'Stop Dobbies' protestors make their presence felt!


Green Belt campaigner, Rodney Hamer and fellow objectors continued the battle this week to prevent the Dobbies development on green belt land in Nether Alderley; along the new southern section of the A34 bypass.

The Dobbies ‘Public Consultation’ took place at the Parish Hall in Nether Alderley on Wednesday and the Cricket Club in Alderley Edge on Thursday. The campaigners made their presence felt at both events with their ‘Save our Greenbelt /Stop Dobbies’ banners and posters.Their main objective was to get people to sign up to the petition they are creating: ‘Save our Green Belt Land’.

Many enthusiastic, like minded supporters attended both meetings and the overriding feeling of both those entering and leaving the exhibition was one of shock and horror that such a massive development could even be considered and as importantly; proposed within the much treasured green belt around Alderley Edge.

Many local people were only too happy to sign up to Rodney’s campaign given what they had seen within the exhibition. People with knowledge of the local area and the Matthews original, special planning consent were surprised and appalled that such a permission, given specifically to a small, longstanding local business could be ‘snapped up’ by Dobbies.

Dobbies were sufficiently worried about the presence of the campaigners that they asked them to take down their banners and posters, despite both events being public meetings. Indeed, after some two hours the enthusiastic objectors were evicted from the car park of the Cricket Club on Thursday afternoon.

Not deterred in any way and despite the heavy rain, the noble campaigners turned the eviction to their advantage and were able to not only lobby those local people visiting the exhibition but also gained support from tennis players, residents of Moss Lane and passers-by.

The campaigners and many of those visiting made the following comments: “What does emerge is that this so called ‘Public Consultation’ is nothing but a cynical PR exercise. The Questionnaire was merely a ‘tick the box’ form asking rhetorical questions about peoples’ opinions on a scale of one to five. There was no opportunity to say no. Anyone merely filling in the form could be deemed to have offered some degree of support. A bit like asking turkeys before Christmas whether they would rather be shot, strangled or electrocuted!

“Certain aspects are at best misleading, at worst untrue, for instance this new proposed Garden Centre/ Superstore is shown on the marketing material as being roughly the same footprint as the old Matthews Nursery site. This is because they have coloured pink BOTH Matthews Sites, the old; plus the new”.

“Why did the PR team constantly claim that Dobbies are nothing to do with Tesco? This is simply not true”. “We have all seen what happened along the Wilmslow/Handforth section of the A34 bypass, there are huge supermarkets, department stores, car dealerships, DIY centres, leisure centres, house building on a grand scale and office blocks (still empty). Enough is enough!”. “What about local, small business; Ned Yates and other local garden centres and nurseries? We would rather patronise them than add to Tesco's massive market share yet again!”.

The aim of the campaigners is to keep the green belt undeveloped, and if the planners allow Dobbies ((Tesco/ massive/ retail/garden centre) to proceed, then it will undoubtedly be the start of ribbon development. They contend that the new bypass will have been a complete waste of time and effort and ask the question; “why should the £50M paid by taxpayers advantage Tescos yet again?”.

Everyone in the local area is urged to be aware of exactly what is proposed and the disastrous effect it will have on the rural landscape as well as the many local businesses who will suffer; this is not merely a garden centre, it is a retail outlet, Dobbies sell all kinds of food including meat and cheese, clothes, furniture, gifts, etc. Shopkeepers in Alderley Edge and Chelford will undoubtedly be adversely affected.

The campaign ’Save our Green Belt / Stop Dobbies/Tesco’ started just two weeks ago and has received a huge amount of support from local residents. The Alderley Rural Protection Organisation (ARPO) has been formed with support and guidance from NARPA (Nether Alderley Rural Protection Association), the Edge Association and the CPRE. Further support is still needed to spread the message, lobby and give out leaflets.

As importantly, donations to ARPO and their fighting fund would be very welcome. You can donate online to: ARPO A/c number 10275782 sort code 16-11-29 Contacts: website www.stopdobbies.sos-forum.net , email [email protected].

Dobbies, Garden Centres, Garden World , Garden World, Nether Alderley, Planning Applications


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

Marc Asquith
Tuesday 19th May 2009 at 6:25 am
Prior to the abolition of the County Council on 31/3/09 I served as the County Councillor for Alderley. In my 7 years as a County Councillor I drove through the County Council the construction of the AE Bypass.

The County Council commenced construction in the autumn of 2008.

The scheme under construction is the second design in recent times. The first one, rejected by the government, was for a dual carriageway. The government's view was that a dual carriageway would lead to an increase in traffic flows.

Thus, the single carriageway now under construction, providing only sufficient capacity to take the existing traffic flows away from Alderley, was the only scheme which the government would approve.

