Plans to demolish garden centre and replace with houses

Screen Shot 2021-11-08 at 14.54.52

Plans have been submitted for the demolition of existing buildings and construction of four detached dwellings at Morley Nurseries on Altrincham Road.

The site is currently occupied by a garden centre, tearooms, dog grooming salon, Cheshire Garden and Building sales, car storage and car parking.

There are currently 8 parking spaces which will be retained and access to the site will be from the existing access off Altrincham Road.

The site extends to approximately 0.6 hectares and is situated within the North Cheshire Green Belt.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 21/5550M.



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

Diane Walker
Monday 8th November 2021 at 4:11 pm
The most ridiculous thing I've heard! Apart from the fact that these sort of properties are not what we need, this is green belt?!!! :(
Neda Metcalfe
Monday 8th November 2021 at 5:03 pm
Diane what’s green belt got to do with it !!!!!!
They couldn’t care less it’s appalling what is happening to our green space
Laura Prescott
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 5:59 am
Unfortunately this it true we have been fighting this for 2 years through the courts the final hearing is on the 26th November which will decide the fate of Morley Nurseries and Tearoom if you wish to object please contact your councillors Ian Macfarlane ,Mark Goldsmith or Matthew Jackson (parish councillor) also log your objection with Cheshire East Planning Reference 21/555OM Thank you for your support.
Derek Ferguson
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 9:21 am
The plans look like they have more green space than there is currently. Most the space is used as a car park. Not exactly green belt.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 9:35 am
So, could any of the aforementioned Councillors (in Laura Prescott's post above) tell us how this Green Belt land comes to be the subject of a planning application for luxury homes?

What safeguards are in place to protect our other green spaces?

I think we can be forgiven for being totally confused / bamboozled by this sort of nonsense.
Alastair Knockton
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 10:34 am
I might be wrong but it has probably already had change of use some time ago from green belt to become a garden centre and airport car park.

If approved, this starts the process of potential future in-fill development applications around the site
Mark Goldsmith
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 3:01 pm
Just to clarify a few things:

- Cheshire East cannot stop planning applications. They can only judge them when they
are submitted.

- The site for this application sits within the greenbelt, but already has several properties
on it. Therefore, the decision to allow buildings on this land was granted long ago.

- This proposal is NOT for even more 4 and 5 bed executive homes. It is for 4 x two bed
houses, which are in short supply in Wilmslow.

- These new houses are lower in height than the existing buildings already there.

- They are also smaller in mass too.

- Therefore, they do not ‘close down’ the openness of the greenbelt but improve it.

I understand that some people have emotional reasons to dislike this application, but UK planning law steadfastly ignores public opinion. People disliking an application is just not a planning consideration.

So, once we get beyond the “I don’t like it” argument, then there seems very little left to object to. Ultimately, this application is for smaller and fewer buildings than are already there, so I cannot see a legitimate planning reason to refuse it.


Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Alan Brough
Tuesday 9th November 2021 at 8:36 pm
I appreciate your response Mark but you appear to suggest that, whilst it IS “Green Belt” the new development is okay because someone has already built on it.

The “I don’t like it” argument is based on a dislike of development on Green Belt land and the relative ease in which developers appear able to do it.
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 7:00 am

Yes, I am saying that this site has houses on it, so it is classified as a ‘brownfield’ site.

That’s a game changer in UK planning law that we cannot ignore. If we do ignore it, then the governments Planning Inspector will remind us of the law at appeal and give us a large bill to make sure we don’t forget it again.

Unusually though, these new houses will remove more building mass and be lower in height than the current buildings there.

It therefore does what you want. It will give us less development in the greenbelt, which is why it will likely be approved.
Alan Brough
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 11:13 am
Thanks Mark,

There is a concession that allows the installation of "agricultural" building on green belt land. Could it be that the buildings that are currently there fall into that category? Certainly they appear largely to be made up of wooden sheds, barns and greenhouses.

Under what process does Greenbelt become Brownfield?

Sorry to press the point but I'm genuinely interested in the broader issues here since the development of the Waters site across the road and the recent appearance of hoardings further along Altrincham Road (near The Honey Bee) suggesting that residential development will soon begin.
Simon Atkins
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 2:42 pm
Don't be fooled by those 4 houses and large green space. the developers will apply for change of use and build more houses, it's worth too much to sit around being green space!
Mo Jamil
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 3:11 pm
Mark, You seemed to have learned a valuable lesson after the fiasco of the planning committee on the handforth road application by Newcare which the councillors lost at considerable cost to the taxpayer. I recall you had a different view then for a “brownfield” site. Pity you did not apply just because “you don't like it” argument then to the few nimbyists who were lobbying the likes of you. Ironic the inconsistency.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 3:53 pm
Mo Jamil

The Handforth Road application by Newcare was not in the "Green Belt".
The planning committee had every right to do what they did.
The applicant had the right to appeal.
Ian Kennedy
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 4:06 pm
If this panning application takes as long as the simple domestic extension I have applied for then there is no need to worry for at least 5 years!
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 4:10 pm
Hi Alan & Simon

The concepts of Brownfield and Greenbelt are independent of each other, so one does not become the other.

