Updated: Decision due on revised plans for redevelopment of derelict hotel

Revised plans to demolish the County Hotel, which has remained vacant since its closure in November 2009, and redevelop the site are scheduled to be determined by the Northern Planning Committee next week.

Hall & Co Property are seeking planning permission for the demolition of the existing hotel building and erection of two residential blocks, with one block consisting of 22 apartments and the other of 4 townhouses, together with basement and above ground car parking.

The four townhouses would each contain 4 bedrooms and the apartments would consist of 5 one bedroom apartments, 15 two bedroom apartments and 2 three bedroom apartments.

Changes from an earlier scheme include: reduced height of the buildings; reduced floorspace; setting back of the townhouse block; relocation of the bin stores away from the front of the buildings and the creation of a pedestrian refuge on Alderley Road.

The developer has previously sought permission to demolish the existing three storey building and erect three residential blocks containing 26 two bedroom apartments at the Harden Park site, which lies within within the North Cheshire Green Belt. This application was withdrawn in September 2018 following viability issues which would have reduced or removed any ability to contribute to affordable housing, public open space or sport and outdoor recreation funding.

The Planning Officer is recommending the revised scheme for approval, subject to conditions and a s106 agreement, on the grounds that very special circumstances outweigh the impact upon the openness of the Green Belt.

In summary the Planning Officer states "The site comprises previously developed land in a sustainable location, with access to a range of local services and facilities nearby and has good public transport links. It would add to the stock of housing and its construction and occupation would result in social and economic benefits, albeit relatively minor.

"The development would make effective use of a previously developed site and would also result in the removal of the existing unsociable use of the hotel and pub, given the proximity of existing residential properties. The development would improve the appearance of the site which has been vacant for many years, and has fallen into disrepair. The proposed development is considered to have a materially greater impact upon the openness of the Green Belt, however very special circumstances are considered to exist which clearly outweigh the harm. The proposal also raises no significant design, amenity or highway safety issues.

Roy Hall, Chairman of Hall & Co Property said "I am delighted to see that my Family Company, after extensive negotiations and enormous effort from our Architects and Planning Team, have now agreed a positive way forward with this site. As a long term resident of Alderley Edge, for far too many years the site has been an eyesore and indeed an embarrassment to the Village and I am very pleased that this now looks likely to change very soon.

"I do note that the Contributions have been agreed as per the Planning Recommendation of £203,000 that will be spent locally including the sensible request of Councillor Brown to provide a Pedestrian refuge, and a further £362,000 will be contributed to Affordable Housing in Cheshire East.

"Finally, given that this site was for many years residential, it seems appropriate given the density for Food & Drink offerings in the village that the property be returned to a more appropriate use given its setting in the Parklands."

CGIs: View from entrance from Harden Park, view towards main entrance, view towards townhouses.

The plans can now been viewed on Cheshire East Council's planning portal by searching for planning reference 18/4867M.

County Hotel, Planning Applications


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

Duncan Herald
Tuesday 5th February 2019 at 10:37 pm
No affordable housing; its understandabls I guess BUT there is Section 106 money being paid by the developer.
In the past, the S106 money went to the Local Authority and the L.A. decided where that money would be spent e.g. S106 money from a development in Alderley Edge spent in Crewe.
However as I understand it, the rules regarding S106 money have changed so now it has to be spent (if it is spent) in the local area where the development took place.
So can anyone tell us:
1. Am I correct about the S106 money ?
2, Will the S106 money from the development of the County Hotel site be spent in
Wilmslow/Alderley Edge?
3. What amount of S106 money is involved from this development?
4. Who gets to receive the money?
5. Who decides where and on what works will the S106 money be spent (if it is spent)?
David Hadfield
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 10:00 am
Well Done Duncan Herald ……. I fully support you with these incisive questions.
Craig Browne
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 10:44 am
Hi Duncan,

Thanks for your questions. As I sit as a member of Northern Planning Committee, you'll appreciate I'm sure why I am unable to comment on the specific details of this application until after the meeting next Wednesday. In more general terms, however, S106 contributions are made by developers towards affordable housing (where there is no on-site provision), as well as towards public open space (e.g. the park), recreational open space (e.g. sports facilities) and sometimes towards highways infrastructure (e.g. a pedestrian crossing). S106 funds are secured as a condition on any relevant planning application and form the basis of a legal agreement between Cheshire East Council and the developer.

