Outline plan of Handforth Garden Village's neighbourhoods, showing the A34 and Handforth Dean retail to the west and A555 to the north

Cheshire East moves 1,500-home Handforth Garden Village forward

Cheshire East is set to launch a consultation on the proposed 1,500-home project off the A34 near Handforth, one of 14 Garden Villages named by the Government in January last year.

The site, east of the A34 opposite the Handforth Dean retail park, also includes 29.6 acres of employment land and is now allocated in Cheshire East’s Local Plan for the development of a new village, sometimes referred to as the North Cheshire Growth Village.

The Handforth project was one of the 14 garden villages named by Government in January 2017, other approved North West locations being in Knowsley, Carlisle and Bailrigg, Lancaster.

The supplementary planning document will establish the vision and strategic objectives of the site, identify the planning requirements that all planning applications must include, and set in place an overall masterplan and design guide to frame development proposals.

Cheshire East’s development company Engine of the North will act as lead developer. In design terms, the village will be centred around a traditional village high street, anchored at one end by a village green and amphitheatre.

The village is to include a primary school, sports facilities including a grass pitch and 3G surfaces, village hall and space for self-build homes. There will be 116 acres of open space. With linkages to Handforth itself a priority, the plans also call for the replacement of the existing A34 footbridge with a more accessible design that could act as a gateway feature.

Beyond the village centre, the development proposal is divided into three neighbourhoods. To the north will be Dairy House, a residential-led area featuring medium density homes featuring townhouses and semi-detached and detached homes – this segment of the site already includes the Ministry of Defence offices and a Total Fitness gym, which will both remain, and access from Dairy House Lane.

Kissing Gate, the south western part, will feature the most dense housing, with townhouses the predominant model. Blossoms Lane, in the south eastern part of the development, and furthest from the bypass, will be the lowest density, with a “mixed suburban and rural feel” – the rural elements will be situated at the scheme’s edges.

The commercial space is to be primarily offices, R&D and light industrial, with parameters suggested in the SPD as office space of up to 24,000 sq ft, 97,000 sq ft of R&D space and the same volume of light industrial; with 26,900 sq ft of general industrial space.


Graphic outlining proposed highway infrastructure

Challenges to the site’s development include some amount of site remediation and the upgrade of vehicle access and capacity on the A34 and A555 airport relief road. Where possible, existing natural features are to be retained, while existing public footpaths will be protected and “barriers to pedestrian, cycle and bus route connections to the local area should be overcome”. In time, the village could be extended onto safeguarded land to the south.

Around 70% of the site is in the ownership of Cheshire East, the report accompanying the SPD says, warning that if it is to be successful, the garden village “will require the leadership and ongoing involvement of council functions and services over a number of years”. A target of 2030 for the project’s completion is named.

The proposal is for the draft SPD consultation to run for six weeks, concurrently with the second stage Local Plan consultation, covering site allocations and development policies.

Your Comments

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Currently enduring over 3 years of traffic disruption and major on the A34 and A555 and now the suggestion is the works won’t be sufficient to support this proposed development?!

By Brooklands resi

Another green field , car dependant, inward looking volume house builder estate for the ‘doing-wells’ at the public expense of the doing not so wells in local towns where all these lucky people will have to commute to work, shop and find their leisure. And those faux ‘character’ areas are not neighbourhoods. We need to be reinventing and intensifying existing places, not exacerbating their problems and then putting them in the too hard to do tray. Or are we going to rehouse the whole British population in the urban fringe?

By Graham

As I recall it, at the original hearings for the CE local plan, none of the developers represented were in favour of the so-called Garden Village. The roads in the area are gridlocked for many hours a day and have been for years. The A34 is a car park and the upcoming A6MARR was not designed or planned to cope with the extra load that this development will generate.

By Badger

Lived in Cheadle all my life we are currently grid locked every day around Cheadle Hulme and Bramall this development together with other substantial green belt residential proposals, will only help to completely grind us all to a halt.
Government & Local Planners please note, once it was a furrow being formed in our green and pleasant fields never again will this happen. (Time to move out)


Council owned land fulfilling exactly the purpose Green Belt was designed for. A terrible example of town planning principle at all levels. Shameful.

