Recreation area benefits from £500,000 developer-funded revamp

Browns lane photo

A major revamp is underway at one of the town's leisure and recreation spots.

The council says it has invested £500,000 in Browns Lane recreation area to enable the site to be transformed into a small neighbourhood park for people of all ages.

The park includes an accessible path with seating for rest and relaxation, a play area with many inclusive play opportunities, a multi-use games area and an informal natural turf 'kick about' pitch. A sustainable drainage system has been installed and this includes an attractive new pond.

This project has been funded by developer contributions linked to new housing developments including Jones Homes and David Wilson jointly paid a total of £395,500.00 to improve the Browns Lane Play area in two instalments one in 2015 and one in 2017.

Kerren Phillips, Planning Manager at Jones Homes, said "We are pleased that the residents of Bollin Park and the surrounding community can now benefit from the local play infrastructure the Bollin Park development has funded.

"Jones Homes gifted the land on which the Browns lane play area is located to Macclesfield Council in 1986 when the early phase of the 'Summerfields' development was built, this is reflected in the public art on the Browns lane entrance where a Stone and plaque reside which was recently refurbished by Jones Homes."

Councillor Laura Crane, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for green spaces, said: "This project has been eagerly anticipated amongst many local residents keen to have this green space transformed. I'm delighted that the work is progressing so well. There is still more to do, such as signage installation and tree planting, but the project is well on its way in allowing local families and young children to benefit from a first-class recreation park.

"The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the value and importance of our outdoor green spaces as the country has moved into a second national lockdown.

"The council has always been committed to the long-term improvement of our parks and open spaces owing to the health benefits they bring to our communities."

Councillor Toni Fox said: "As local ward member, I am delighted that the long awaited for improvements have been made to what was previously an underused recreation area. This is a fantastic local facility that has been funded by developer contributions. It has been designed to be of benefit to residents of all ages year round, and is within walking distance for many who live in the Dean Row area, meaning they no longer have to drive to other places.

"I'd like to thank Ansa for all their assistance, particularly in relation to the extensive public consultations they carried out with local residents at the design stage of the scheme. Thank you also to the contractors for all their hard work and for keeping the project on schedule."

Photo from left to right: Reena Gupta (local resident), Matt Smith (Ansa), Ruth Morgan (Ansa), Charlie Cooper (Keble Heath – contractor), Cllr Toni Fox (ward member), Joanne Hall (manager of neighbouring Hazelmere Nursing Home)

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Comments

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

Hannelore Hartig
Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:01 am
It's a wonderful place and well-utilized already. One problem dogs running around with no leash,
Christine Hill
Friday 13th November 2020 at 10:10 pm
The drainage doesn't seem to have been sorted out- still a lot of standing water and very soggy grass.
Most dogs off leads are not a problem.
Phillip King
Sunday 15th November 2020 at 6:28 am
The development has not been made in align as per the original planning granted. It is directly behind my house, when it was meant to be at least a further 20m into the park towards where previously situ.

The supposed lake is incomplete and a danger for kids, who can climb in. There is no life ring even in the event of requiring.

The children area has only been completed half with protective flooring and rest left, safety hazard for children. The gates installed for this area are already nearly broken and a danger as dogs are entering and scaring children.

There has been 6 occasions this week where dogs not on leashes have tried to attack small kids and it is frightening. This is a fatal disaster waiting to happen.

Immediate request for funds that are
Left to be used to improve children floor area space, safer gate access and to enforce dogs on leash at all times.
Toni Fox
Tuesday 17th November 2020 at 1:26 pm
Dear Christine and Phillip,

The site layout has been set out in line with the plans submitted to, and approved by, the planning department. The only exception is the shape of the fence line of the play area. This has been altered very slightly to reduce the amount of fencing/cost but that takes the play area boundary further away from neighbouring properties.

