Cheshire East Council has completed the local development order process that will allow Reaseheath College to proceed with plans to create a food enterprise zone.
The college, based in Nantwich, plans to develop enhanced teaching facilities with the potential for incubator space for small-to-medium food and farming-related businesses.
There are six potential development projects outlined at this stage, the largest being Site 1, a 26,900 sq ft engineering and teaching workshop; Site 3; a 19,906 sq ft sport science and performance academy; and Site 6, a 62,408 sq ft employment hub building with commercial floorspace on a 3.7-acre site. This site requires a new access road from the A51.
The local development order lasts for 15 years, allowing the college, a rural specialist, to carry out further developments without separate planning consents. The LDO will be regularly reviewed and can be revoked at any point.
The council carried out a month-long consultation exercise to seek the views of local residents and stakeholders to the college’s wide-reaching plans.
Cllr Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “The rural economy in Cheshire East needs to strengthen, become more resilient and diversify.
“Applying the LDO process is an effective way of delivering new opportunities for the college and for the many small-to-medium size enterprises that wish to develop, diversify and grow within a conducive and supportive environment. The public consultation resulted in no negative reaction to the college’s plans, and from the council’s standpoint, the LDO has proved to be an uncomplicated process.”
Reaseheath has been identified by DEFRA as one of a number of pathfinders for the development of food enterprise zones as part of government and council policy.
In Cheshire East the rural economy represents 32% of the borough’s £3.6bn economy and provides work for more than 65,000 people.