Cheshire East Council has just completed a six week consultation on the second part of their Local Plan, which invited people to have their say on a number of important issues including whether adjustments are required to the Green Belt boundary around Alderley Edge and where development should take place in the village.
Whilst the first part of the Cheshire East Local Plan focused on Key Service Centres the second stage, the Site Allocations and Development Policies document, looks at the 13 Local Service Centres, of which Alderley Edge is one.
Councillor Craig Browne said "As a Local Service Centre, Alderley Edge is expected to receive an allocation of around 100 new homes as part of the Site Allocations & Development Policies document. Alderley Edge Parish Council recognises this as a reasonable share of the development required through the LPS. It also notes however, the allocation of 275 new homes at nearby Alderley Park and the absence of any associated infrastructure investment for Alderley Edge, as the nearest Local Service Centre."
He added "Being surrounded by Green Belt land on all sides puts Alderley Edge in a challenging position. In order to satisfy the housing requirement, it will be necessary to either accept further infill development and plot subdivision within the settlement boundary, or to make minor adaptations to the existing green belt boundaries. The key question for us is whether infill development on a piecemeal basis is capable of delivering the significant investment that will be needed in the village's infrastructure over the next few years, or whether this is more likely to be achieved through minor adaptations to the green belt and settlement boundaries."
The consultation on the Site Allocations and Development Policies document was accompanied by a 'call for sites' so the council can gain an up-to-date picture of what land is potentially available for future development. Landowners and developers with suitable sites were asked to put them forward during the consultation process.
As part of the consultation four sites have been proposed by landowners and developers for Alderley Edge, three of which the Parish Council has confirmed it will support.
These sites are: land to the north of Beech Road, Whitehall Meadow - land opposite the former Horseshoe Farm, land adjacent to Ryleys Farm and land occupied by Hole Farm, which is adjacent to the Alderley Edge bypass.
Councillor Browne said "The Parish Council had been made aware that representations would be made by various landowners and developers as part of that process and we felt it was appropriate to make our own representation as well.
"We have considered each proposal and our comments in relation to each are guided by the feedback we have received from residents following the recent Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire."
Below are the Parish Council's response to each of the four sites proposed for development.
The proposals, from Val Sims and her two brothers Alan and Dudley Wain who own approximately 150 acres of land east of the A34 bypass, include a mixture of bungalows, semi-detached and detached houses of two, three, four and five bedrooms, with a minimum of 30% to be affordable dwellings.
The proposal is for 100 homes but the Parish Council has gone back and said that the total allocation for Alderley Edge is 100 homes and they don't want these all to be on one site.
The Parish Council's view is "Both bungalows and affordable dwellings are in short supply in Alderley Edge. Further, a number of "community benefits" are proposed, including cycle/walking routes to Wilmslow, encouraging healthy lifestyles and reduced reliance on car journeys; a new allotment site which would allow for either of partial or full relocation from Heyes Lane, including a club house and recycling point for green allotment waste; and an extension to the Beech Road play area, with addition of a skatepark.
"Whilst there are potential drainage issues that would need to be addressed, it is the most environmentally sustainable of the sites proposed. The Parish Council therefore support in principle a development of 50 new dwellings at this site, subject to an S106 contribution towards a car park at Heyes Lane Allotments."
The new allotment site would be approximately 1.35 acres and provide 21 plots, enabling them to relocate some, or all, of the plots from Heyes Lane. Between the new allotments and the existing Beach Road allotment site there would be a community area with 6 parking spaces for allotment holders, a recycling point for green waste and a clubhouse which could be used by the Allotment Society.
The scheme also includes extending Beech Road playground by 0.63 acres and giving the existing play area a makeover along with a skate park.
The area behind the development, which has a problem with flooding, would be drained and a feature lake would be created with cycle paths running alongside it and adjacent to the A34 bypass which would end at the roundabout near Wilmslow High School where an underpass or bridge would be created to link up with the school.
Craig Browne said "The majority of the site is Green Belt but from an environmentally and sustainability point of view I think it has got a lot going for it.
"Of the four this is probably our most preferred option but we don't want all the houses on one site and it doesn't offer a car park for obvious reasons as it is too far away."
Whitehall Meadow (off Wilmslow Road)
David Wilson have put forward plans for a residential development of about 90 homes on the field off Wilmslow Road which is located behind Brookview Care Home and opposite the former Horseshoe Farm.
The proposal is a blank canvas in terms of the style, size and mix of dwellings; however, the provision of a new 50-space car park is proposed at the southeast corner of the site (adjacent to the footpath on Wilmslow Road) which would help to meet the village's current and future all-day parking requirements and which would be gifted to the Parish Council on completion, thereby providing a long-term economic benefit to the community.
