Appeal win to build 60-bed care home is ‘an astonishing and very distressing decision’

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An appeal has been allowed and planning permission granted to enable a new care home to be built in Wilmslow which has been described by a local councillor as "an astonishing and very distressing decision".

Altrincham based New Care Projects LLP have won their appeal to demolish two four bedroomed houses in large plots at 51 to 53 Handforth Road and replace them with a 60 bedroom 3 storey care home.

The controversial plans were refused by the Northern Planning Committee for the second time in January 2020, after being deferred by them in December 2019.

The Planning Officer recommended the application for approval by the Northern Planning Committee, however members disagreed with his recommendation voting by 8 votes to 3 to refuse planning permission on the grounds that "the proposal would lead to the overdevelopment of the site due to its inappropriate scale, mass and bulk - detrimentally impacting the character and appearance of the area, and there are no material considerations deemed to outweigh that harm."

An earlier application for a slightly larger care home on the same site was dismissed on appeal in October 2019. The previous Inspector was concerned about the visual impact of the proposal when viewed from Handforth Road, and found that the height and width of the proposed building would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.

This second appeal proposal also involves a single, large building but changes were made to the Handforth Road elevation following the earlier dismissal and the scheme was re-designed to appear from Handforth Road as two distinct detached dwellings with a glazed link connecting them.

Having considered the main issue of "the effect of the proposal on the character and appearance of the area", the Planning Inspectorate concluded that "The sensitive design of the buildings together with significant landscaping would ensure that the proposed development would be able to successfully assimilate into the area. I conclude that the proposal would not cause harm to the character and appearance of the area, and would comply with the requirements of Policies SD2 and SE1 of the Cheshire East Local Plan Strategy 2017 (CELPS) in relation to character, local distinctiveness and sense of place."

Following the decision CEO at New Care Chris McGoff posted on Twitter "Planning Committee should hang their head in shame today.Ignorantly refused 2listen 2Proffeaional Planning Officers who supported application. As such delayed job creation&deprived locals of healthcare facility which will help battle Covid&support."

"Gr8 result winning Appeal today, but what a waste of time & tax payer money its been.All due 2 NIMBYism,who found support from ex housing minister ⁦@EstherMcVey1⁩ who spouted mistruths in her objection, in hope of winning a few votes. Glad she's gone."

Councillor Barry Burkhill said “This is an astonishing and very distressing decision, taken by a planning inspector after a unanimous refusal  at the Northern Planning Committee of yet another application for a care home on this distinctive and sought after residential part of Handforth Ward.  

“It is another kick in the teeth to residents and to those who work tirelessly to represent them to make what we believe are the correct local decisions on their behalf.

“If local unanimous decisions of this importance are to be overturned by an inspector, then there is something very seriously wrong with the planning appeals system; the first being that there is no appeal for the public against this decision.   The secretary of state can intervene by calling in the decision for himself to decide and I hope that our MP will make this request.  

“We cannot have well  considered local democratic decisions thrown out by an inspector when that decision has such enormous ramifications for the area, for local residents and for the local health services.  I hope that the secretary of state will listen to our MP and consider this decision in the light of all the evidence and particularly as the application is very little different from that dismissed previously at appeal.”

Councillor Toni Fox, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for planning, said: "The council is naturally disappointed with the decision of the planning inspector to allow this appeal.

"The inspector has taken account of the previous appeal scheme and decided that, in their view, the design changes put forward in the new proposals are sufficient to overcome the reasons for refusing planning permission.

"Given the nature of the key issues, namely the subjective matters of design and character, there is no prospect that the council would be successful if it were to challenge the judgement."

New Care, Planning Appeal


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

Geoff Ferguson
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 11:10 am
This is absolutely disgraceful and I dont just mean Chris McGoffs gloating, childish text speak
There have been so many objections to building what is in effect a commercial monstrosity in a residential area, yet the reasons for approving it are without foundation and quite frankly feeble.
Yes I am unfortunate to live nearby and despite what the report says it will affect all those in the area twenty fours hours a day seven days a week and before that there could be a two year construction period. On that note, where are all the contractors going to park their vehicles during this process?
Jean Berman
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 11:59 am
I can’t believe this has been given permission what on earth are Cheshire East Thinking
Terry Roeves
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 12:21 pm
In the wake of VJ Day, what an appalling attitude by the CEO of New Care.
Shame on him. Clearly somebody who lacks respect for democracy, assured by millions globally who died for it.
Jon Newell
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 12:33 pm
To be clear, Cheshire East have rejected all three applications for this site - this current decision has been taken by the Planning Inspectorate who has chosen to overrule Cheshire East
The decision has some remarkable comments in it.
It claims the site is well served by public transport when clearly it is not. Especially in the evenings and at weekends. Anyone who has ever had a loved one in care will know most visits are on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
It says the car parking is adequate when it is at least 10 spaces shy of CEC recommended levels - and this is on a site where road parking is impossible. This means overflow into the residential streets in the immediate area - on Saturdays and Sundays.
Richard Armstead
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 3:28 pm
Oh dear! What a travesty. If ever there was a case of a bungling Planning Inspectorate, this has to be it. This decision for a tasteless development, in a quiet residential corner, is only matched by a tasteless CEO running a company, devoid of sensitivity that seems to have 'found the ear' of an inspector completely out of touch with reality. It all smells of 'undue influence'.
John Barnes
Tuesday 18th August 2020 at 9:42 pm
Well served by public transport: Railway station - wheel chair access? Busses - 378 been axed, the 130 just hanging on. The proposed care home is almost at the bottom of a relatively steep valley which isn't really conducive elderly walking up hill in both directions. The local GP's have objected as they cannot handle more care homes in the area.

