Green light for new retirement development at Alderley Park


Controversial plans for a new retirement development on the one remaining undeveloped parcel in the southern campus area of Alderley Park have been approved.

Planning permission was granted at the Strategic Planning Board meeting on Wednesday, 28th February, to build a retirement community of 139 extra care units along with an on-site GP practice and amenities including a wellbeing centre with pool, exercise studios, treatment rooms, a nail bar and hair salon.

Plans also includes a resident's restaurant, bar and coffee lounge as well as private dining rooms for entertaining family and friends, along with study and meeting rooms.

The application was a resubmission of application 22/2819M, which sought to provide 159 extra care units, which was refused due to it being an inappropriate form of development within the Green Belt, an over development of the site, it's size scale and mass in relation to the residential properties on Morris Drive and insufficient provision for affordable housing.

The proposals have been revised to reduce the scale of the development and the provision of 30% affordable housing in the form of an offsite housing contribution.

Both Councillor Anthony Harrison, ward councillor for Chelford, and Councillor Leslie Gleave, representing Nether Alderley Parish Council, spoke against the application raising concerns regarding loss of privacy and overlooking impact, light and noise pollution, size and mass, inappropriate development of the Greenbelt and inappropriate transport links.

Councillor Harrison said "Firstly the loss of privacy and overlooking impact this proposal has on the homes and residents of Morris Drive. Standing at a generously sized, 3 and 4 stores in height, the proposed and intended landscaping plan to the South of the development provides little to no screening or privacy protection to the adjacent properties lower floors, and non what so ever to the upper private bedrooms of residents and their children, not just throughout the 2 and a half year construction phase but for several years after the landscaping plan has been implemented and before coming into even relatively partial maturity. This screening even after 10 years of growth would have a lesser effect in the long winter months.

"Secondly, Light and Noise pollution covered in the report, but fails to account for residents freedoms to have lights on 'pre and post curfew', it mentions nothing emergency lighting or necessary beacons in times of medical emergencies, delivery times, automated fire alarms which are of a high frequency with a building of this nature. Nor does it address what is deemed as moderate to adverse effects of light pollution identified by Cheshire East to those on Morris Drive, all of whom bought their properties under a pretence that just 25 homes maybe developed on Heatherley Wood.

"Then there is the Size and Mass: The proposed development, by virtue of it's size, scale and mass in relation to the residential properties on Morris Drive, will still be extremely harmful to the residential amenities of the occupiers of these properties contrary to all 5 policy points outlined in HOU 12, Amenity of Cheshire East Councils Local Plan; Site Allocation Development Policies Document.

"Highlighted by both the Cheshire East Councils Development Plan and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), this application is deemed as Inappropriate Development of the Greenbelt. The proposal is an inappropriate form of development within the Green Belt, as defined by the Development Plan. The total number of units proposed is in excess of the number of residential units in criteria ii. of policy LPS61, has a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt than the existing development, and it is not considered that the applicant has demonstrated very special circumstances to outweigh the harm caused by virtue of inappropriateness."

He concluded "As councillors have heard and will continue to hear from other speakers, there are too many material and non-material considerations being outlined to the committee today. I would therefore encourage each of you to OBJECT to this tweaked application as an inappropriate and unsustainable proposal for this site, and avoid this council being faced with the costly appeal and judicial review process."

Six residents also spoke against the proposal due to the negative impact it would have on the homes and the lives of those living on the Belway Estate and Morris Drive, whilst one supporter also spoke in favour of the scheme.

Councillor Craig Browne, ward councillor for Alderley Edge, spoke in support of the application.

He said "This development indirectly will support the continued growth of the Cheshire East economy at Alderley Park. As both the council's former representative to the board (at Alderley Park) but also as the former representative to the Local Enterprise board too I can attest to the importance of Alderley Park to the borough's economy but also as a national life science hub.

" As Local Enterprise Partnership board has commented there is no alternative source of monies to gap fund the development of commercial space for life sciences at this venue so the land receipt generated by this proposal is absolutely vital to the Park going forwards.

"The second reason is that I recognise that the proposals contribute to meeting a number of local housing needs. Indeed a number of my own residents have written in and I think there are letters that have been posted on the portal. I accept that there are a number of objections too, but from my ward in particular people have written in support for the development and the need for housing provision of this nature.

"But also I recognise that unlike all other residential developments on the park that already have planning permission this proposal is seeking to provide a 30% contribution towards affordable housing. That is significant because although that is generally the Local Plan requirement, the Local Plan does make an exception for Alderley Park where only a 15% contribution towards affordable housing is usually required. This proposal will provide 30% and potentially the monies available from that will benefit at least one affordable housing scheme within my ward.

"And finally, I am supportive of this application because I do believe it has addressed many of the concerns that the Strategic Planning Board raised with the previous application on 1st March last year. In particular I welcome the changes that have been made in reduction of height and scale and the issues of overdevelopment which have been raised previously have been addressed through this application."

The plans were approved with with 9 out of the 12 members of the Strategic Planning Board agreeing with the planning officer's recommendation and voting in favour of the scheme in its revised format with conditions.

The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council Planning Portal by searching for planning reference 23/3619M.



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

Mike Taulty
Monday 4th March 2024 at 1:36 pm
It's been "interesting" to follow this along from a distance.

In March 2023...

159 apartments with 52 new parking spaces is rejected as;

"the development is considered to constitute over development of the site".

In February 2024...

139 apartments with 50 new parking spaces is approved as;

"the wider economic benefits tip the balance in favour of supporting this application"

It wouldn't have occurred to me that a reduction of just 12% in the number of apartments would turn this around.

(numbers copied from the planning applications, apologies for any errors).

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