Cheshire East Council has unveiled its vision for the development of a new Garden Village containing around 1,500 new homes on land to the East of the A34 in Handforth.
Members of the Strategic Planning Board are being asked to approve for consultation the draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for the Garden Village at Handforth at their meeting on Wednesday, 29th August.
The document is intended to provide the over-arching guidance for the development of the new settlement which is included in the Cheshire East Local Plan, adopted in July 2017, and in January 2017 the site was announced by the Government as one of 14 new 'Garden Villages' to be created across the UK.
Plans for the 114 hectare site, which the Council currently owns 70% of, include 1500 homes, up to 12 hectares of employment land, retail units, a pub or restaurant, health facilities, hotel, sports facilities, community centre, children's day nursery and a primary school.
Around the settlement green infrastructure is planned, including green corridors, country park style open spaces, sports pitches and allotments.
A report prepared for the Strategic Planning Board recognises that that the potential challenges of creating this new Garden Village are significant and complex.
The report states "There is extensive ground contamination requiring remediation and re-profiling; vehicle access points need upgrading and traffic capacity on the strategic highway network (A34 and A555) requires mitigation works. Natural features (trees, hedgerows and ponds) need to be retained where possible; existing public rights of way need protecting; barriers to pedestrian, cycle and bus routes connections to the local area should also be overcome; important habitats and compensatory habitats for protected species must be designed to support and enhance the biodiversity of the Site; heritage assets (Dairy House Farm and farm outbuildings) must be preserved and refurbished."
However, it goes on to state that the development of the site also brings with it a significant opportunity, "The concept of a new settlement was first mooted in response to concerns over the impact of sporadic development, disconnected from necessary infrastructure. In contrast, by concentrating development in a single location, it is possible to plan comprehensively for the community's needs. The new settlement provides the economies of scale necessary to plan properly for public transport, education and other community facilities."
The Council considers a comprehensive approach can only effectively address these constraints and challenges and is proposing two distinct stages of development. Stage 1, the Initial Site-Wide Preparation, will include site remediation and re-profiling, the creation of the main vehicular accesses from the A34, creation of the spine road through the village centre, the village high street road, laying of the main utility connections, the creation of approximately 47 hectares of green infrastructure and pathways and cycleways. Stage 2, the Built Development, will not commence until the primary works are completed.
The SPD sets out what the Council expects to see as part of any future planning applications. Once approved, the SPD will be formally adopted and will become a material consideration in determining all future planning applications.
If approved by Cabinet the draft Supplementary Planning Document will be subject to a six week consultation during which the Council will be seeking comments from members of the public, stakeholders and other interested parties.