Resi offer reduced in final Alderley Park plan

Jessica Middleton-Pugh

Cheshire East Council’s cabinet has approved a revised development framework and masterplan for the 400-acre Alderley Park, removing some sites previously earmarked for residential development.

Cheshire East Council and Manchester Science Partnerships put together the document to guide future planning applications to support the continued use of Alderley Park as a life sciences research base.

See below for the revised development framework

A consortium led by Manchester Science Partnerships acquired the 400-acre Alderley Park, formerly occupied by AstraZeneca, in March 2014. Cheshire East Council took a 10% stake in the site.

According to Cheshire East, when the development framework went out to public consultation earlier this year, “there were mixed views about new housing, some of which is likely to be necessary to support the viability of the park as a site for life science employers”, alongside concern about the potential impact on heritage, nature and local services including highways.

Reducing the residential content within the park could leave Manchester Science Partnerships, controlled by developer Bruntwood, with a reduced development value.

More emphasis has been placed on design quality and the historic parkland setting, and changes also included details of the council’s position in terms of bringing forward development on the green belt.

A council amendment to the plan stated that “the Alderley Park site lies within the North Cheshire Green Belt and will remain so, as there are no proposals to change the boundary of the Green Belt in this locality.

“Any planning application proposing development which is ‘inappropriate’ in Green Belt policy terms must be accompanied by a robust case demonstrating why that development is necessary.”

The framework divides the park into four key areas; Mereside, Parklands, South Campus, and Woodlands and Farm.

Mereside is outlined as the main location for life science occupiers, however “demand for life science floor space is likely, at least in the short to medium term, to be less than the current floor space on the site”.

The masterplan outlined potential alternative land uses such as a hotel, industrial and storage units. Initially residential development was to be focused on the site of the existing car park at Mereside West along the Mere, but the council has now ruled that this should be reverted to farmland.

In Parklands, the framework outlined the potential for “discrete high quality residential development”, however the council has now ruled that the area next to Congleton Road, south of the main cricket pitch, is no longer suitable for housing.

Woodlands and Farm will be the focus for recreational parkland space with public access, alongside smaller scale mixed-use development, with a range of commercial facilities.

The cabinet also agreed to formally withdraw the now outdated Alderley Park Planning Brief of 1999.

MSP is a Manchester based public-private partnership and the UK’s largest science park operator. MSP’s shareholders are Bruntwood, University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester, Cheshire East and Salford City Councils.

HOW Planning and Planit-IE are advising MSP on the masterplanning of Alderley Park.

To view the revised framework click here

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