Mirrlees Fields, MAN, c Google Earth

MAN has said it will sell the land to a developer if the plans are not approved., Credit: Google Earth

Stockport loses 200-home Mirrlees Fields appeal 

MAN Energy Solutions has been granted permission to build homes and a country park on land next to its Hazel Grove head office. 

Stockport Council rejected the 200-home application in 2022 against officer recommendations. The planning committee argued that the scheme would result in an unacceptable loss of open space. MAN subsequently appealed the decision. 

The Planning Inspectorate has now overturned the refusal, stating that the developer’s proposal would actually “guarantee greater public access” at the site given that much of the site is currently inaccessible. 

In May 2021, MAN agreed in principle to transfer more than 40 acres to the Land Trust. This agreement would see Land Trust manage and maintain the space. 

Planning inspector Caroline Mulloy’s report said: “Whilst there would be a loss of at least 10.8 acres of designated open space, it is agreed between the council and the appellant that the development would enable around 53.6 acres of private land to be made available for public and recreational use – 45.2 acres of informal open space and 8.4 acres of residential amenity open space.” 

Read the full decision notice

The Mirrlees plans, consulted on in 2020 and lodged in outline in summer 2021, have been controversial from the outset, rousing local opposition.  

A petition launched by the campaign group Protect Mirrlees Fields has garnered more than 5,000 signatures to date. 

The land to the north of MAN’s Stockport head office was once a golf course and has been owned by the company for 60 years. At present, access is only permitted via public footpaths or with prior consent from the owner. 

While the main issue considered during the appeal process was that of open space, the inspector also took into account Stockport’s housing supply. The inspector concluded the council has a five-year housing land supply of 4,256 homes, equivalent to 3.78 years and a “significant shortfall against the requirement”. 

Stockport Council’s Lib Dem Leader Cllr Mark Hunter is coming under increasing pressure to update the borough’s local plan. Stockport pulled out of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework in 2020 and paused work on its local plan last year to wait for the outcome of a consultation on the NPPF.

Asteer Planning advised MAN on the proposals.

Your Comments

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It’s ‘open season’ on resi development greenfield and Green Belt sites in Stockport now, which is excellent news for anyone in housing need but perhaps not what the politicians had intended when they took the ludicrously short-sighted and politically motivated decision to not have any kind of Plan in place.


There’s some council officers going to feel vindicated by this seeing as though they recommended approval in the first place. I’d also imagine that the inspector’s conclusion that First Homes are not genuinely affordable in this area is likely to get used in more cases going forward (local evidence being better than random, unevidenced ministerial statement? Who’d have thought it!)

By Martin Cranmer

@YIMBY (January 24, 2024 at 4:50 pm)
One decision where there were clear benefits to the future accessibility and management of the majority of the open space (which is to be retained) isn’t really ‘open season’, There will be other schemes with similar issues that might be justified on a similar or other basis but ‘open season’ suggests that developers will now be allowed to just build, build, build on greenfield sites and that really isn’t the case.

You’re right that they need to get a plan in place ASAP. But if they’d progressed with an NPPF compliant plan this time last year they’d have just had to repeat the exercise now, assuming they’re going to do what they’ve suggested and not include any sites in the green belt for development. It might not be what everyone wants to see but it is the ticket on which the (albeit minority) leadership of the council were democratically elected on (and if you add the other outwardly NIMBYish councillors to the Lib Dems you get a majority).

By Martin Cranmer

Another green field to be filled up with the same old housebuilder dross – toytown houses with teeny tiny gardens requiring a car to get anywhere. There is nothing green, healthy, or desirable about this type of development or the types of lives they create. Much rather live in a walkable city with a park on my doorstep – I feel sorry for people who live in these sort of esttaes.

By Anonymous

Despite liberals attempt to stop this thankfully it’s been given the go ahead, what the majority of people wanted

By Ianbheywood

Surely with all the apartments being built,houses on Stockport college site, Sainsbury’s in the town centre,and the old Ritz cinema site,we must be meeting targets Leave the site at Mirlees as a green site

By Anonymous

Some house being built at last I know open space is good but its alright to build apartments in town centre with little private space for residents and surrounding area been swamped with parking as no parking for many residents and making it like a concrete jungle

By Anonymous

Stockport pulling out of the GMSF was such a bad decision.

By Anonymous

The land has been publicly accessible for decades until recently when the planning application by MAN for housing was refused, and they decided to fence the land off as a result. Using the ‘private land’ argument is not an accurate reflection of how the community has benefitted from this land for decades, and that shouldn’t be forgotten.

By Anonymous

Are they going to build a school, a doctors and most important another hospital. With all that’s happening in Stockport with all the new housing Strppjng Hill will be over run but I suppose nobodies cares about that. It’s just mindy making

By Anonymous

There is no infastructure to cope with the traffic as well as the liss of the open space which is in continual use and privides a social outlet and an atmosphere of its own.Im saddened. I seem to remember initually 50 houses being mentioned and it lept to 200.

By Angela Ireland

You should all b ashamed of yourselves!.

By B.bannister

Councillors who voted against their own internal experts who recommended approval should be personally liable for the costs of the appeal which has cost the tax payer tens of thousands in legal costs and delayed receipt of council tax by at least 12 months.