The park was opened earlier than planned following the Government introducing Tier 2 in Cheshire East and to coincide with half term. Planting has yet to be started and we are waiting for the delivery of the permanent signs, however, temporary signs have been put up at the main entrances explaining this. There are likely to be a couple of things we won’t be able to complete immediately because we don’t have sufficient remaining funds (the wooden pontoon and the ground reinforcement to the pond), however they will remain on the master plan and we will endeavour to install these when funds do become available. The lighting is waiting for planning permission however the cabling has been installed to enable the appropriate department to take that forward when they are able to do so.

The play area has been installed safely and has been checked by a RoSPA Health and Safety inspector however, I have asked officers to look at the gates again. We have ‘No Dogs’ signs on order for the play area and we will also have some general Public Space Protection Order signs to install at the main entrances when they are delivered. Temporary ‘No Dogs’ signs will go up on the play area this week in the meantime.

The pond has a timber fence with weldmesh infills to prevent small children and dogs getting in to it.

The area is a popular dog walking spot and this came through strongly during the consultation. We absolutely welcome well behaved dogs in the park. If a dog does not respond well to recall, or bothers other people visiting the site, we request that owners put their dog(s) on a lead. This will be detailed in the PSPO sign mentioned above. The only exceptions are the enclosed areas – the play area and the Multi Use Games Area – where dogs are prohibited.


Not all of the site is drained. We have installed drainage to mitigate against the storm water runoff that will be created as a consequence of the installation of hard surfaced areas and the drained grass kick about area. These improvements mean that the Park is now useable throughout the year, even in poor weather. However, those areas that are not drained will still hold water after heavy rain. This is expected and important. Green spaces act as sponges and are key in helping to cope with climate change and ever increasing wet weather conditions. These areas will drain naturally over time and help to protect surrounding areas from flooding. The Park will take a little time to recover from the work we have been doing but when the ground is firm enough we will carry out maintenance that will help wet areas drain a little quicker. This all takes time but it is planned and will start when ground conditions allow.

Kind Regards
Councillor Toni Fox
Dean Row Ward - Wilmslow
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Hannelore Hartig
Tuesday 17th November 2020 at 2:17 pm
I agree with Phillip on dogs, and they are also fouling the place when not on a lead, the owners have no idea as the dogs are running around. I have noticed the park is not yet finished, and await the final outcome, Well done that at least it's up and running now under lockdown, and everyone can enjoy.
Vince Chadwick
Tuesday 17th November 2020 at 7:50 pm
It would not surprise me if those owners know all too well what their off-lead defecating dogs are doing, but are choosing to ignore it.

I'm sure most dog owners are conscientious and would not dream of allowing their pets to terrorise children, or not 'clean up' after their dogs. Unfortunately these owners are let down by an irresponsible minority. It's these irresponsibles who seem to have the worse-behaved least-controlled dogs, and they are the ones that get noticed rather than the well behaved well trained dogs.
Phillip King
Thursday 19th November 2020 at 6:10 am
Toni,

Thanks for your detailed response.

Can i request for the council to arrange an outdoor or zoom meeting with Bollin Park residents only. As it is us who have invested £850,000 to £1,000,000 into a development and then a local park spring up with no say. Then to find residents from poynton and macclesfield to come daily, park there cars at the estate entrance and block our cars. Creating litter and their kids hogging the use of the activities in the park i find somewhat disappointed.

I request for the council to be transparent on where £500,000 has been spent.

As i have contacted a local groundworks and demolition company for a rough quote and they have broken the costing for such an install below:

Concrete/ tarmac for footpath & labour (400m): £20,000

Concrete/ tarmac/ markings for basketball court: £50,000

Fencing basketball court: £25,000

Basketball net and football goals: £5000

Play area construction with fencing, gates and soft surface 60%: £25,000

Play area activities and install: £40,000

Excavation of lake area: £2500

Fencing for lake area: £5000

Hire of Machinery for all works: £10,000

Total: £182,500

There has been no cost to remove any spoil as this has been deposited un-even on site.

There has no more than 5 labourers on site at any time.

The plans also display gates on each of the three entries from Jones homes houses, which we are yet to see.

