Royal London puts former green belt land up for sale


A parcel of land located opposite the Royal London campus and west of Alderley Road, which was released from the green belt in order to assist the Council in achieving a five year supply of housing, has been put on the market.

In March 2018, Royal London were granting planning permission for up to 60 homes on the 9.1 acre site, which is now referred to as 'Westlands'.

Mike Brassington, Director of Residential Development at Colliers International, said "Westlands represents an excellent opportunity for a housebuilder to acquire a 'ready to go' site in a desirable and well-established residential area.

"Being generally level and rectangular in shape the site naturally lends itself to development and will be attractive to housebuilders, whilst the prominent road frontage makes for a highly accessible site from both a construction and occupational perspective."

Brassington continued "Fulshaw Park is located within walking distance from the highly desirable town centre of Wilmslow, which boasts a wide range of local amenities including excellent schools as well as high-end retail and leisure facilities. The site's prominence on Alderley Road, the 'southern gateway' to Wilmslow, means it also benefits from proximity to Alderley Edge; an equally desirable town within Cheshire's 'Golden Triangle'."

Colliers is also advising Royal London on a redevelopment/disposal strategy for the wider Fulshaw Park campus, following Royal London's announcement that it is to relocate to nearby Alderley Park by 2021.

Royal London were also granted planning permission in 2016 for a new office development at their Alderley Road campus. However, in October 2017 the company announced it would be moving out of Wilmslow, from their current site at Alderley Road to Alderley Park.

The wider Fulshaw Park site will be redeveloped to create a 'living campus' incorporating 17,000 sq m of new office space, suitable for occupiers of varying sizes, with up to 1,100 car parking spaces and the creation of new pedestrian and cycle routes. The northern part of the site has outline planning permission for a further 120 homes.

Royal London


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

Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 12:47 pm
Good news. This will means lots of jobs building the houses then more people to spend money in local shops.
Nick Jones
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 12:51 pm
Well done Royal London.. That will certainly boost their 'estate' value significantly.
Not really a surprise and the very best of luck to them !

But the previous administration [and booted out cllrs concerned- I wont list them ], who removed this land from green belt protection should hang their heads in shame, even now, when in public. You weren't even hoodwinked just willing participants to commercial profit.
Pete Taylor
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 1:09 pm
Presumably, in due course, someone will be in touch with those of us who have enduring Covenants forbidding the construction of any form of building on these fields?
Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 1:11 pm
Nick, there’s plenty of green spaces around our town. It’s vital the economy and jobs are helped. People are more important than trees I’m afraid.
Kathryn Blackburn
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 1:42 pm
Without the forests cleaning up after us where would people be. Sorry Mark trees are more important than people. But I take your point in this instance we need as many jobs as we can muster to hold back this tsunami of unemployment presently crashing about our ears.
Jon Williams
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 2:52 pm
Life could not exist on Earth without trees because they produce most of the oxygen that humans and wildlife breathe. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen using the process of photosynthesis.
Ian Forde-Smith
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 3:28 pm
What an absolute farce - destroying green belt and farm land to make way for housing - Cheshire East you’re an utter disgrace !!

So yet again we have a site up for development under the guise of meeting housing supply outlined in Cheshire East’s master plan, despite the fact there are more than enough brownfield and infill sites in and around Wilmslow that would more than meet the supply needs - it’s just easier and lazier to rip up a field or two !!!

So ignore all the locals who’ve objected and raised serious concerns over the traffic issues this road already has at peak times and not to mention the continued flooding the road experiences which developing out this site would make even worse. This site should be left as green belt and farmland.
Jon Newell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 4:26 pm
This needs to be viewed alongside the fact that the office development site lying to the east of the railway has also been put up for sale with the benefit of planning permission.
So we have
1.The site detailed in this article with planning permission for housing.
2. The RL campus site with planning permission for 17,000 sm of office space plus the 11000 sm of top grade office space which they are vacating.
3. The site east of the railway line/ west of the bypass with planning permission for 17000 sm of offices.

