out vision for new garden village

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Cheshire East Council has unveiled its vision for the development of a new Garden Village containing around 1,500 new homes on land to the East of the A34 in Handforth.

Members of the Strategic Planning Board are being asked to approve for consultation the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Garden Village at Handforth at their meeting on Wednesday, 29th August.

The document is intended to provide the over-arching guidance for the development of the new settlement which is included in the Cheshire East Local Plan, adopted in July 2017, and in January 2017 the site was announced by the Government as one of 14 new 'Garden Villages' to be created across the UK.

Plans for the 114 hectare site, which the Council currently owns 70% of, include 1500 homes, up to 12 hectares of employment land, retail units, a pub or restaurant, health facilities, hotel, sports facilities, community centre, children's day nursery and a primary school.

Around the settlement green infrastructure is planned, including green corridors, country park style open spaces, sports pitches and allotments.

A report prepared for the Strategic Planning Board recognises that that the potential challenges of creating this new Garden Village are significant and complex.

The report states "There is extensive ground contamination requiring remediation and re-profiling; vehicle access points need upgrading and traffic capacity on the strategic highway network (A34 and A555) requires mitigation works. Natural features (trees, hedgerows and ponds) need to be retained where possible; existing public rights of way need protecting; barriers to pedestrian, cycle and bus routes connections to the local area should also be overcome; important habitats and compensatory habitats for protected species must be designed to support and enhance the biodiversity of the Site; heritage assets (Dairy House Farm and farm outbuildings) must be preserved and refurbished."

However, it goes on to state that the development of the site also brings with it a significant opportunity, "The concept of a new settlement was first mooted in response to concerns over the impact of sporadic development, disconnected from necessary infrastructure. In contrast, by concentrating development in a single location, it is possible to plan comprehensively for the community's needs. The new settlement provides the economies of scale necessary to plan properly for public transport, education and other community facilities."

The Council considers a comprehensive approach can only effectively address these constraints and challenges and is proposing two distinct stages of development. Stage 1, the Initial Site-Wide Preparation, will include site remediation and re-profiling, the creation of the main vehicular accesses from the A34, creation of the spine road through the village centre, the village high street road, laying of the main utility connections, the creation of approximately 47 hectares of green infrastructure and pathways and cycleways. Stage 2, the Built Development, will not commence until the primary works are completed.

The SPD sets out what the Council expects to see as part of any future planning applications. Once approved, the SPD will be formally adopted and will become a material consideration in determining all future planning applications.

If approved by Cabinet the draft Supplementary Planning Document will be subject to a six week consultation during which the Council will be seeking comments from members of the public, stakeholders and other interested parties.

Handforth Garden Village, North Cheshire Garden Village


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

Nick Jones
Friday 24th August 2018 at 8:48 am
Infrastructure lacking again here no doubt Schools / Medical etc and timed exactly at the same time as a similar development on the Tatton Estate in Knutsford.. No doubt already rubber stamped at Sandbach, just the charade of consultation and obfuscation to go through now. Im not against development , I am however like a number of my neighbours and friends against plans ( as in Wilmslow ) that are not thoroughly considered without Infrasturcture / parking etc in place before this is launched.
Jon Newell
Friday 24th August 2018 at 3:13 pm
This sounds great - the land in question is not “pretty” and there will be a clean up of contaminated land.
And these are big buts.

There is only a provision for a primary school - there needs to be massive investment in Wilmslow High School . The High School is at full capacity and it is surely more sensible to educate residents where they live rather than send them ontobalready overcrowded roads.

It refers to access by public transport. Does this mean our cancelled/ much reduced services are going to be restated?

And, as ever, these people are going to travel into Wilmslow - I hope, the alternative is that they flood Cheadle, etc. We need more parking!

Indeed, the periphery of this site would make a good park and ride location serving Wilmslow and Handforth.
Jon Williams
Friday 24th August 2018 at 5:28 pm
Far better to have built a new secondary school, and nothing else.
Peter Davenport
Wednesday 29th August 2018 at 8:19 pm
Why all this urgency. Let Ches East wait until the SEMMs road opens to see the impact from the size of the flood from the A6. Also 1500 houses more will generate at least 3000 more cars, minimum. So with one main exit on to the A34, it is going to be a slow drive to Manchester
Richard Armstead
Wednesday 29th August 2018 at 8:51 pm
Stage 1. Cheshire East see opportunity for money and apply to the government of the day and offer up an area previously reserved for recreation.
Stage 2. Green space converted to employment/development land at a stroke in the adoption of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy 2017
Stage 3. Wise discussion at the Conservative SPB.
Stage 4. Meaningless consultation phase.
Stage 5. More wise discussion and debate at the Conservative SPB
Stage 5. Supplementary Planning Document Approved after a decent period spent with the wringing of hands
Stage 6. Local Government Inspector calls for insignificant changes to be made.
Stage 7. The Handforth Garden Village approved maybe after due consideration by the Secretary of State.
Stage 8. The project is approved by early 2020
Stage 9. The project is complete by 2025.
Meanwhile Wilmslow and Handforth Town Councils preside over town centres depleted in their individuality and sense of place. Cheshire East continue to frustrate any meaningful, committed and coordinated development plans for these 'key service centres', in line with local public opinion.