The Parish Council's response is "In particular, a car park at this location would help alleviate pressure on Brook Lane and Lynton Lane. The Parish Council consider this to be a less environmentally sustainable development than Beech Road, but this is balanced against the fact that vehicles leaving the site could travel north to Wilmslow and beyond without having to enter Alderley Edge village.
"We are of the view that if this development went ahead, there would need to be a Section 278 agreement to construct a roundabout on Wilmslow Road to facilitate vehicular egress from the site. With this in mind, we could support in principle, a development of 50 new homes at this location."
Councillor Craig Browne said "Our allocation is expected to be about 100 new homes so we would be prepared to consider 50 on this site. We haven't discussed the details of the housing but have said that we need to see a car park because the thing the Beech Road does not provide is a car park and David Wilson have agreed to, irrespective of how many houses they build, provide 50 car parking spaces on the south east corner of the site.
"A lot of people have said this is too far out of the village but this would be a long stay car park and when you think of the proximity to Alderley Edge School for Girls and the station this would provide a good alternative to the on-street car parking that happens at the moment and they would give the car park to the Parish Council so we would have a long term revenue stream from it."
He added "We are also going to insist on a Section 278 agreement for a roundabout on Wilmslow Road, which is like a Section 106 agreement but with a 278 agreement the applicant does the work. The roundabout would be on Wilmslow Road itself (at the entrance to the development - opposite Horseshoe Farm), which would act as a good traffic calming measure as well."
Hole Farm (off the Alderley Edge bypass - pictured above)
Engine of the North, a Cheshire East owned company which is responsible for bringing the council's strategic land assets to the market, is proposing to build 10 semis and two bungalows at the site of the derelict dark brick building located adjacent to the Alderley Edge Bypass. All of which would be affordable housing.
Councillor Craig Browne said "We are in support of this in principle, it is in the Green Belt but it is effectively a brownfield site, previously developed land, and providing affordable housing."
He added "I will be asking for a Section 106 agreement for a traffic regulation order on Brook Lane, which I had drawn up last year but there was no money for. This is for no parking between 10am and 2pm to stop all day parking and force them to use the new car park but with a short stay pick up and drop off area for the school.
"Again I had this drawn up last year but it was not implementable until we have got somewhere for the cars to go to but if the Whitehall Meadow goes through then we will have a car park for them to use."
In June 2016 Story Homes brought their proposals to build a development of up to 300 homes on Green Belt land to the south west of Alderley Edge to a public consultation event at the Festival Hall.
Story Homes, who have been appointed to represent the group of landowners, are proposing to build 300 new homes at Ryleys Farm, either side of Chelford Road, which is split into three parcels of 100 dwellings. These homes would be surrounded by 35 acres of safeguarded land, which is land safeguarded for development after 2030.
The scheme includes building a new primary school on the left hand side as you head out of the village on Chelford Road, along with public sports facilities which would be shared with the primary school. They are also proposing to create a drop off area, turning circle and sports pitch for The Ryleys school and a nature area between Wilton Crescent and the bypass.
Additionally a care home and allotments would be located at the back of the housing development and a new roundabout would be built on Chelford Road which would take the large lorries to the tomato farm via the back of the site.
Story Homes are also offering to provide a S106 contribution once everything is finalised for a decked car park at the existing car park on Ryleys Lane.
Councillor Craig Browne said "Whilst the proposals include some community benefits, the Parish Council remain strongly opposed to this proposal on the grounds that it represents an excessive level of development for a Local Service Centre; would have a major detrimental effect on the green belt; would heavily increase congestion in the village centre; exert further pressure on parking infrastructure, which is already at breaking point; is environmentally unsustainable; is unnecessary development, as the need for additional housing can be met through the other sites proposed, at minimal impact to the Green Belt."
The Parish Council has given their feedback to Cheshire East Council so this will now be followed up with discussions between Councillor Craig Browne, Adrian Fisher (Strategic Planning & Housing Manager at CEC) and the developers or landowners to see if an agreement can be reached.
Councillor Craig Browne added "As far as we know that is it (in terms of proposed development sites) but we feel that by working constructively in particular with the Beech Road and Whitehall Meadow sites we can fight this more effectively.
"The danger in not identifying any sites is that Cheshire East Council will identify the sites for us and they could identify this site (Story Homes proposal) whip would completely change the identity of Alderley Edge forever."
Councillor Craig Browne will be hoding his next monthly Community Surgery at Aldeli from 10am on Saturday 29th April where he will have hard copies of the proposals for the land off Beech Road, Whitehall Meadow and Ryleys Farm, if anyone would like to have a look at them.
What do you think about the four proposals? Which would be your preferred location for the 100 new homes Alderley Edge is required to provide by 2030? Share your views via the comment box below.