‘Brownfield’ indicates there are already properties on the site. Greenbelt is a concept that covers large rural areas and is designed to stop new development occurring within them. One of the key concepts of Greenbelt is “openness”. This means keeping these areas as open as possible ie building as little as possible there.

This application is unusual because it is for less space than is already there, so will increase the “openness”. This is a key reason why it is likely to be allowed. However, the planning approval will also demand the demolition of the other buildings on this site to ensure this ‘openness’ is achieved.

This means if developers try to build extra houses there later on, Cheshire East can argue they would close down the “Openness”, so giving it good grounds to reject their plans.

Therefore, this is not the thin end of the wedge for this site, it does not set a precedent and does not mean additional building will be allowed there in future.

I hope this helps.

Hi Mo

As explained above, this application reduces the amount of building. It also provides a type of housing that is in need in Wilmslow. Neither was true for the Handforth Road development.
Stuart Redgard
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 5:11 pm
My concern about this application is not the planned houses to be built on the plot of land at the front but rather the potential for a revised application once planning approval has been gained. There is also the potential for more houses on the plot of land to the rear which is not part of this application. (i.e. that part that is currently predominantly used as off-site airport parking)

There is also the change in use category from business mixed-use to solely residential.

I am not in favour of this development because of the change of use from a mixture of B8, E(b) and E(c)iii) to wholly residential (C3). But I tend to agree with Marks interpretation that it is more likely to be approved than refused.
Anita Willoughby
Wednesday 10th November 2021 at 7:13 pm
People will be as much concerned about the use of construction as the relative openness of it. A garden centre feels a lot more 'greenbeltish' than more houses. As dwellings creep towards the mass of the airport constructions people fear for the couple of fields that separate Wilmslow from those constructions. A slim green that helps to define Wilmslow and give it identity.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 11th November 2021 at 10:36 am
Hi Anita

I agree with you, a garden centre does feel more appropriate for the greenbelt. Unfortunately though, this doesn't feature in greenbelt planning law.

That's because we can't see through a barn, shed, or farmhouse. So regardless of their use or design, all buildings reduce the amount of countryside we can see.

Therefore, in greenbelt planning, it is the height and size of the proposed construction (the mass) that is critical as it defines how much greenery or "openness" might be lost.

This application is very unusual because it is for smaller and lower buildings than are already there. Therefore, we will see more countryside and less buildings, which is the aim of greenbelt and a big reason why I think it will be approved.
Rick Andrews
Thursday 11th November 2021 at 11:47 am
This is likely the thin end of a massive wedge. Look at the houses being built adjacent to Pownall School. Original application 1 house. Developer is Currently building 4 x 5 bedroom houses with minimal gardens and restricted access. All approved by CEC.
Alan Brough
Thursday 11th November 2021 at 12:56 pm

Again I appreciate your comments and explanations / interpretations.

Let's mark your words and see what happens.
Paul Weston
Friday 12th November 2021 at 2:27 pm
It’s the age old conflict. Landlord (lacking a moral compass) wants to evict tenant/s off their land. The land constitutes the tenant’s livelihood and the livelihood of other businesses on that land.
This should be confined to the pages of a 19th century Dickens novel but it’s not. It is happening here and now in 21st century Wilmslow. The Landlord wants to evict the tenants/s in order that they can demolish Morley Nurseries and other surrounding buildings in approximately 1.5 acres of land to enable them to build 4?? houses £££.
The only enhancement of this proposal will be to the bank balance of the Dickensian landlord. It’s affordable housing we need in the area not mansions. We seem to have lost sight or have chosen not to mention that this situation is very much about people losing their livelihoods .
If anyone wishes to oppose (or other) the planning application go to:-
Cheshire East Planning Applications and search by ref no; 21/5550M
or postcode SK9 4LY.
Geoff Ferguson
Wednesday 17th November 2021 at 1:15 pm
Ahh Mo Jamil, thought you had taken the money and run after the Newcare approval fiasco, at least you are consistant in your support of construction on inappropriate sites
How is Elvis by the way, looks like he has someone translatiing his "text speak" into reasonable English, judging by his promotional feature on 20th July
Anita Willoughby
Thursday 18th November 2021 at 9:43 am
Thank you Mark for explaining how the planning regulations define "openness".

As a garden centre the public could access the area and 'we' could see the countryside around. When it becomes a cul-de-sac of private houses we, the public will have no business being there. In a lay sense, this area of green belt will cease to be 'open' to us.

However much this reasoning makes sense, it won't feature in planning regulation law. I regard this as further ribbon development and fear it, I also fear that a formal objection to the application is futile and public interest is powerless.
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 29th November 2021 at 8:35 am
I have just heard the garden centre were successful in their legal challenge and had their lease extended by another 10 years.

Therefore, they can continue to trade there for this period at least and the houses cannot be built, even if planning permission is granted.
Nick Jones
Monday 29th November 2021 at 11:21 am
Lease may have been extended.. But what if monetary compensation was offered to accommodate all parties ? Just a thought.. I mean its about principles not cash ...Isn't it ?