The company is set to win consent for a previously-refused 207,000 sq ft development in Alsager, with planning officers again backing the scheme despite wide-ranging objections from locals.
BAE Systems Property Investments has put forward an outline application for the site, which covers around 29 acres between existing residential development and the Radway Green Business Park. It is designated for employment land under Cheshire East’s Local Plan.
Supported by AEW Architects, the proposals by BAE feature four units ranging between 96,400 sq ft and 17,000 sq ft; the larger two units sit to the east of the site opposite existing residential development. Access will be via Crewe Road, where housebuilder Persimmon also has consent for a housing scheme.
BAE’s previous outline application for the site, put forward last year, was rejected in November despite a recommendation to approve; councillors argued the proposals’ massing and layout did “not allow sufficient space for landscaping to mitigate the adverse impacts of the development”.
In its reason for refusal, November’s planning committee also argued the scheme did not “ensure a design solution which achieves a sense of place by protecting and enhancing the quality, distinctiveness, and character of Alsager”.
Many of the same concerns, flagged by residents and the town council, remain ahead of the scheme heading to committee again next week.
Residents’ issues focus on road congestion, highways issues, a loss of green space, and an argument that employment development should focus on the existing Radway Green Business Park. The scheme has attracted 227 letters of objection.
Alsager Town Council has also claimed the proposed massing of the warehouses is “contrary” to the existing Local Plan, and added there was “insufficient public transport” to serve the development.
However, planning officers have stuck with their original recommendation, which is for approval subject to call-in by the Secretary of State.
Officers argued additional landscaping measures proposed by BAE would “address the previous reasons for refusal”, while the site’s allocation in Cheshire East’s Local Plan, along with job creation, are put forward as the key drivers behind the recommendation to approve.
This recommendation also comes with a Section 106 contribution of £120,000 towards bus infrastructure and pedestrian crossing connectivity.
Cheshire East’s strategic planning board will make a decision on the scheme on 24 April.