To set the dimensions of these proposed office developments into perspective, the playing surface at Old Trafford is 7000 sm.
So Wilmslow has 45000 sm of speculative office investment in this small area. Under preCovid space standards, this would house over 5000 employees. We also have the proposed residential development.

These would be new jobs to Wilmslow but, from what we now see, none of these developments are likely to proceed in the near future. It seems the owners are looking for a short term return rather than waiting for the market to revive - whenever that may be.

And the delayed developments will mean there is no business rates / domestic rates revenues in the foreseeable future.
Pete Taylor
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 4:40 pm
@Ian Forde-smith, I have already responded to your identical post over on the Alderley site, so I'm obliged to repeat my reply here!

I totally agree with your sentiments but I think you are aiming at the wrong target with the current CEC.


@Ian Forde-Smith, as someone who has been fighting against this for several years (I have a Covenant with RL which forbids the erection of any building, for all time on those agricultural fields) I cannot agree that Cheshire East Council ARE a disgrace but when the previous administration voted to remove Green Belt protection they WERE a disgrace.

Several Wilmslow Councillors (all now out of office) plus the Alderley Councillor (also long gone) voted against an amendment to the Local Plan which would have kept several pieces of land around Alderley and Wilmslow in the Green Belt. They voted with their Party and against the wishes of the electorate. That is why we now have so many Independent Parish, Town and CE Councillors.


It really is a shame that we could not get more caring people involved at the time.
Toni Fox
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 4:54 pm
Hello Ian,

Planning permission for this was granted under the previous Conservative administration when they had the majority vote on all Committees.

Both the Royal London site, and the Kings School site, were released from the Green Belt, before the Local Plan was approved in 2017 by the Conservatives.

Under this joint administration we have reviewed the Site Allocation and Development Policies document (SADPD) which is part 2 of the Local Plan and removed the sites that they had previously allocated for immediate release for development in Local Service Centres.

Please don't tar this administration with the same brush as the previous administration. We cannot undo their decisions but we can ensure that we make better decisions going forward with the help and continued support of residents.

Councillor Toni Fox
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Mark Russell
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 6:17 pm
There are plenty of trees around the area, country and being planted world wide. A few going missing to provide local jobs won’t make one millionth of a percent difference to the world. If there are no jobs that will make a massive difference as crime, suicide rates etc which will all shoot up. No amount of trees will stop that happening.
Rick Andrews
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 6:43 pm
The need for office space is now close to nil as more companies and staff enjoy the benefits of working from home. Companies have less overhead and staff reduce commuting time - the world has changed. Do the supporters of these plans not see how green spaces and trees are as important as food to our survival.
Pete Taylor
Friday 23rd October 2020 at 9:28 pm
@Rick Andrews, well said.

I've lived here for a while. Royal London, previously United Friendly, previously Refuge Insurance, previously ICI have had empty office space advertised for ever! That's only one site, there are many more.

There are so many long-term empty offices in Wilmslow that owners are now proposing conversions to apartments; which is a good thing.

The number of "required"(!) houses in the desperately-flawed Local Plan has already been well-surpassed in terms of Planning Permissions granted. The build-out rate for this "Plan" (even if the numbers were correct) lags years behind.

This is, yet another, land-banking exercise, driven by financial opportunists.

I suspect that Royal London is now desperate to off-load this hot potato asap, due to several factors:
The demand for empty office space is fast shrinking.
The site has an ongoing and serious problem with flooding; not from the Whitehall Brook but from "watercourse "A" as it is described on their planning applications. Their second set of expert Consultants have no viable solution.
The two former Macclesfield Borough Council tips on the site (from a quick walk around... there is asbestos, oil drums and old lorry tyres, plus metal tanks and general nasty rubbish (this is just on the surface; 20 years after it closed. These tips are proposed by Royal London as "watercourse attenuation ponds"... they will discharge into the Whitehall Brook, downstream of the Royal London site.

