Restoration phase to get underway at Lindow Moss


The restoration phase of work is due to begin at Lindow Moss on Monday, 7th February.

Local residents who are in the area during February will notice a number of management activities taking place, which will involve the use of heavy plant, and chainsaws etc.

Jeff Clarke, Site Ecologist, explained "This is essential to enable improvement works for water vole habitats and to allow the first of a series of new water control bunds and sluices to be installed.

"The process of moss restoration will involve the incremental raising of the water levels over a period of years. This will allow the moss to begin regenerating through the growth and deposition of Sphagnum moss. In some compartments of the moss, designated as suitable for moss restoration, you may see some regrading of the peat within the compartments, to ensure a level bed. This will improve the rewetting process and reduce the likelihood that the moss will be overrun with pioneer tree species like Birch and Willow. It is important to understand that there is no peat extraction taking place."

The work is being carried out at this time of year to avoid the bird nesting season. In addition, the works are best undertaken as the water voles become more active in the early spring, but before they start breeding.

The process of putting in place the building blocks of restoration will take a minimum of three years.

Jeff Clarke, Site Ecologist, added "Following full restoration, the site will periodically require some intervention management, but the rewetting process will ensure that a more natural mossland setting becomes increasingly obvious.

"This will bring benefits in many ways: aesthetically by a gradual reduction in bare peat areas; a significant improvement on the site biodiversity; and the site will once again begin to function as a carbon sink. The latter is a critical mechanism in the slowing of climate change.

"It is important that you avoid the working areas to ensure your own safety and that of the contractors. Your cooperation with this will be greatly appreciated.

"We look forward to a positive future for Lindow Moss and working together with the community to create a space where nature can truly thrive, and people can enjoy the special atmosphere of this incredible place."

Lindow Moss


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

Anthony Evans
Wednesday 9th February 2022 at 9:01 am
Once more Cheshire East and Croghan Peat are feeding false information to try to justify their ignoring of the truth. This ‘restoration’ totally ignores the advice of an independent expert hydrologist and could in fact lead to further damage on the peat bog and to surrounding buildings.
CE have already lied at the housing hearing by saying there is no subsidence on the peat bog (government figures say otherwise) but now they are allowing a start in direct contravention of their own conditions.
It clearly states that no work can commence until there has been a water vole survey, which, to our knowledge, has not been carried out. So not only is the work a possible danger to the surroundings, it is also illegal.
It will be interesting to see if CE will bother to respond.
Tony Evans, Saltersley Common Preservation Society.
Paul Weston
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 9:09 am
Tony. You are not dealing with "normal" human beings. These people are for the most Z list politicians who are full of their own self importance and along with Jeff Clarke and Croghan Peat are complicit in their obfuscation.
John Dwyer
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 10:08 am
At the very least, Cheshire East should insist on the promised water vole survey before this possibly illegal work begins.
Sheila Hallas
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 10:22 am
As an interested person, please can I know who the Site Ecologist is working for%? Is it Cheshire East? If so, he must be aware that this intervention is against the recommendations given previously.
Can we have some honesty here.
Anthony Evans
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 3:54 pm
Attn. Sheila Hallas
Jeff Clarke, the site ecologist, is being paid by Croghan Peat Ltd. I wonder why you ask?
Rick Andrews
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 5:58 pm
Would be good for the council to attend to the appalling state of the bridleways and footpaths adjacent to Lindow moss. The landowner is responsible for any accidents caused by this neglect.
Keith Marsden
Thursday 10th February 2022 at 6:20 pm
This situation at Lindow Moss seems to have been running a long time and I remember there were some really serious problems with nearby properties sinking. If the independent hydrologist addressed those issues in the above mentioned report, it would be interesting to have confirmation from those pushing ahead with this project that the hydrologist’s concerns have been fully taken into account
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 11th February 2022 at 3:21 pm
I have been a councillor for almost four years now and I think my dealings with Mr Evans of Saltersley Common Preservation Society (SCPS) ranks as my most frustrating and disappointing experience so far.

