CAFT Scheme Visual

Children’s charity plans Cheshire expansion

The Children’s Adventure Farm Trust has submitted plans for refurbishment and the development of a new wing at its Millington site with a funding drive due to start if planning permission is secured.

The charity provides free holidays, day visits and Christmas parties at a ten-acre site close to Altrincham for disabled, ill and disadvantaged children from across the region, evolving since its inception to support more than 2,500 children each year.

Founded by local media figure Tim Grundy in the mid-1980s, the charity stated its work from a 17th century farmhouse on site, moving to later farm buildings and adding facilities such as a sports hall, adventure playground, duck pond and animal enclosures.

The proposed development, on which architect Bowker Sadler and planner P4 are advising, will include renovation of the grade two-listed farmhouse, securing its long-term future, and the addition of a wing that will provide inclusive access and give the trust flexibility to meet the needs of a wider range of disadvantaged children.

The site slopes sharply, making access to the sports hall at the top of the site difficult for some, while there is a safeguarding element to the plans, in more effectively separating vehicles from areas children play in.

Following consultation with neighbours and community groups including members of the parish council, the charity has submitted a planning application to Cheshire East Council.

Trustee Nick Montague told Place North West that should planning be secured, fundraising will start in earnest – the charity raises £1m a year for its activities, with patrons including Noddy Holder and Jason Manford.

Bowker Sadler’s design & access statement said: “The aim of the proposals is to improve the functioning of a particularly worthwhile charity by safeguarding the children who use the farm and providing them with the means to use the facilities more easily and safely.

“In addition to the improvement of the existing buildings, the provision of a new building will allow 10 more disadvantaged and disabled children and their cares to use the charity and provide a circulation ‘hub’ adjacent to the Farmhouse, the heart of the site, to allow better access to the remainder of the site and its facilities.”

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