Rector objects to football pitch plans over concerns about shouting and loud swearing

A local rector has objected to plans for a new football pitch at Alderley Park in Nether Alderley due to concerns that it would result in whistle-blowing, crowd shouting and loud swearing.

Alderley Park Ltd have applied for planning permission to build a full size football pitch on land to the northwest of Mereside car park, which is currently grassland bound by trees and hedgerows.

The scheme includes an 11-a-side senior football pitch and single storey pavilion building with changing, toilet and shower facilities, storage areas, a kitchen and an education room which would be available to the community.

The site falls within the North Cheshire Green Belt the Site and is located adjacent to the Alderley Edge Conservation Area. To the northwest of the site there is a number of listed buildings, the nearest being the Grade II Listed Eagle and Child Cottage, and St.Mary's Church, which lies approximately 200 metres to the northwest.

The Rector of St.Mary's Church has objected to the planning application stating it will have an adverse impact in the church due to the noise from football matches and training sessions which "can be disturbing and distressing".

In his letter of objection Rev'd Jon Hale wrote "These are sounds of whistle-blowing, crowd shouting and individual people shouting, often in a state of heightened emotion which can cause loud swearing.

"Despite the presence of trees and vegetation, the sounds from the proposed football pitch would carry, and particularly so in the winter – which is the football season - when the trees have shed their leaves."

He also raised concerns regarding an intrusion on openness of the green belt site when viewed from Ladies Lane and Congleton Road.

Kath Mackay, Managing Director, Bruntwood SciTech - Alderley Park said "The Alderley Park masterplan is about creating a total place to work, live, and relax for the science and tech businesses based at the Park, residents and the local community.

"The proposed sports pitch will create a valuable new amenity for the benefit of the local community and schools. Once built, the changing pavilion will also have an education room which can be used for a variety of activities such as after school clubs and holiday camps, providing much needed space for the community and younger generations to come together."

A hybrid planning application (ref: 15/5401M) was approved in June 2016 for the redevelopment of the wider Alderley Park estate, this included the redevelopment of specialist laboratory, office and ancillary floorspace, residential dwellings, a mixed- use local centre, sports facilities, community uses, car parking and associated open space.

The application site for the new football pitch falls outside the site boundary of the previous hybrid application and has not previously been subject to any form of development.

Plans for the football pitch at Alderley Park can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council planning portal by searching for planning reference 21/0630M.

