Final week to comment on Dobbies planning application


The closing date for comments on the planning application for Dobbies in Nether Alderley is 11th November. The team leading the objections have entered a final phase of campaigning.

Window posters are available from Fruitcake, The Alderley Cheese Wedge and Threshers in Alderley Edge. Please pick up a small poster and display it this week in your window. Car Stickers are also available in limited supply. A leaflet drop is taking place over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in Alderley and Wilmslow. It would help us monitor the success of this drop if you could let us know with a comment on this site when you recieve your leaflet. We just need to know which roads or streets have received their delivery.

Please take the time to submit an objection. If you haven't already done so you can download a template letter which might make it easier. Email your individual letters to: [email protected]. Make sure you email letters separately from every member of the household (changing name in heading and name at end of letter).

It is extremely important to quote 'Application No. 09/3109M' as the 'subject' title on any email and a brief explanation that an objection letter is attached as a 'word' file. Last day for sending out is 11th November. Please email friends neighbours etc with this information to register by email their objections too. Or alternatively get them to individually write in to address shown on the attached letter. In this case, because of the postal strike, I am told they will take into consideration letters received before the Planning Strategic Planning Board meeting earmarked for 2nd December.

Thanks for all the support.

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


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

Rodney Hamer
Thursday 5th November 2009 at 9:37 am
The attached letter from a supporter of our Stop Dobbies Campaign, says it all !!

This proposal amounts to inappropriate development in the green belt. The question that must be addressed by Cheshire East Planning Authority is, in the terms of national guidance on Green Belt, PPG2, and indeed in the terms of the Macclesfield Local Plan (policy GC1) , whether the Applicant has demonstrated very special circumstances. It is very instructive that in none of the literature that has been produced by or on behalf of Dobbies has this fundamental test ever been mentioned. Indeed it is conspicuous by its absence .This is particularly of note given the pains Dobbies appear to go to in saying that their proposal has environmental merits.

Matthews obtained their planning permission on the basis that it was a replacement permission for an existing local business and that the emphasis of the business was to be on landscape contracting rather than normal garden centre use. The site which was permitted had an area of about 6 acres with car parking for 65 cars ( with a modest overflow of about 35 spaces). The proposed buildings extended to only about 1650 sq m. The application itself made much of Matthews downsizing its business by some 50%, openly acknowledged that the proposal was inappropriate in the green belt, but asked that the ‘unique and exceptional circumstances of the need to relocate an existing business’ be regarded as very special circumstances.

In contrast, the current proposal is massively different to the Matthews permission in terms of design, scale, visibility, general impact, light pollution, noise , traffic generation and just about any other comparator that might be applied. It is thus absolutely incorrect for the literature to suggest that the proposal will have less impact on the Green Belt than the existing permission. Furthermore there is no reason as hitherto for this proposal to be where it is.

There are adequate garden centres in the surrounding urban areas, and there is no need for this development. Even if it could be shown that there is a need for a new garden centre in this area, then Dobbies should find an existing brown field site in the urban area for redevelopment. Indeed those urban areas will represent the catchment area for the vast the majority of its customer base.

Response to the points in the most recent brochure:

1. Proposals too big
A reduction in building size by 30% is still much larger than the existing permission.

2. Visibility
By definition this proposal will have high visibility and will represent the introduction of an urban use on the west side of the A34 which is currently rural. External lighting will patently be highly visible.

3. Ecology
It is undeniable that the site will represent a significantly smaller area for ecology.

4. Green Belt
We refer back to the central issue it would appear that Dobbies do not consider that very special circumstances are demonstrated here otherwise they would have patently said so – they have qualified planning consultants advising them who will be fully aware of this requirement.

5. Tesco Store
We note the argument that this will be Dobbies Store and nothing else. However, if we are right that there is no need for a further garden centre, or should it close for Company or any other reason in the future, then clearly Tesco or any other developer would be able to rely on the then brown field site to obtain an alternative permission. In an urban area that would not matter –but it would have serious consequences here.

6. Ribbon Development
The relevant point to here is that if Green Belt is not to be protected from this sort of development then this will create a precedent for other development in the green belt.

7. Increased Traffic
We do not consider that a 30% reduction in the site of the scheme will reduce traffic by 25% - that is too simplistic an argument.

8. Community Benefits
Exactly the same community benefits could be obtained from urban sites – it does not need a greenfield site.

There is absolutely no intention to continue the horticultural and landscaping business of Matthews for which they were best known, merely the retail side.

This proposal goes completely against the grain of Central Government advice about sustainability.The proposal is completely private transport based and remote from any centre or other services. It is fatuous therefore to argue that this is a sustainable site – the brochure argues that the building itself will be sustainable but this does of course only tell a very small part of the story.

In conclusion the proposal is contrary to Local and National planning policy and is wholly unsustainable. It is unfortunate that the literature put forward to support the proposal is consistently misleading on several fronts. The proposal ought therefore to be refused.
Jon Williams
Thursday 5th November 2009 at 2:10 pm
The proposal ought therefore to be granted !
Whats all this about Nether Alderley being a small rural area, You let Astra build/expand to the size of a small town, come on, it's just a case of you don't want it in your back yard.
Susan Holland
Thursday 5th November 2009 at 10:40 pm
Seriously, this is really not a good time to be flippant, and discussion on this proposed development shouldn't resort to NIMBYism.

The ramifications for the whole area could be disastrous and it’s a pity that local people don’t appear to be pulling together; all the ‘Alderleys’ and beyond. This really is a time to be united; against the might of Tesco who clearly operate on a ‘divide and rule’ basis.

The above, very valid reasons for the application being rejected by Cheshire East do not need repeating. Grasping the concept of ‘ no going back’ does.......

You have until the 11th of this month to voice your objection
Stewart Dyer
Friday 6th November 2009 at 9:24 am
The argument raised by Mr Williams is the most conclusive AGAINST the proposal that has been posted to date. He apparently believes that because permission was granted for one monstrous development, that automatically means that we should allow another! You don't need a crystal ball to see where that logic would lead.....!
Susan Holland
Friday 6th November 2009 at 4:50 pm
I agree Stewart; 'two wrongs don’t make a right'

My piece above was a little longer originally and quite rightly, Lisa edited the first part (thank you for that but it doesn’t read nearly as well!). I will concede that had she left it unedited, I may have been perceived as being a little provocative but frankly, I do feel like being provocative, especially if it gets local people talking and thinking about what is happening.

This development will open the flood gates; and Mr. Williams is quite right in his assertion about ‘small towns’ - just imagine how many more will be created if the development does go ahead.

You still have until the 11th to make your objection!
Jon Williams
Friday 6th November 2009 at 8:16 pm
The trouble is, most of the people looking at this site and posting the odd reply are not your working class types and most are not unemployed, so most will not be one of the many workers that will be working at Dobbies.

The whole country is in a recession (even if people in Alderlry Edge don't know it yet), Dobbies will help the ecomony not hinder hit.
Marc Asquith
Saturday 7th November 2009 at 3:01 pm
Jon - you miss the point. Its not "Dobbies" that is the problem, it is the location. I wrote to the Chairman of the Board at Dobbies and offered my help in trying to find a suitable location within the area. Just because there is a recession on doesn't mean that we should tarmac over the green belt. There are lots of brown field sites available and also the proposed new Matthews site just a mile down the road.

This is not a "Stop Dobbies everywhere" campaign - it's a "Stop Dobbies in Nether Alderely" campaign.

Finally, just as a reminder to people. If you objected to the last planning application you still need to object to this one. The planning department will not carry the objections across from one application to the other.