Royal London has been granted outline planning permission for a new office development and over 1000 parking spaces at their current campus on Alderley Road.
The group is on track to complete its move from Wilmslow to Alderley Park during 2020, when around 1,200 members of staff will relocate from Royal London House and other buildings on the Wilmslow campus. However, the company says it remains committed to delivering its vision for a 'living campus', creating 'outstanding places to live, work and relax, easily accessible to local residents by foot, cycle and public transport' on the Alderley Road campus.
As part of the masterplan, Royal London submitted an outline planning application for up to 17,000sqm of new office development and up to 1,100 car parking spaces along with the creation of new pedestrian and cycle routes.
On recommending the outline plans for approval the Planning Officer stated "The proposed development is required to ensure a sustainable economic development locally and within Cheshire East.
"No objections have been raised by consultees in relation to technical matters, for the reasons mentioned the application is recommended for approval subject to conditions."
However, Wilmslow Town Council recommend refusal of this application. They stated "Wilmslow Town Council is concerned on a number of levels which should be addressed by any application of this scale on this site. The numbers of vehicles on the site as demonstrated by the application for 1100 additional parking bays would have a significant impact of Alderley Road and the Town Centre in terms of congestion, air pollution levels and road safety and the access to and from the site by car should be directly off the adjacent A34 to mitigate these issues.
"Wilmslow Town Council is concerned that the proposals for the entire strategic site are coming forward piecemeal and is concerned that the plans to link in to existing foul drainage provision may be satisfactory when developments are looked at in isolation but may well not be when considered as a whole.
"The recent history of flooding along Alderley Road would suggest that the Environment Agency Assessment of the flood risk requires revisiting and that the earlier point regarding sewerage capacity could be impacted by more frequent flooding events.
"With regards to the proposed cycle provision the Town Council is concerned that Harefield Drive doesn't have the capacity to accommodate the proposed two-way cycle track.
"The Town Council also noted that the permission granted over 3 years ago was granted by the Cheshire East Council's Northern Planning Committee on the basis of 'very special circumstances put forward by the applicant' and that it was 'the expectation of the Planning Committee at that time that the completed development would be occupied by Royal London'. Clearly the renewal is being requested at a time when these very special circumstances are no longer to be met."
This new application is a renewal of the previously approved outline office application (reference 16/2314M), but with smaller buildings to provide more flexible accommodation, designed to appeal to companies of varying sizes.
Vehicle access to and from the new buildings will continue to be via the existing entrance and exit junctions on Alderley Road.
The site sits to the east of the existing Royal London campus and will accommodate four separate office buildings which are envisaged as being 3 storey office buildings with roof top planting.
This part of the campus will be accessed from a new roundabout, with a new internal road running through the centre of the development from which connections into the car parks are created. Whilst new landscape features such as lakes and ponds could be located near the entry points to enhance the arrival experience at the site.
Royal London were granted planning permission in 2016 for a new office development at their Alderley Road campus. However, in October 2017 - having considered a range of options for the future - the company announced it would be moving out of Wilmslow, from their current site at Alderley Road to Alderley Park.
In March 2018, Royal London were granting planning permission for up to 60 homes on land opposite the Royal London Campus, to the west of Alderley Road, and 120 homes, along with the access roads and landscaping, on the northern part of Royal London campus.
Royal London says no construction work is expected to commence until after they have moved to Alderley Park.
The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council planning portal by searching for planning reference 19/3420M.