Alderley Park


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

Alastair Wolff
Tuesday 16th March 2021 at 2:53 pm
This is a totally inappropriate development, on green belt land, and immediately adjacent to the Nether Alderley Conservation Area. I agree wholeheartedly with the concerns raised by Reverend Hale, and if the development is granted planning permission, it will be a carbuncle on the local landscape, and it will irreparably damage the character and beauty of this rural corner of Cheshire.
I stand to be corrected, but I believe Alderley Park already had a perfectly good football pitch and pavilion building, but they decided to build a lot of expensive houses on this land. So, it is highly duplicitous of them now to pretend that this development is part of their so-called masterplan. They are simply trying to play every trick in the book, to maximise their profits, and to increase the amount of development they can squeeze into the site.
Since Alderley Park took over the Astra Zeneca site, the amount of traffic on Congleton Road has increased massively, as has the amount of rubbish being thrown from cars that are visiting Alderley Park. If this development goes ahead, I am certain that most users of the facility will be travelling by car, and it will draw people in from all over Stockport and Manchester.
I don’t believe the existing football pitch at Alderley Park has been built on yet, so perhaps someone from Alderley Park can explain why they want to destroy more of the green belt, if it is not simply a clever way of squeezing more houses onto their site.
This is a beautiful field in an idyllic setting, part of the Cheshire green built, and I call open Cheshire East Council to do everything they can to protect this part of the Alderley Park site from development.
Simon Carden
Tuesday 16th March 2021 at 4:14 pm
Not withstanding previous comments - if it all gets approval , can special attention be paid to the enhanced run off of surface water from the site . I suspect it will be directed to the local natural water course . This has proved over the past three years to be stretched in capacity ,and with two further pinch points further along means that the area to Welsh Row is severely flooded with properties threatened .This development could be the straw to break the camels back .
Brian Trafford
Wednesday 17th March 2021 at 7:55 am
The rector is not alone with his objection to this proposal, my wife and I live in a terrace house opposite the mill and close by St. Mary’s.
This small cluster of historic grade II buildings are opposite the proposed development.
That word ‘development’ is the key word for the countryside within Alderley Park and the adjoining countryside, this will not end , bit by bit the specialist planning consultants will grind the council down till they eventually give up.
Originally, to help the sale of Astra Zeneca’s green belt site, the developers were allowed to build 200 houses, which, within a month or so, was increased to 300 and more. The development was restricted to the southern end, were the increase in traffic would be directed to the exit close to the new Nether Alderley and Alderley Edge by-pass.
Any further development of any part of this site will not only ruin this wonderful countryside, but it will encourage traffic to use the northern access. The bypass reduced the traffic considerably through both villages; traffic is now increasing again quickly as the old Congleton road is treated as a rat run to the main A34 Handforth by-pass. A football ground approval would destroy any hope of villages believing the council actual represent them.
All the residence of this section of Congleton Road into Alderley Edge, should take note this is the thin edge of the wedge.
Brian & Fauzia Trafford, Millbrook Cottage, Congleton Road. Nether Alderley
William Harris
Thursday 18th March 2021 at 1:51 pm
Given the scale of the Alderley Pak site a request to build a potentially noisy and busy football / sports pitch at this proposed location must be entirely inappropriate. I certainly wouldn't relish the prospect of visiting my family's final resting place to the sound of cheering sports fans.
Would this not be better served (parking access etc) located next to one of the existing office / laboratory buildings on the site?
David Brierley
Sunday 21st March 2021 at 1:24 pm
I am in total agreement with the concerns already expressed by the rector and others, with the proposed siting of a football/sports ground and associated buildings, in such an unnecessary and sensitive position.
The close proximity to some of the most historic listed buildings in Nether Alderley, as well as the church, must make this proposed siting totally unacceptable to the majority of residents, attendees to the church and churchyard, and indeed anyone of the many regular visitors who enjoy walking this beautiful and unspoilt part of the village?
The comments from the developers regarding the need, and previous proposals for sports ground facilities within the boundaries of Alderley Park are not disputed.
With so many possible alternative sitings for this sports ground, in such a large available area, then surely a more appropriate and less intrusive place can be found?
Duncan Herald
Monday 22nd March 2021 at 10:05 am
Make it a rugby pitch; much more gentlemanly.
Joel Chadwick
Monday 22nd March 2021 at 4:28 pm
There is potentially a perfectly good football pitch and changing rooms in alderley edge on chorley lane which is in a poor state,if alderley park genuinely want to help benefit the community rather than themsleves why not join forces with the council and turn it into a suitable facility proably at the fraction of the cost. Regrettably , i fear alderley park are only interested in self promotion , the huge increase in footfall across the woodland areas surrounding alderley park are steadily being turned from a pristine habitat to more a municipal park - some visitors seem to have little regard for the local flora fauna and trample wherever they like , AP would be better focusing on managing better the wonderful "estate" they have inherited rather than yet more unwanted development !
Duncan Herald
Tuesday 23rd March 2021 at 1:57 pm
Good idea.
I think the pitches on Chorley Hall Lane are owned by Cheshire East. Are they still used for team sport? Would Cheshire East pay for up-dating; if they are the owners.
Joel Chadwick
Tuesday 23rd March 2021 at 6:42 pm
Yes the Chorley hall pitch is owned by the council but it’s underused as it’s
Not very well maintained , it wouldn’t take too much to turn it into a much better facility although I think parking is one of the concerns
Alan Brough
Tuesday 23rd March 2021 at 8:41 pm
Its been many years since the Chorley Hall Lane facility has been used for competitive football. It is poorly drained and has a slope on it more appropriate to downhill slalom than football.