It is still the case that S106 funds towards affordable housing (sometimes described as a "commuted sum") may be spent in any part of the Borough, whereas S106 funds for public open space, recreational open space or highways infrastructure have to be spent locally, in line with the terms of the legal agreement. These legal agreements are drawn up following consultation with the relevant Heads of Service (e.g. Parks & Play Areas) and there is also some opportunity for the local Ward Councillor to make recommendations. Once received, the funds are effectively held in trust (with interest accruing) by CEC until a suitable project comes forward; this is how the revamp to the children's play area in the park was funded.

Should the application on the County Hotel site be approved at next week's meeting, I will return to some of your more specific queries following that decision.

Kind regards,
Jon Williams
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 12:28 pm
"with one block consisting of 22 apartments and the other of 4 townhouses"

Over development of the site and only one road serving the other housing development leading onto a busy road, but I suppose C E will give it the go ahead.
Maybe if the 4 townhouse were "Affordable Housing" and rented it would not be so bad
David Hadfield
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 2:17 pm
Excellent explanation and summary from Craig Browne ……. Thank you Craig.
Duncan Herald
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 9:04 pm
A small supplementary question.
Is there a suggestion that any of the S106 monies could be used re. costs of building a skate-board facility in the A.E. park?
Fiona Doorbar
Wednesday 6th February 2019 at 9:51 pm
Is that plan still in the pipeline (skateboard facility) as all has gone quiet?It would be great , if it is still planned, to get it in place in next couple of months ...just as the days draw out and the weather perks up!
Glenn Hudson
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 2:46 pm
Not sure what the fascination is for a skateboard park? Hopefully those in support will make themselves available to tidy it up and remove the graffiti once a month. Large lumps of concrete dropped into formerly nice parks never ends well....as Piccadilly ‘gardens’ will attest.
George Marshall
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 4:55 pm
Gotta say, from the visuals, the quality of design is astounding! Great to see inspiration from Victorian & haussmann architecture mixed with modern materials. It's clear real effort was put into designing this, so it should be replacing the county hotel!

About time something with real character & boldness was built here!
Rob Atkinson
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 9:24 pm
Architect's simulated pictures are usually better than the reality. I am in favour of doing something with the site. The pictures look like an 80s office regional headquarters to me - architecturally the seemingly vertical former lead-clad bit that leads to a flat roof. The obvious reason for a flat roof is not aesthetic, but to lower the height of the development whilst maximising the usable floor space to maximise profit. Please don't be naive - developers aren't. On what level does it fit in with local or regional style or even an import attractive style from elsewhere, even if nouveau. I am not expecting miracles, but.... I agree with Glenn but disagree with George.
Jon Williams
Thursday 7th February 2019 at 10:16 pm
Looks a bit like the MI6 building in London.
Duncan Herald
Friday 8th February 2019 at 3:30 pm
Hi Craig,
1. Re, your second paragraph above; how local is 'spent locally', in this instance?
2. I am given to understand that some Authorities have a large amount of S106 monies
unspent. Are you able to tell us if Cheshire East is one such and if so how much money
thay are currently holding?
3. Will you advocate spending the S106 money on affordable housing?
4. Can you update us as to the likely cost of a skate-board facility in the park ?
Glen: to be clear, I am not advocating a skate-board facility in the park. I introduced the
question here as some people do so advocate.
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 19th February 2019 at 8:15 pm
2 words spring to mind.....hideous and tasteless
Mike Green
Saturday 4th May 2019 at 6:52 pm
Why no affordable housing Roy