A local nursery within 1/2 mile from the park failed an inspection as they did not have fencing secure similar, so i am somewhat concerned when you state
This has been approved.

Being a dog owner i appreciate the use of the park, but i am able to control my dog and keep on a lead at all times. But to have my dog attacked twice in the last 48 hours is ridiculous with these wild dogs. Can you confirm that the council will accept full responsibility if my dog or a child is attacked by one of these dogs? As there are comments made on this daily and i request for an open consultation with only Bollin Park residents to answer on this. Something drastically has to change here, be it a designated area where these dogs can run wild far away from the children’s play area area.

I would also suggest addressing concerns of outside the area youths coming to the play area in the evenings of the summer months and scaring our children off and being rude and abusive as they have been during the October holidays.

An open consultations sharing all expenses and addressing the above is requested.
Jon Armstrong
Thursday 19th November 2020 at 7:52 am
Why only Bollin Park residents? This was a recreation area and children's park long before any of those houses existed. Bollin Park people don't get preferential use of it or a greater say on it.
Alan Brough
Thursday 19th November 2020 at 1:10 pm
@ Jon Armstrong,

Indeed, the money spent on enhancing the area is likely to be section 106 funding designed to put something back into the wider community after developers have er, "developed" the piece of green belt in question.
Toni Fox
Thursday 19th November 2020 at 2:11 pm
Dear Phillip,

Consultation on the initial proposed design was held with local residents in the summer of 2018 during the design stage. Notices were posted at the main entrances to the recreation area, letters were sent to over 1,400 local households requesting feedback on the draft proposals and there was also an article in the Wilmslow Guardian and on Wilmslow.co.uk. Emails were also sent to many local groups including Wilmslow Trust, Transition Wilmslow, Wilmslow Town Council, Wilmslow Academy Primary School, Dean Row Village Hall and Wilmslow Library.

All of the responses and suggestions received as a result of the public consultation were reviewed and considered when drawing up the final design. The scheme could only be implemented once planning permission had been granted (2019), and as with all planning applications, there was the opportunity for residents to submit further comments and these were also considered.

The improvements have been funded with S106 monies accrued over a period of almost 20 years from a number of developments in the Dean Row area.

As a public open space it can necessarily be used by anyone as is the case with all public parks.

As I said previously there are works that have yet to be completed and these will also include additional gates and fencing.

I liaised with local police officers during construction who are aware of the new facilities and have advised that any anti-social behaviour should be reported via 101. Messages are monitored and officers will be despatched as soon as they are available. The Council will be liaising with the Police and monitoring reports.

Unfortunately the Council does not publish accounts to such a degree of detail for all the services that it provides however as the funds used are from S106 Legal Agreements these are monitored appropriately.

When the scheme, as approved, is complete I will seek clarification on the detailed expenditure and share this with residents.

If you, or any other residents, have any further questions please do not hesitate to email or call me, my contact details are on the Cheshire East Council website.

Kind Regards
Councillor Toni Fox
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Independent - Residents of Wilmslow
Sandra Cox
Thursday 19th November 2020 at 3:49 pm
Mr King - if my memory serves me correctly detailed plans for the development of the field were included in the planning permission granted to allow the building of Bollin Park. It is only due the perseverance of Toni Fox that the revamp has happened at last. I agree with you about the dog problem but I am disappointed that you wish to give priority use of the Park to Bollin Park residents when it has been open to all from far and wide for so many years. Is it not possible for us all to work together as one community to solve any teething problems rather than seek special privileges for your estate?
John Fallows
Sunday 22nd November 2020 at 9:27 am
Mr. King. Some of us have lived here somewhat longer than you (35 years in our case). Many points have already been made re the planning of this park etc. so just two points:

1. Where you live used to be a pleasant green space which we enjoyed and lobbied to keep.

2. The Bollin Park development was not supported by the majority of local residents. The leader of Cheshire East told us at a (packed) public meeting that you have my assurance that 'the land at Adlington Road will never be built on"

So if anyone should feel aggrieved maybe it's not you?
Phillip King
Wednesday 25th November 2020 at 6:19 am
Jon- The Bollin Park development contributed to 79% of funding for this park. Had Bollin Park not been built the park would not have seen the upgrade. Our investment into properties provided the profitability for DW and JH to donate £395,500 for this development.