The blasphemy and merriment that the Rev. fears is likely to fall on far more ears (in much closer proximity) at Chorley Hall Lane than at Alderley Park.

It seems to me that Alderley Park should provide recreational facilities appropriate for the number of dwellings that have been / are being built and no doubt the proposed football pitches and pavilion will be part of the “pay back” agreed by Developers.
Yvonne Bentley
Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 7:42 am
AP has already built two football pitches on the far side of the site close by the new gym. They have now decided on this ‘need’ for a third pitch for commercial reasons rather than community ones.
Duncan Herald
Wednesday 24th March 2021 at 9:47 am
Hi Alan.
re. drainage of the C.H.L. site.
I was involved in that some years ago. There is a drain that runs the length of the site along the 'lower' end of the site. I know of this as I got the local authority (I can't recall under which name the local authority then operated) to dig down and replace a length of collapsed drainage pipe.
Mayhaps it has collapsed again? Not a difficult/costly task to find out?
There may also have been land drains under some of the site? When in the long ago the park footy pitches were almost soaked for much of the year, I was involved in trying to find the old (semi collapsed) land drains and replacing then. End of soaking. Could a similar search benefit today's similar problem?
Seems a shame to 'waste' the site. Apologies to dog walkers and single athletes and blackberry harvesters.
Alan Brough
Thursday 25th March 2021 at 7:43 am
Hi Duncan,

In fairness the drainage in recent years is better than it used to be, but still a long way short of where it should be.

Wouldn't it be great if, the field was transformed? Levelled out and re-fitted with an all-weather sports surface that featured a running track around a football pitch with perhaps a semi-covered aerobics / yoga / outdoor gym area. There could be lighting installed so that the facilities could be used more or less 12 hours a day - every day.

The pavillion could be re-vamped to provide good changing / shower /social facilities and the bottom end of the field could be used to provide parking to support the facility.

Pie in the sky? Its the sort of public facility that exists (and is well used) in almost every other European country and part of the reason why the UK is blighted with much higher levels of obesity and cardio-vascular illness than our European "Friends and Partners."
Duncan Herald
Thursday 25th March 2021 at 5:38 pm
Hi Alan,
I believe that the 'correct' way to go about realising your hope is to engage with the A.E. councellor, in the first place ?
I seem to recall that the pavillion was revamped, from a state of decrepitude to a usable state, some years ago and then became run down again; such is life?
Simon Brennan
Friday 26th March 2021 at 12:03 am

What a breath of fresh air and innovative post. We can only dream that UK councils can turn our damp wet uneven recreational areas into something people can use everyday. I know we have weather issues but there must be better ways of getting the most out of this communal areas.

Duncan Herald
Friday 26th March 2021 at 8:35 am
Hi Simon.
may I suggest that, as an initial step, whoever is interested enough, contact Cheshire East to see if there are land drains under the site and if so they may be blocked rather than broken ?
Alternatively, I was once involved with a wet piece of land; a deep trench at one end of the land solved the problem!
Geoff Hall
Friday 26th March 2021 at 9:44 am
Alan, Simon, Duncan,
Improvement to Chorley Hall Lane Playing Fields is still very much an active project, but - like so much - has been delayed by COVID.
CHL is one of the projects specifically included in the Alderley Edge Neighbourhood Plan, which goes to referendum on 6th May. Discussions involving the Parish Council, the Football Club and Cheshire East were scheduled for 27th March 2020 but didn't happen due to COVID and then staff redeployments in CE. It is hoped that they can be restarted again soon.
Frustrating not to have made faster progress on it, but it's definitely not forgotten.
Best wishes