Council officers, other environmentalists and myself have all had the same experience with him. We liaise with Mr Evans to keep him informed of the detailed and complex progress being made towards the restoration and to try to accommodate his wishes. At some point during this dialogue he invariably demands actions that are either illegal or unfeasible eg investigating and reversing decisions made decades ago by councils that have long been disbanded. When this is explained to him, he then gets abusive and the dialogue has to stop.

Despite these lengthy dealings, we still have no idea how Saltersley Common Preservation Society wants Saltersley Common to be preserved. Unfortunately, Mr Evans has never said. He has told me that “SCPS do not want to be involved in the restoration” though. Whether this is true or not is difficult to establish because Mr Evans is the only name ever associated with SCPS and no other members are known to us.

Despite the societies name, Saltersley Common is not common land. It is privately owned land. However, Mr Evans has demanded Cheshire East compensate him for damage to buildings he claims was caused by the peat extraction on it. If your neighbour extended their house and it caused damage to your property, would you expect the council to compensate you? No, you would not but unfortunately Mr Evans does. He claims to have proof to back up his claim but won’t share it with Cheshire East. He says anyone else can have it but not the council.

Now Mr Evans seems focused on making sensationalist claims about the council but for what purpose is know only by him. For the record, detailed plans of the restoration work can be found on Cheshire Easts Planning Portal under reference 15/0016M, 15/0064M and 205271M. This already includes a survey on the Water Voles that Mr Evans claims not to know about.

Additionally, there are also similar surveys for the Bats, Birds, Badgers, Reptiles, Trees (Arboriculture) and Invasive Plants on this site too. The updates to these reports are now with the Cheshire East planning officers and ecology experts for review. They are likely to be formally approved in the coming days, published on the planning portal and the associated planning conditions discharged. A formal group of independent environmentalists, local councils and organisations will also soon be appointed and regularly informed about how the restoration work is progressing.

Therefore, at long, long last, we are now on the cusp of starting the restoration work to turn this area back into a diverse wetland habit. For an example of what can be achieved after peat mining ends, then visit Cadishead & Little Woolden Moss nature reserve:

This was another peat extraction site owned by Croghan Peat that they restored once the mining ended. The Wildlife Trust then acquired the site and secured its long-term future as a public nature reserve.

Therefore, there is a clear blue-print to follow and every chance Saltersley Moss will become something very similar, once this restoration process has been completed.

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Stuart Redgard
Friday 11th February 2022 at 9:56 pm
#Mark Goldsmith

The works associated with planning applications 15/0016M and 15/0064M, commenced in July 2021 when soil was removed from the site and transported to Lindow Turf Farm works off Racecourse Road.

In late July 2021, I emailed Ian MacFarlane (CC’s Mark Goldsmith) with my concerns that this was a breach of the conditions associated with 15/0016M and 15/0064M.

On 29 July Ian sent me an email as follows.

“The Cheshire East Case officer has informed me that an enforcement officer has visited the site and that all works will now cease whilst the revised application runs its course. However, it will take a short period of time for the operators to “demobilise” and make the site safe, which will all be done by 5pm on Monday 2 August.”

it is therefore a fact that the restoration works commenced in July 2021 and the applicant was in breach of the conditions associated with 15/0016M and 15/0064M.

So Mr Evans is correct when he says that the applicant acted unlawfully (illegally).

I have had my own conversation with Mr. Evans and other members of SCPS, so I can confirm that SCPS is more than just Mr. Evans.

There are numerous planning applications relating to “the common” where it can be demonstrated that CEC and its predecessors did not follow due legal process. (The opinions of legal professionals not mine). As such CEC is liable to a claim for negligence and the awarding of damages.

There has been documented ground shrinkage at a number of properties adjoining the edge of “the common” and I understand that properties are demonstrating signs of subsidence.

Application 20/5271M was a variation of Condition 2 of 15/0016M. This means it is a completely new scheme! According to the CEC planning portal, no decision has been made on 20/5271M.

The article states that “The restoration phase of work is due to begin at Lindow Moss on Monday, 7th February.” So if it did and the conditions had not already been discharged before that date then once again the applicant has acted unlawfully (illegally), and CEC has so far failed to issue an enforcement notice.

