Tatton Estates has sought to reassure local residents, many of whom have raised concerns over a proposed 3D printing hub and logistics park near Bowdon, by outlining the next steps for the site.
Tatton Estates Management and MMU signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of the 3D printing hub, a £6m facility which will be access directly from Junction 7 of the M56 and the new Knutsford-Bowdon A556 dual carriageway.
This part of the site, encircled by existing road infrastructure, includes 40,000 sq ft of derelict buildings, which have been empty since Fantastic Fireworks moved out late last year.
Tatton Estates Management managing director Henry Brooks told Place North West he was hopeful of reaching a deal with Cheshire East to release this part of the site for development, which is seen as “sustainable development” by both Tatton and the council.
He added that Tatton’s immediate focus would be on restoring these derelict buildings for use by MMU.
However, it is the second part of the proposals, situated between Junction 7 and Junction 8 and between the M56 and the A56, which has attracted criticism from locals and the National Trust.
This part of the site, home to agricultural pasture and farm buildings, has been earmarked as a science, manufacturing and logistics park by Tatton.
In a statement, residents of Little Bollington and Bowdon said they were “astonished” that MMU and Tatton were proposing “major development on land reserved as green belt”.
Spokesperson Ve Whitworth said: “The University should support decisions made by the local authority to protect our valuable countryside, and not associate with promotions which contradict these decisions.
“This land is green belt for a reason – a green line beyond which industry does not belong. We encourage Tatton Estate Management to work with local communities and Cheshire East Council on a shared vision that does justice to the rural landscape.”
It is understood Cheshire East has not yet released the western part of the site for development and this is unlikely to come forward in the short term.
Part of the site was used by contractor Costain as its compound during the construction of the A556 dual carriageway, but these temporary works are required to be removed by law.
The site does not include the former Nag’s Head pub, which has planning consent to be restored into a restaurant.
Local residents said Tatton would be “overriding local interests by raising the prospect of development once again”, but it is understood the developer’s focus in the short-to-medium term is on the 3D printing hub with MMU.
The proposals for the science and logistics park have also been objected to by the National Trust, owing to their proximity to the Trust’s Dunham Massey estate.