Decision finally due on M&S plans to expand Handforth Dean store

Plans to expand the Marks and Spencers' store at Handforth Dean Retail Park, which they jointly own with Tesco and opened in October 1995, are due to be determined by the Strategic Planning Board next week - nearly two years after the initial application was submitted.

The proposal also includes making amendments to the car park layout. The current car park provides 248 spaces with 13 accessible spaces and eleven parent and child spaces. The proposed scheme will see the number of spaces reduced to 153 with 14 accessible spaces, 6 parent and child spaces and a new drop off/pick up zone with 4 spaces.

Marks and Spencer and Tesco own two parcels on undeveloped land to the west of the Retail Park which are bounded by Coppice Way, Kiln Croft Lane and Lower Meadows Road.

Initially they were proposing to create a dedicated staff car park with 145 spaces at Site 3 (see above) but the plans were amended during the course of the application to exclude this area of land due to concerns relating to the loss of employment land - so no development of Site 3 is proposed at this time.

The application proposes a retail use on a site allocated as existing employment land (Site 1 above) and therefore conflicts with current policies which seek to retain employment land in employment use.

As part of their original submission, Marks and Spencers undertook a search for sites which included Daisy Bank Lane, Heald Green; Land South East of the Junction of Styal Road and Finney Lane, Heald Green; Metropolitan House, Cheadle Hulme; Massie Street Car Park, Cheadle; Cheshire East Leisure Centre Car Park, Wilmslow; Land at Meadway, Bramhall; Water Street, Stockport; and Barracks Mill, Macclesfield.

In a report prepared for the Strategic Planning Board on Wednesday, 28th August, the Planning Officer states "Each of these sites was dismissed, and it is accepted that none of them are available and suitable to accommodate the proposed development, either in part or in full. The applicant was subsequently asked to consider vacant sites in Macclesfield, Stockport and Wythenshawe town centres."

The Planning Officer is recommending the application for refusal by the Strategic Planning Board on Wednesday, 28th August because "a number of sites can be identified that have not been considered within the sequential assessment. These sites may be sequentially preferable to the application site and therefore it cannot currently be concluded that the application complies with the sequential approach required by policy EG5 of the CELPS."

This application has been held in abeyance by officers whilst the outcome of three planning applications and one appeal on sites at Earl Road in Handforth, which were called in by the Secretary of State, was awaited.

The decisions for these applications have since been issued:

15/0400M - Orbit Developments have been granted planning permission, following an appeal, to demolish the existing warehouses at the junction of Earl Road and Epsom Avenue and replace them with a parade of six units and a standalone unit.

16/3284M - CPG Development Projects were granted permission for an extension to the Next store. The proposal includes the demolition of the existing conservatory and garden centre so that two independent retail units can be built.

16/0802M - CPG Development Projects have been refused permission for the erection of four restaurants and three drive-thru restaurant/café's along with associated car parking.

16/0138M - CPG Development Projects have also been refused permission for the construction of 23,076 square metres of class A1 retail floorspace and 2,274 square metres of class A3/A5 floorspace along with associated car parking.

A total of 8355sqm of retail floorspace at Handforth Dean has been approved as a result of these decisions (6,035sqm under application 15/0400M and 2,320sqm under application 16/3284M).

Marks and Spencers, Planning Applications