Am I cynical? You can bet your life I am - I only have to look at Cheshire East's track record in these towns to convince myself. There is a chance to change direction. Whilst I believe in Conservative Party values per se, I shudder at the direction, actions and track record of the current Cheshire East Council. Next May is the chance for independent minded people to vote in a more enlightened group of councillors more in touch with the needs and aspirations of their local communities.
Clive Cooksey
Thursday 30th August 2018 at 8:04 am
Well as only 10% of Handforth people voted for the blue sky thinkers cunning plan, the other 90% who showed a lack of interest are about to reap what they have sown. In years to come, old men will tell stories to their grandchildren about "I remember when this was green fields". To which the child will reply "Whats a green field Granpa?" Wilmslow people are about to get their cunning past through apathy. Object now, and stop it in its tracks. Just leave Wilmslow alone. We are doing fine as we are thank you.
Nick Jones
Thursday 30th August 2018 at 10:18 am
@ Clive.. using both CEC- speak then... and your example above , [which I am sure is statistically a fairly accurate representation], From the 10% if 9 were 'for' and 1 'against', it would be an overwhelming 90% success rate, and the change demanded by participants immediate !! ... Is it any wonder the 90 % are disparaged from engaging with this capricious, inept , cash frittering council. The voices of reason and commonsense are downtrodden to force their vision, their local plan.
Alan Brough
Thursday 30th August 2018 at 1:23 pm
Are we running a sweepstake on when the catastrophic crash in house prices will come?

With the Handforth Garden Village providing another 1500 homes on top of the hundreds of new homes planned on other developments within the borough (anyone been to Holmes Chapel recently?) it's difficult to see how the value of any investment in property can be sustained.

Throw into the mix a difficult "Brexit" and the potential for serious damage is quite alarming.
Nick Jones
Sunday 2nd September 2018 at 8:08 am
An additional reminder... Cheshire East to provide 500 homes for High Peak
As part of their Local Plan, Cheshire East Council has agreed to provide 500 new homes in the Borough on behalf of High Peak Borough Council.

Their agreement to take 500 homes from High Peak's allocation, to help alleviate traffic problems on the A6 and protect the Peak District, forms part of a Memorandum of Understanding between Cheshire East Council and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council .
The document, signed by the two Chief Executives, was drawn up to establish areas of agreement between the two councils, identify areas where further work is required and set out a work programme for areas of collaboration.

Signed on 19th February 2014, it also covers plans for CEC to assist SMBC with meeting their requirements for traveller and gypsy sites by providing a Cheshire East owned site within the boundary of Stockport for a traveller and gypsy site which could be used by both authorities.

Following a request from councillors and local residents, Cheshire East Council published the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 14th.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council, said: "Cheshire East Council would like to make very clear its approach to cooperation with neighbouring authorities on planning and development matters, to avoid any misunderstanding of its approach to cross boundary issues

"The Localism Act places a duty on all councils to cooperate on new infrastructure and development. This duty was introduced following the abolition of Regional Strategies covering the North West and other regions. Part of the 'tests of soundness', that all Local Plans must meet, is the extent to which unmet needs in neighbouring areas are addressed within a plan.

"As part of this duty, Cheshire East has been in discussion with all its neighbours over many months. The discussions with Stockport have culminated in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out what has been agreed so far between the Council – and further work that we confirm will be carried out.

"The memorandum highlights the request that Stockport Council has made to Cheshire East to try and assist in meeting Stockport's needs for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation – whether in Cheshire East or not.

"Cheshire East has not made any other commitment other than to look seriously at the issue and to continue to work with Stockport on the matter. This includes looking at the Council's land holdings. However, as yet, no discussion regarding any specific site has taken place.

"The MoU also indicates that a formal request has been received from High Peak Borough to meet some of their housing need. The Local Plan approved by a full meeting of the Council on 28 February includes an allowance of 500 homes for High Peak. This will assist in alleviating traffic problems on the A6 and other routes within Cheshire East as well as assisting in safeguarding the special character of the Peak District.

"The 500 homes will not be built in any one area – and not adjacent to the High Peak area itself – rather they have been added to the general requirement spread across the whole of Cheshire East Borough. This adds some 1.8 per cent to the overall housing requirement in the area."

The Memorandum of Understanding can be viewed here, it is within the Duty to Co-operate Statement of Compliance.

Cheshire East Council, Local Plan