Hlesby Masterplan
The former industrial site will be taken up by 100 affordable homes. Credit: planning documents

Housing cued up for Honeywell’s Cheshire site

Neil Tague

Developer Lane End’s plans for 241 homes in Helsby, a 100% affordable scheme to be operated by Onward Homes, are expected to secure approval next week.

Lane End Developments Construction is listed as co-applicant along with Novar ED&S, the site’s former occupier.

Part of the Honeywell industrial group, Novar used the Helsby site, close to the A56 Chester Road, for storage and distribution until its relocation to Ellesmere Port’s Pioneer 210 development in early 2020.

The 16.7-acre residential project involves the demolition of two industrial buildings on a mostly flat site in an area now predominantly residential, with a live housing project still ongoing to the north of the site.

Lane End’s proposal is housing-led, mostly two and three-bedroom, with a small number of apartments.

The site lies to the south-west of Helsby village between Warrington and Chester.

Of the statutory consultees, United Utilities has registered a holding objection due to the site’s proximity to a UU wastewater treatment plant – the business has asked for further information. However, Cheshire West & Chester Council’s environment protection unit has raised no issues.

Various objections have come from local residents, along with that of the parish councils representing Helsby, Dunham on the Hill and Hapsford.

The scheme has been designed in-house, with Grimster advising on planning.

JLL carried out an employment land & premises review to underpin the applicant’s case for a change of use, concluding that this is now a secondary industrial location, the buildings are too low to appeal to modern occupiers, and its reuse as industrial would trigger complaints on noise and congestion.

The project is supported by Homes England’s strategic partnerships Affordable Homes Programme 2021-26. Onward Homes has in recent weeks agreed to develop in partnership on a former Arriva bus depot in Bootle, and taken on a 30-home scheme in Bury after a deal with the local authority.

Approval is recommended when CWAC’s planning committee meets on 2 November, subject to agreed contributions towards health, education and sports pitches.

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