It's a mess- which any purchaser of the site really will have to address.

No doubt, when the sales brochure is published, on Monday, these issues (and many more) will be detailed and a viable and legal risk-mitigation plan will be available for all to see. Or not.
Ian Forde-Smith
Saturday 24th October 2020 at 12:11 pm
@Tony Fox, thanks for the reply - the jury is out for me on this and the test of the new administration will be when full planning is applied for. I only hope that all the genuine issues and concerns raised at the time will be taken into full account and the only sensible decision to refuse planning is made.

@Pete Taylor, again thanks for your comments and as a resident I really appreciate all the hard work you have put into trying to stop the development of this site. Re your covenants, I know these are not considered as part of planning but the fact you have them is a big deterrent but not an absolute one. Again, as I said to Tony, I just hope that the serious issues raised with the site, when it got outline consent, are taken into consideration at full planning stage by the new administration.

Finally, I totally agree with all the other comments re office space demand and the fact that with all existing approvals there is more than enough supply to meet the requirements for new housing.
Andrew Backhouse
Saturday 24th October 2020 at 5:11 pm
There's a group of us from Transition Wilmslow wanting to find agricultural land locally that we could start a community market garden of a few acres - to get more food grown locally rather than transported a long distance in, getting people to learn how to grow food for themselves, and of course encouraging the therapeutic and community effects of working together on a good project like a garden. It might be a lot better on this site, particularly with the covenants, than building houses. If you would be interested in helping us, contact
Nick Jones
Saturday 24th October 2020 at 6:57 pm
I wasnt aware of Macclesfield BC waste tips located on thIs site. When ? Obvs before my time, but surely there is a legal responsibility now and a continuing duty of care with both the 'Polluters' and current land owners to declare this to ensure public health and safety can be maintained. 'Attentuation' would suggest 'reduction of effect, but if correct it must surely be 'Augmentation', as the process to rectify this will be greater than the current dismissal.
I wonder if armed with this MBC pollutant mens-rea alluded to, that is why the deposed CEC Cllrs sought to remove this site from greenbelt protection. They didnt have a very good record with waste tips ( Lyme Green ) and incurring expenditure and investigation, and were still waiting for the formal report for that to be released !
Pete Taylor
Tuesday 27th October 2020 at 8:20 pm
I think the selling agents may have a typo in their documentation; surely it is Wetlands, rather than Westlands?
The blocked Royal London culvert is overflowing again, for the second time in ten days.
John Harries
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 9:13 am
Pete Taylor,
Like Nick Jones, MBC (covert) tips in that location is news to me! Please elucidate for everyone.
Manuel Golding
Thursday 29th October 2020 at 5:44 pm
I would not be at all surprised the Royal London Asset Managers (RLAM) are fully warfare of their responsibilities with regards to the regular flooding of their main site and the cost to them for resolving the situation.What was promising to be a "Mega Earner" for them , re offices, has turned into a major liability. The flooding not only affects RLAM but it occurs regularly along Whitehall Brook towards A E Golf Club- floods into properties and fields along its course. Maybe the inheritor of Cheshire County Council (CE?) has the responsibility or the Environment Agency (it use to maintain the river course) does. It remains for RLAM, EA & CE to sort and agree the solution. RLAM has plenty of costly issues to solve on what looked a very big earner for its asset fund managers, now have to confront constant flooding, loss of office site sales on its West site due to multi-home owners long term Covenants and constant legal processes to resolve - "Oh, woe is Them!".
Marcia McGrail
Wednesday 4th November 2020 at 10:59 pm
@Andrew Backhouse - what a brilliant proposal! We certainly need to look to local food provenance as the world as we knew it changes before our very eyes. Have you connected with ? It sounds as if there may be a meeting of minds at many levels..