On reading the article I issued a freedom of information request to CEC on 6th February asking for a copy of all of the pre-commencement documents required to meet the conditions associated with 15/0016M. I have received an acknowledgment and the due date for the release of the information is 7th March 2022. Only then will we know if the conditions have been met, or if the applicant is again acting unlawfully (illegally).

I think you and your ROW / Independent colleagues are good councilors and far better than what we had before ROW existed.

I just hope for your sake that the officers have fulfilled their duties correctly and that you won’t be faced with having to issue a retraction and apology.

Anthony Evans
Sunday 13th February 2022 at 9:11 am
Thank you Stuart Redgard for defending SCPS. Perhaps someone should tell Councillor Goldsmith you don’t shoot the messenger.
To keep this response short we will ignore the drivel and stick to the facts.
Member Joel Millet, owner of Newgate Kennels and employer of 42 local staff, and members Julie Browning and Peter Smith, owners of The White House, Rotherwood Road, plus other members, agreed more information was needed as to why both properties were suffering from severe subsidence. (The kennels are situated on the north eastern boundary and The White House on the south eastern boundary). Readers may also have noticed that Rotherwood Road, which connects both properties, is suffering badly with oak and birch trees listing and falling at regular intervals).
The services of The Environmental Consultancy of the University of Sheffield were asked to provide hydrogeological reports, which they started but then suggested we take the problem to Enzygo Ltd., who completed it. A copy of this report was sent to CEC and given to Transition Wilmslow. They in turn asked Enzygo to produce a separate report which Enzygo did. CEC and Croghan have ignored these reports which is why we can safely say the proposed ‘restoration’ scheme is flawed and could possibly cause more harm to surrounding properties (Bowden Homes please note). Perhaps Transition Wilmslow would care to comment.
What would help is if CEC or Croghan Peat could tell us who is advising them on the hydrology.
Planning conditions
For advice on conditions we go to member Stuart Nixon. Before his retirement Stuart was a Principal Planning Inspector for HM. Government and so probably is more qualified than the entire planning department at CEC.
Again, to keep it brief, and starting with 15/0064M. This states, under condition 31, that a 5 year management scheme be submitted and approved in writing by the MPA. Upon approval it shall be implemented in full. This should be prior to commencement, and not as it seems now, to be part of the restoration conditions.
The section 106 agreement states that the housing development cannot start until the commencement of the restoration scheme, and of course, the restoration scheme cannot start until the requirements of condition 31 have been fulfilled as this is a pre-commencement condition. Thus the chronology of the scheme, in the press release above, appears fatally flawed.
Moreover, the housing permission time expires, as does the restoration permission, before the end of this month so it appears further applications will be required.
For readers with long memories this takes us back to 2003 when all the major conditions were ignored by CCC, then CEC and Croghan Peat, leaving us in the this mess again.
Tony Evans
Secretary and member
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 14th February 2022 at 10:22 am
Hi Stuart

People regularly apply for planning approval they never enact. Therefore, they are not bound by any conditions they contain until the building work actually starts.

In this case, the planning conditions you refer to are ONLY effective when Croghan Peat Ltd formally states to Cheshire East that the restoration and building process has begun. This formal notification has been delayed by a week or two while the final complexities are agreed. Therefore, Jeff Clarke's statement above is a little premature. The public have been notified a bit too soon about this work but the intention is clearly to be as transparent as possible about the restoration.

Croghan Peat Ltd have mining and general rights for activities on their land. As you point out, when they exceeded these rights last summer, Cheshire East asked them to stop work and they did. However, Enforcement Officers are not camped there watching for things to happen and can only stop work after it has started.

Nor can we force them not to start work and nor is it illegal for them to start too soon. It's a popular misconception that it is unlawful to start building without planning permission but this is not the case. There is no law that makes it illegal. Perversely, Cheshire East can even be sued for inappropriately closing down a building site that DOES NOT have planning permission. Bizarre but true. Site closures have to be evidence based and proportionate. Even once work is stopped, the only punishment is if permission is subsequently refused and the applicant forced to reverse the work at their cost. However, that's a slow and expensive legal process but it's all that Parliament will let us do. It's not a conspiracy between Cheshire East and Croghan Peat as SCPS will have you believe though.