Therefore is the planning inspectorate planing to address these issues before the home is built......
Bill Bennett
Wednesday 19th August 2020 at 8:13 am
I agree with all of the comments, this development should never have been approved, opposing the decisions of the planning committee, who are best placed to make the decisions. Not some faceless person who have overridden the basic requirements of the planning laws and has probably never even visited the site.

Can I suggest that if you rightly oppose this monstrosity, please write to Ester McVey and urge her to refer the matter to the Secretary of State. She can be contacted at the following email addresses.

David Smith
Wednesday 19th August 2020 at 6:20 pm
More Muppetry by more Muppets!
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 19th August 2020 at 8:41 pm
Wilmslow "Business Park" also gained Planning Consent today!
Simon Atkins
Thursday 20th August 2020 at 1:23 pm
So it just doesn't matter, you can build what you want, where you want if you go high enough. Chris McGoff's comments are shameful.
Audrey Youngman
Thursday 20th August 2020 at 2:18 pm
Obviously the idiots running the asylumn.
Desmond Williams
Thursday 20th August 2020 at 5:45 pm
I totally agree with the objections to this proposed development.not withstanding design
refinements its bulk and its effect on the immediate vicinity with the domestic scale is not
acceptable.I am sorry to say however with the current revisions to the planning system by
the Government a reversal is unlikely given the political scene.
Laurie Atterbury
Thursday 20th August 2020 at 5:49 pm
I still think it amazing they are still able to call themselves “care” homes after so many were abandoned in the current covid pandemic!
Peter Evans
Friday 21st August 2020 at 6:36 am
This seems to be a simple matter of one person, the "Planning Inspector" disagreeing with every other official in the chain. Hardly democracy. And clearly the PI didn't bother to check any of the facts. The trend in politics in 2020, sadly.
McCoff's comments are grotesque, childish and bordline bullying. Does he apply the same attitude to those in his company's care???
Still, he has got what he wants - more money.
Julian Barlow
Friday 21st August 2020 at 7:17 am
I see no negative connotations in NIMBYISM. Central and local government remind us every single day about the importance of protecting the environment, we even pay environmental taxes. Yet when a group of people protest about over development in their area which will, without doubt, create more traffic and more congestion and put more strain on local health services, the word NIMBY is used like pepper spray.
David Smith
Friday 21st August 2020 at 9:33 am
CEO McGoff is no doubt paid a 'generous' salary and as such probably lives in a really nice house somewhere.
So if a development similar to this one was proposed to be plonked next to his nice home I bet you he wouldn't be pleased and strongly object too. That Mr McGoff is true NIMBY'ism - do unto others, as you wouldn’t like them to do unto you.
With so many greenfield sites [agricultural land in a country that imports half the food we NEED] being given the approval for building, our planners should have arranged for any new homes like this one to be incorporated on those sites and not amongst a residential area at the expense of knocking down existing homes. The proposed "Garden Village' [what a sick name!], we are told, will have a pub and a shop and... which all sounds so lovely and will look great on the computer generated images with lots of lovely trees all over the site and happy people walking, cycling and pushing prams around - so why could there not be a PLAN for a care home there which would not involve demolishing existing houses. Isn’t a care home as much a necessity in this Garden Village as much as a pub and a few shops? The fact that McGoff's company has had to buy existing dwellings [how much £1m?] and clear the site BEFORE starting construction on the home means that the finances will start with a minus balance sheet. This will not be a problem as the cost of staying in one of these modern asylums will not be cheap.
I notice that McGoff's company only builds 'homes' in rather expensive locations and so is ONLY doing it for financial gain - some of which will be his! See:
At the end of the day it really is a shameful decision by our planning department who should be able to allow care homes to be built if we need them - but like houses - the right sort of houses in the right places at the right price.
To my mind this approval fails to meet all three similar conditions.
Alan Brough
Friday 21st August 2020 at 1:42 pm
Esther McVeys Office confirm that they will be referring the matter to The Secretary of State recommending further scrutiny.
Simon Rodrigues
Friday 21st August 2020 at 9:06 pm
Dont see how this fits into the area myself and how it will work with parking very suspicious.
Chris Neill
Saturday 22nd August 2020 at 10:08 am
Surely this is wrong and goes against residents who clearly don't want it, local planning who have turned it down and the general principle of democracy.
How can it now be stopped, is it the local MP,or maybe an investigative journalist who could help the embattled locals.Very bad decisions like these leave a negative legacy for a lifetime. I hope that if there is an appeal, that the system and the individual who has allowed this, should be checked thoroughly to see what has clearly gone wrong here.
Nick Jones
Saturday 22nd August 2020 at 4:28 pm
Our elected representatives, our councillors, are accountable in this process.

The un-elected and anonymous 'Planning Officer' is not. Neither is he or she exempt from identification and providing correspondence details for clarification or further contact issues.

The NPPF and Government planning documents I have read always indicate the requirement for 'transparency'in planning process, also reflected in The Nolan Report.

That seems missing here .. without it residents are kept in the dark as are our elected councillors .. and that cant be right.