A housing development near Handforth that attracted 815 letters of objection from local residents has been given the go-ahead after a lengthy discussion at Cheshire East’s strategic planning board, which also unanimously approved Jodrell Bank’s proposals for its £20m First Light project.
Situated between Handforth and Styal, David Wilson Homes’ planning application was to build 174 houses, a new roundabout, public open space, and a new crossing of the River Dean.
The site, allocated for housing use under Cheshire East’s local plan, is currently used as grazing pasture and sits between Stanneylands Road and Wilmslow Garden Centre, which fronts Manchester Road.
The housing mix will be split between 24 apartments and 150 houses, including 112 four-bedroom, 35 three-bedroom and 19 two-bedroom homes, as well as eight one-bed properties. Around 30% of these will be allocated as affordable homes.
Despite being criticised by councillors for failing to demonstrate social value and a lack of appropriate access to the site, especially via a proposed cycle route through Wilmslow Garden Centre, the planning board voted seven to four to approve the application, with one councillor abstaining.
The council admitted the proposals “had been difficult in many ways with weightings on both sides”, but passed the application based on the need to build more homes at allocated sites across the borough.
The application was approved despite objections from Wilmslow Town Council, alongside 815 letters of objection from local residents.
The town council had argued the application should be refused until Cheshire East “undertakes an up-to-date independent traffic assessment,” and said the application did not comply with the area’s local plan “due to the lack of a sound infrastructure plan”.
Residents had raised concerns over the increased levels of traffic the development would bring, and argued the area should still remain as green belt land, despite its allocation for housing in the local plan.
As part of the approval, David Wilson Homes Section 106 agreement will include a £500,000 contribution towards local education; a £488,000 commuted sum towards on-site public open space maintenance; a £186,000 contribution towards health provision; and £150,000 towards a potential cycle path and footpath linking the site to Manchester Road.
The application was previously deferred from a planning meeting on 22 November.
The professional team on the development includes SCP as transport consultant, and Turley as planner.
Cheshire East’s committee also approved Jodrell Bank’s proposals for the £20m First Light project, which includes a visitors’ centre, exhibition space, and auditorium at its observatory near Congleton.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the scheme, which has been designed by architect Hassell, alongside a professional team which also includes Buro Four, Planit IE, Mott MacDonald, Turley, and WYG.
The proposals on the site of the Granada Arboretum at its observatory are designed to promote scientific work and chronicle the history of the site.
The circular building will host a gallery, exhibition and education spaces, a cafe, and a 2,300 sq ft auditorium with space for 150 guests.
The £20.5m project was granted £4m by the Government, subject to a sustainable business case, last month as part of the Transforming Cities Fund.
It also received a £12m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, alongside private donations from four foundations and the University of Manchester Alumni Association.