Appeal lodged over 200-home Hazel Grove refusal
MAN Energy Solutions will fight Stockport Council’s decision to reject proposals for a housing scheme and a country park next to the manufacturer’s Mirrlees Fields head office.
The developer and the council will head to appeal this autumn with MAN hoping to overturn the refusal of its 200-home scheme, which would provide 100 affordable properties and a 43-acre park.
The council’s planning officers had said the redevelopment of the 67 acres MAN owns in Hazel Grove should be approved.
However, the planning committee voted against that recommendation in December due to concerns about the loss of open space.
The land to the north of MAN’s Stockport head office was once a golf course and has been owned by the company for 60 years. At present, access is only permitted via public footpaths or with prior consent from the owner.
In May 2021, MAN agreed in principle to transfer 43 acres to the Land Trust, allowing it to be used as a public park should the project be approved.
The balance of the site would allow for 10 acres to be developed for housing and 11 acres to be allocated as open space to service the homes.
MAN wants to sell the residential land and use the proceeds to reinvest in the business.
A letter from MAN to Stockport Council sent 12 months ago said that the company would spend the money on upskilling its workforce and upgrading its buildings as part of the firm’s shift towards green technologies.
The letter also warned that if the authority did not approve the proposals, MAN would “sell the land to a developer”, who may want to build more than just houses on the site.
The preservation of a large chunk of Mirrlees Fields for publicly accessible space is one of two main arguments MAN has put forward to support its appeal.
The site does have various protections. It is classed as strategic open space in the core strategy and “green chain” in the unitary development plan in a part of the borough lacking in alternative greenspace.
Another reason the developer says the scheme should be approved is that Stockport Council does not currently have a demonstrable five-year housing supply.
A statement of case prepared by consultant Asteer Planning states that the council has not delivered enough new housing in recent years.
The inquiry will begin on 31 October.
The Mirrlees plans, consulted on in 2020 and lodged in outline in summer 2021, have been controversial from the outset, rousing local opposition.
A petition launched by the campaign group Protect Mirrlees Fields has garnered more than 5,000 signatures to date.