Dobbies’ plan provides for a 400 place car park at the southern end of the bypass. They anticipate that each car would stay in place for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If they trade from say 10.00am to 8.00 pm most days then that means, assuming a 75% usage of the car park, that there will be some 1500 extra cars passing through the southern junction of the bypass each day.

The bypass has not been designed to provide this capacity.

I am particularly worried about the effect on two junctions:

Firstly, the southern terminus of the bypass. If that becomes clogged, people travelling north from the M6 and Holmes Chapel will choose to use the A 535 from Chelford to AE rather than the bypass. This will completely contradict the plan to take the through traffic away from the three schools: The Ryleys, Alderley Edge Community Primary School and Alderley Edge School for Girls.

Secondly, it will run more traffic through the Monks Heath traffic lights. These lights are of the latest design and respond to the traffic flows through them, adjusting their timing to reduce queues. Nevertheless, at peak times the junction simply cannot cope and substantial queues build up in most directions. An adjacent busy garden centre will make this situation worse. Workers at the Astra Zenica site who pass through Monk's Heath will be only too aware how busy this junction gets and will no doubt be worried about a significant increase in the traffic trying to pass through it.

Many people in Alderley Edge say how nice it would be to have a garden centre in Nether Alderley without realising that it is likely to completely reverse the benefits that the long awaited bypass will confer on Alderley Edge.

That is without the precedent it will create for ribbon development along the bypass in the countyside adjacent to Alderley and any extra traffic that may bring.

Those of us who live in Alderley Edge must oppose this proposal.


Lisa Reeves
Thursday 21st May 2009 at 11:42 am
We have just been informed that the planner at Cheshire East who is dealing with any letters regarding the Dobbies proposal has changed. The person to now contact is Sue Orrell at .
Linda Booth
Thursday 21st May 2009 at 5:32 pm
We live in Alderley Edge and never supported the bypass in the first place knowing that ribbon development was inevitable as evidenced in the Handforth Dean complex.

I am an avid gardener and love to visit garden centres like Grasslands but Dobbies.... absolutely not - this is not a garden nursery but a huge commercial operator out for huge profits covering acres of natural countryside where people like to walk - absolutely not.
John Moylan
Thursday 21st May 2009 at 6:15 pm
I fully agree with the comments posted above. Although I am not able to join protests, I am more than willing to contribute to any measures which seek to defeat this proposal. As I understand it, Tesco own Dobbies. So, it would appear this is Tesco, yet again, trying to impose their will on a local community for their own financial purposes. The by-pass is to remove traffic from Alderley Edge, not to enable the vested interests to enhance their commercial interests. I truly hope enough local pressure is brought to bear on the local authority - whatever that is these days - to reject the planning application.
Marc Asquith
Thursday 21st May 2009 at 7:26 pm
I have begun to place petition sheets in the shops around the village - please sign one.

Stephen Morris
Saturday 23rd May 2009 at 11:13 am
No, no, no, no, no! It's the thin end of the wedge, or should I say Edge. It was obvious from the outset that as soon as this unnecessary bypass was given the go ahead, other planning applications would surely follow. Agree to this and there'll be no stopping the rest. What makes AE what it is is the remaining country around it. Resist and say no to Dobbies.
Kriss Coombes
Tuesday 26th May 2009 at 8:04 am
I agree that Dobbies must be stopped. The arguments for preserving greenbelt land have been well aired, and how can the "planners" justifiably refuse other applications if they allow this monstrous application to proceed. I hope that the community will give their full support to Rodney Hamer's campaign.
Martin Reeves
Monday 1st June 2009 at 10:59 am
Having spent a couple of hours on a glorious Saturday afternoon traipsing around Ned Yates, Wilmslow Garden Centre and B&Q, and still not managing to buy everything I wanted, I was left thinking, where is a Dobbies when you need one?

Having said that, Marc Asquith makes some excellent points above. The whole point of the bypass is to divert traffic away from the existing A34 and help make our beautiful village a more tranquil place to live. With the bypass only being single lane, and therefore only having sufficient capacity to take the existing traffic flows away from the village, any ribbon development such as the proposed Dobbies would render the bypass ineffective.

For that reason alone I am against the proposed Dobbies in Nether Alderley. I would however welcome Dobbies to the local area if a more suitable location could be found. Perhaps Handforth Dean is a feasible alternative as mentioned in a few of the comments in the previous Dobbies article.
Lisa Reeves
Thursday 2nd July 2009 at 9:49 am
The planning application for the Dobbies development is now in. We have a new article regarding this so for any comments please refer to http://www.alderleyedge.com/news/article/planning-application-submitted-for-garden-centre/.