I am pleased to hear there are other members of SCPS and hope they are now aware of how Mr Evans represents them. I would still like to know how SCPS wants to restore the area and secure its future. Unfortunately, Mr Evans has only ever wanted to discuss what happened there decades ago as his latest comments about 2003 (19 years ago now) shows.

SCPS also claims not to know about the restoration process nor who conducted the hydrology. However, the planning portal has a 50 page report on the restoration process plus many additional appendices. The details of the hydrologist used are there too. I have not seen SCPS hydrology report as Mr Evans refused to give it to me and they have not highlighted how the two differ either.

However, such reports do not give SCPS any legal rights to control the restoration work. It is like saying you and your architect demand to approve and oversee the building of your neighbours house extension. Sorry, it is just not legally possible. Despite repeatedly explaining this to Mr Evans, he continually makes claims that SCPS exclusion equates to a sinister cover-up. It's not. It's the same legal principle that every other planning applicant and every other planning objector in the country gets with their local council.

Instead, to make the restoration as transparent as possible, the planning conditions (once activated) sets up a Liaison Group of all the interested third parties such as SCPS. The restoration work is being conducted in small stages over 3 years, so there is ample opportunity to discuss how any negative consequences can be avoided. It is up to SCPS to decide if they engage in this group or not.

I know Transmission Wilmslow are only focused on the Liaison Group being formed and have the eminent Professor John Handley OBE advising them, who is widely considered an expert in environmental restoration.

Therefore, the Saltersley Moss restoration will have plenty of truly independent experts to scrutinise the work and alert both the public and Planning Officers if needs be. However, it won't rely on a local group who I have found extremely difficult to deal with, who never says what they actually want to happen to the Moss and who seems intent on deliberately misleading and alarming the public.
Anthony Evans
Monday 14th February 2022 at 11:48 am
Life’s too short to reply to all that! And I haven’t referred to our members to ask their opinion.
Incidentally, Peter Smith of The White House is still waiting for you to turn up to inspect the damage to his property. The invitation was made and accepted some two years ago.
Stuart Redgard
Monday 14th February 2022 at 9:40 pm
Hello Mark

By your use of the term "building work”, it appears that you do not appreciate the difference between:

1) Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which covers “land use.”
2) The Building Act 1984, which covers “building work.”

In the UK all acts of parliament are on the Statute Book and as such are classed as law.
Any breach of them is, therefore “unlawful”

Planning approval is issued by the Local Authority pursuance of its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act.

The CEC planning decision notice contained the following statement:
“ The Council hereby GRANTS planning permission for the above development in accordance with the application and accompanying plans submitted by you subject to compliance with the conditions specified.”

The following are extracts from
If the applicant does not comply with the conditions then they are in breach of the Controls defined in the act.
A breach of planning control is defined in section 171A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as:
• the carrying out of development without the required planning permission; or
• failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted.

Any contravention of the conditions constitutes a breach of planning control against which enforcement action may be taken.
Local planning authorities have responsibility for taking whatever enforcement action may be necessary.

There is a range of ways of tackling alleged breaches of planning control, and local planning authorities should act in a proportionate way.

A planning enforcement order enables an authority to take action in relation to an apparent breach of planning control.

A planning contravention notice may only be served when it appears to the local planning authority that a breach of planning control may have occurred and they want to find out more information before deciding what if any enforcement action to take.

A stop notice can prohibit any or all of the activities which comprise the alleged breach(es) of planning control specified in the related enforcement notice.

A stop notice cannot be served independently of an enforcement notice.


So it would appear that a Stop Notice was issued in July 2021 under cover of an enforcement notice.

I hope this clarifies why the applicant has already acted unlawfully.
Anthony Evans
Tuesday 15th February 2022 at 8:35 am
To make sure we are all singing from the same sheet, I have forwarded a copy of the hydrology report to David Malcolm of Cheshire East, Councillor Mark Goldsmith and Stuart Redgard.
This is what we have based our objections on when we say the ‘restoration’ could cause further damage to surrounding buildings (it’s not scaremongering Councillor Goldsmith). A further report was prepared for Transition Wilmslow, would they care to comment?