Following the announcement by AstraZeneca of their plans to reduce the scale of their operation at Alderley Park to around 700 jobs by 2016, Cheshire East Council has been working alongside the company to try and maximise the potential of the site as a specialist employment facility.
In order to enable the delivery of this vision, the Council has confirmed it may be necessary to allow a wider range of uses on some areas of the 400 acre Green Belt site, including housing.
Cheshire East Council are preparing a prospectus to outline the future policy for the development of the Alderley Park site which is intended to provide guidance for potential investors, given that the AstraZeneca site is being marketed before the Local Plan's Core Strategy is adopted.
The Cabinet are being asked to endorse the Alderley Park Development Prospectus at their meeting on Tuesday, 7th January, which states that "Given the scale of Alderley Park and the significant costs associated with bringing forward the science park, it may be necessary to release parts of the site for higher value land uses such as housing, to ensure the science facility is financially viable in the long term."
In March 2013, AstraZeneca announced its intention to relocate its R&D activity from Alderley Park by 2016. The effects of the relocation are expected to be significant, according the draft prospectus it has been estimated that the negative economic impact on the local area will be around £245 million per annum.
In response to AstraZeneca's announcement, a task force was established to mitigate the effects of the closure on Cheshire East and the wider North West economies, and to secure a sustainable economic future for the site. The Alderley Park Task Force is jointly chaired by Chris Brinsmead, Life Sciences Business Adviser to Government, and Clive Morris, AstraZeneca Vice President and includes representatives from the key local stakeholder groups, including Cheshire East Council; Manchester City Council; University of Manchester and David Rutley, MP for Macclesfield.
It is the intention of CEC that a Masterplan or similar document is developed and adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to provide clear guidelines for potential future investors. Together with the Core Strategy this should set out a detailed framework of what development will be acceptable on the site in terms of location, land use and design.
Complementary land uses will be defined in the proposed SPD, however it is envisaged such opportunities could include: residential, retail/food and drink uses (limited to a size which would be necessary to serve only the needs of the other occupiers); industrial and storage uses related to life sciences as well as company headquarters and research and development.
The draft prospectus states that future development opportunities should be focused on areas within the Previously Developed Land boundary and suggests that part of the South Campus "offers a truly distinctive, high quality build opportunity", "if higher value land uses are determined to be necessary to deliver the development of the life science cluster".
Click here to view the draft 'Alderley Park Science for Life Development Prospectus' which the Cabinet will consider on Tuesday 7th January.