Toni- The majority of Bollin Park residents commented on making the park safe for children and the elderly as was concerned people from out of the area would come with their dogs and try to take over which again we are seeing yesterday. Dogs being allowed to run around on the basketball court, then trying to jump into the children's area which they struggle and then start to attack other dogs whilst they are on their owners lead. What do we need to do before one of our own dogs or children are seriously hurt. This is a major fatality waiting to happen and i request a full Health and Safety Risk Assessment to be carried out now the park is in use.

The S106 monies generated from Dean Row Area contribute to 21% of the funding for this development. Had Bollin Park not been built then am i safe to say that this upgrade would not have happened. As it had taken 20 years to generate circa £105,000.

Sandra - thanks for your comments. I do not want Bollin Park residents to take priority over use on the park as it is an open public space for all. However please understand our anger, we have invested in our dream home and a premium price and next thing in my back master bedroom balcony i can now see youths at night smoking cannabis and riding bikes in the children play area acting ill mannered. Speaking to residents from Bollin Park, the majority of residents requested the play area to remain where it was previously as this would not create any issues that currently faced with. If house prices decline do you think the Council will be happy with responsibility for this? Again i must stress i was hoping for some consultation with all but immediately with Bollin Park residents as we are the ones who are experiencing the issues daily highlighted above.

John - accept your comments and your anger as is a similar origin of disappointment as i have.


Toni i request for you to follow Mick Warren’s excellent outline on Carrs.

Where an immediate order is required to one area of our park where there is a specific problem with dogs and dog fouling. The Park, is a public open space and recreation area popular with visitors and dog walkers from a wide area i note. A bespoke order must be put in place to control dogs off leads and to limit the number of dogs per owner.

Thanks for providing your contact details- i shall make contact with you in the coming weeks as i do not want to upset or offend other outside residents of Bollin Park.

Thanks All and apologies again.
Sandra Cox
Wednesday 25th November 2020 at 8:24 am
Good morning Phillip,

I understand how you feel and you have my sympathy. Those of us who have lived in Dean Row for many years have watched it change out of all recognition as have so many places countrywide but one adapts.

It is such a pity you had no idea that the field was in line for development when you bought your house and herein lies the problem of any council responsibility regarding a drop in house prices. Isn't 'buyer beware' the term used to cover your situation?


The field was waterlogged and unusable for about 8 months a year. Now it is able to be used all year but I do agree with you about the over-excited dogs. For that reason I do not walk our dog there and seldom did before the revamp. Notices may help but some may ignore them.

In your shoes I would plant some trees at the end of the garden to obscure the view and not let the park spoil my enjoyment of my new home.
Jon Armstrong
Wednesday 25th November 2020 at 6:14 pm
@Phillip King

S106 money isn't a "donation"... it is an obligation to mitigate the impact of the development on the existing community.

You don't seem to understand that many of us appreciate entirely what it is like to invest in our dream home and then have something unwelcome come along and spoil the pleasant vista, character of the place and impact upon our investment. Indeed, for some of us that something WAS the Bollin Park development. We can't control it all though - we just have to accept change and carry on, as has always been the case.

Also, if you look out from your balcony you will see there are many other properties adjacent to and near this field that are not part of the Bollin Park development. Your idea that its residents are somehow the only ones impacted or somehow deserve preferential treatment and consultation is a little jarring when plans were being made for this park long before a spade was put in the ground to build your house. You had the benefit of choice - many others have just had these changes thrust upon them.

I do agree with you though around the anti social behaviour that was always anticipated and began even before the park reopened. I suspect this will only get worse when lighting is installed and better weather comes along. However, there is little point complaining to our councillors - this was all pointed out at the planning stage and ignored.

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