By Handforth Man

I don’t see how the MoD will ‘remain’ considering they’ve said they wish to vacate the site by 2023.


Great, the A34…guaranteed to become a carpark….even more so than now….are these planners living in a fantasyland?

A space for “Self Build Homes” are you kidding me??? that’s like saying there’s a rocket pad for “Self Built” spaceships….

By Paul

Handforth needs a high school as the nearest is Wilmslow and already oversubscribed so where will the children go??

By Wilmslow resident

This area is getting worse every year shameful building on green belt land and grid locking the whole area more ??? It’s going to bring the area down full stop! Shameful

By Carolyn brown

How is thisa garden village? Just looks like a standard spec development to me?

By Peter Black

Great plans! Same old copy and paste merchants arguing about green belt yet again. Boring

By Anon

Turning into one of those Facebook Residents’ Association groups this website, full of the same old people complaining.

By Anonymous

Classic example of a Local Authority taking a very specific view of planning rules on the basis that it just happens to be the landowner….

If a farmer or other private individual had promoted this CE Council would have raised merry hell about it.

By A developer

Planners please visit the roundabouts at John Lewis and the A34 sliproad entry travelling in the Manchester direction on a Monday to Friday between 4pm and 7pm to get a feel of the current situation for local residents and visitors alike.
If you then travel on surrounding rounds in any direction you will also experience similar conditions.
To see in your proposed plans the quantity of households and yet more A34 roadworks ,I urge you to please please STOP.

By Tracie Stewart

Fantastic its going to have a village green and an amphitheatre … who is first to be fed to to the lions?

By Gladiator

Get in a car, and try and drive around this and surrounding areas between 8:00 and 9:00, or 16:00 and 19:00. . . .an extra 1500 households equals 3000+ extra cars. . . . hmmmm, pretty clear problem, right?

Also, no mention in the plans that I have read of additional schools, doctors, support services etc. I assume they must be part of the plan, but I have not seen this stated explicitly

I accept that new houses are required, and probably in this area, and I do not have an answer, but getting the developers to contribute to infrastructure (I think they have to by law), and then getting councils to actually spend that money on what it’s intended for (I’ll take some convincing that this actually happens) is probably a good place to start.

Good luck Cheshire East. . . . here’s to more hours sat gridlocked in the locale

By Mark

One way in one way out. What happened to connectivity?

By Sad

Loads of houses, some green space, no where for people to grow anything.
Where are the allotments and leisure gardens?

By John

Lots of misinformed whining and an oversupply of the entitled here I see.
A substantial part of the site is brown-field, formerly a part of ‘RAF No 61 Maintenance Unit, Handforth’ …hence it being disused scrub-land; a look at 1945 overhead imagery on Google Earth clearly shows this.
61MU spanned all the way over to Woodford, occupying space to the north and south of the recently completed A555 Eastern Link Road. I’d post some maps with the site overlaid ….but that’s not supported here.
Sure, the local road infrastructure isn’t all it might be, however, having direct access to a dual-carriageway, it’s, arguably, better than other nearby urban areas.
For those grumbling about a lack of public transport, there’s some talk about building a railway station, on a disused site next to the existing railway line at Stanley Green.
For those grumbling about ‘what’ will be built there, the area is a moderately affluent area, ‘what’ makes sense is housing in keeping with that.
I see someone failed to read the article properly, going on to grumble about there only being one access point – there’s an access point from Dairy House Lane as well as via the A34.
The country has a housing crisis, the only way to address that is to build housing and, being realistic, that’s going to involve a mix of infill, redevelopment, some brownfield development and some greenfield development – much of the latter will involve growth around existing towns and villages.

By Roger

The proposed area is one that is already seen recent development. Before further development is possible all of the service requirements must be in place. Not only transport links, both road and rail, but additional hospital capacity.
Mention is made of a primary school, but not of a high school.
Commercial and industrial organisations will not be attracted to an area that is rapidly becoming gridlocked, knowing that the additional traffic their presence will bring, will exacerbate the situation. What does the area provide that will attract new companies to the area?
A typical government (both local and national) response to a problem; an ill-considered ‘plan’ that creates more problems than it solves.

By R W Spragg