Refusal of plans for new car dealership places 130 jobs under threat

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The future of 130 jobs are now under threat after the Strategic Planning Committee refused planning permission for a new car dealership with a showroom, workshops, and offices at Coppice Way in Handforth.

Halliwell Jones were refused planning permission for a modern car showroom adjacent to Handforth Dean retail park which would have enabled them to consolidate their sales, servicing and repair activities - securing 133 existing jobs and created approximately 36 new jobs.

Speaking at the Strategic Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, 1st August, the applicant Phillip Jones urged them to approve application saying "I promised each of you I will have constructed a building which sits well in Wilmslow and which will be of support to many families, not just in my business but also in the local community where I am very heavily involved."

Mr Jones is the MD of Halliwell Jones, a North West based company of 30 years standing which now employs over 600 people across the north west.

Speaking about the planning officers recommendation for refusal, after 10 years of searching for a new site, he said "This is despite not so long ago during discussions with us stating it was of high quality and ticked all the boxes.

He continued "The recommendation today is therefore confusing, disappointing and potentially catastrophic for my business and indeed many of his employees.

"The risk to over 130 jobs at Wilmslow, many of which could be classed as heads of family jobs, they are very highly technical. So your decision today does not just affect 130 people it affects 130 families."

Mr Jones brought with him 'official documentation' sent to him from two senior directors of BMW UK which said "is not threatening to remove my Wilmslow franchise. It is in fact an absolute letter of termination."

He continued "It's a termination of my business effective from the 30th September this year. Subsequently upon my appeal it has been deferred until June 2019 subject to being resindered only if I have in place by this time concrete and approved, local authority and BMW plans for my development."

Halliwell Jones, Planning Applications


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

David Hadfield
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 5:31 pm
Well, this is unbelievable.
So, our beloved Council and their Strategic Planning Committee would rather this important business just close down and go out of business, instead of allowing them to move to larger purpose-built premises nearby.
Halliwell Jones at the moment work from their showrooms within the Handforth Lidl car park and the second showroom by the traffic lights on the Wilmslow / Handforth road, opposite Majestic Wines.
I wonder what influenced this Committee to REFUSE planning permission ?
Susan Parker
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 6:15 pm
Reading the related article dated Friday August 3rd, I believe this is part of the reason:

"Also, the submitted ecological assessment did not consider the potential impact of the proposed development upon Great Crested Newts associated with the ponds located at Handforth Hall."

The newts are protected due to an EU directive (European Habitats Directive). They are scarce in parts of continental Europe, but quite plentiful in England.

It makes me weep.
Jon Williams
Saturday 4th August 2018 at 7:57 pm
Brain dead C/E
Matthew Cheetham
Sunday 5th August 2018 at 9:31 am
Houses can be built on green belt despite the infrastructure being inadequate but supporting a local business to keep jobs is not approved by the council.

Whoever is not supporting this planning application should be ashamed of themselves.
Roy West
Sunday 5th August 2018 at 2:01 pm
Once again I find that the "Planning Officer's" view of sensible applications is not only unbelievable but against the majority of "Local" residents opinions and benefits. It makes me wonder if he (or she) lives outside our area and has no concern for our future. To see a long established business in danger of closure because of this decision is ludicrous!
Adrian Scott
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 4:31 pm
Typical of the Cheshire East "Holier than thou" attitude. What makes me laugh is that one very major buliding concern takes the view that: If we fail to get planning consent, we will go to appeal; and win, leaving residents council tax to pay our costs !! What an absolute shambolic shower.
Harry Martin
Tuesday 7th August 2018 at 6:11 pm
With so many businesses closing here is one providing jobs and willing to pay all the tax incurred in running such . It is puzzling how Lidl across the road had a battle then won . All this costs money . That land isn't really suitable for housing and with Ford motors up the road I am puzzled why this has been refused .BMW will provide decent jobs not just min wage insults or jobs for students .
Duncan Marr
Monday 13th August 2018 at 4:46 pm
May we please have a public list of those who opposed this application.

Most people seem to agree that CE is a total shambles and yet we won't make any progress for change until we can take appropriate action against individuals.
Pete Taylor
Monday 13th August 2018 at 7:27 pm
Listen to the recording of the application on CEC website- it was a fatally-flawed presentation; despite it being a totally sensible solution for that piece of land.
Perhaps the destruction of the coppice before even getting an environmental report was stupid in the extreme?
This is absolutely the correct place for the car dealership but the Inspector had no choice but to refuse, as all the rules were breached and corners cut.
Hopefully next time they will obey the rules and it will go through.