By Anonymous

It’s the only open area around here with trees and nearest to wild open grass areas is that you can get with a miles. All those people without cars are gonna be stuck. And that’s over large population in the urban environment.
It’s not a luxury.

By Anonymous

@Martin Cranmer: The ref to ‘open season’ reflects the inspector’s conclusion that Stockport cannot demonstrate 5-yeear supply. This opens up additional angles to gain approval. On the Plan, I don’t think it is even possible for the Council to produce a sound plan that meets the required housing numbers without reviewing (and allocating) GB sites in the absence of GMSF/P4E wherein Manchester City Centre absorbed much of the requirement of outlying Boroughs. That option is no longer available due to the naivety/short-sightedness of the local politicians. Of course, they were not honest with the electorate on this point. The interface between local politics and good planning is particularly difficult in this context.


A fantastic result- the inspector’s report set out very clearly the significant benefits to the community. Affordable homes, a NET gain in Biodiversity and 80% of what was private land being brought into public use for existing and future residents to enjoy- not the unauthorised use as an extension of back gardens bt a vocal self interested minority who led the wider community on a merry dance for their own ends.

By Anonymous

Seems a good idea building here provided the utilities can support it. On a bus route near a station. But can the sewage system take the extra. The treatment plants already discharge neat sewage into the rivers for many days of the year, should they not be upgraded first before we build anymore houses?

By Anonymous

Consequences of pulling out of GMSF


Yet another unecessary and costly appeal at the Tax Payer’s expense where an application for much needed homes was refused on Political grounds in spite of the paid professional’s (planning officer’s) recommendations to approve. Time for a long overdue review of this ludicrous planning sysstem in order to put a stop to this sort of nonsense once and for all.

By David Sleath

Good decision! Stockport Council is cloud cuckoo land with it’s housing policy! Multiple tower blocks in and around the town centre is not the solution. Schemes such as this give residents defensible space and gardens for the kids to grow enjoy. They may not be big, but are a million times better than being cooped up in a tower block with no garden or parks near by. Good to see an outbreak of common sense by the Inspector.

By Grumpy Old Git

No mention of schools, Dr practices and dentists, road improvements, additional congestion on thr A6 and around Woodsmoor.

By Andrew Allerton

@YIMBY – I don’t think Stockport have been able to demonstrate a 5-year supply since the requirement to do so was introduced. That bit of the inspector’s report isn’t news – the only thing it helps with in that regard is to confirm the current extent of the shortfall, not that there is one.

By Martin Cranmer

I think it’s outrages that Stockport council is allowing building on every last blade of grass in Stockport.

By Owens

Result 😂

By Anonymous

It is Vital to save this green space for people now and in the future. It was a lifeline during the Covid period and continues to bring mental health and physical health benefits to everyone in the local area and anyone else who visits. Also it is a natural habitat for wildlife and should remain so. It is a place to refresh and connect with the natural world. PLEASE SAVE IT FOR THE PEOPLE NOT THE DEVELOPERS.

By Janet Neilson

I believe the land should be protected for future generations.See what global warming brings .

By Annclayton44@gmail.com

What’s the point in employing experts to advise when you have naive jobsworth people on planning committee that take no notice.
We have a housing crisis we are surrounded by beautiful parks etc in Stockport stopping planning on spaces which are surrounded by housing offices etc.
common sense is lacking in Stockport planning we need the housing!!!!

By Anonymous

We are needing both houses and green belts, the green belts are so important to life, we can’t just live in a concert area we need the green, we need parks, ares to walk and children play, the to reuse abandoned areas where investments would be greatly appreciated

By Geraldine

Just give me a house

By Pj

Good on you

By William flint

If our birthrate is declining… WHO ARE ALL THESE HOMES FOR? Open your eyes.

By Si P

Great news. It’s easy to sign a petition from the comfort of having a nice roof over your head. Many many people need a home. Enough of this ‘I’m alright jack’ attitude.

By David

Leave our green space alone …
This is our sanctuary for a little peace in an already massive built up area.
Don’t let the greedy property tycoons win …
They are only interested in money ..
Flowery fields and Mirrlees fields are sacred to us local indigenous folk !

By Peter Chappell

As usual – planners overturn a NO on more horrible little boxes we don’t want. They won’t be satisfied until they have built on every scrap of green space and the roads are gridlocked with excess population. The planners are a disgrace and shame on you!

By Robert White

I feel sad for the wildlife! Once again we are taking animals habitat away from them! We will not be happy until there is nothing left💔

By Lois

I am all in favour of people having access to homes but my concern is the increase in traffic flow around the area. It is already incredibly congested morning and evening and even sometimes in between. How is the
increase going to be managed?

By Margaret

The people of Greater Manchester spend hours every day sat in traffic nowadays, it’s a fact of life

By Anonymous

Traffic to the A6 queues down Bramhall Moor Lane to Pepper Road already during peak times. The schools in catchment are already over subscribed. Its all well and good saying housing stock is needed but you have to bring in the extra infrastructure. This development along with the large development planned on Jacksons Lane farm land will add another 300+ homes.

Peoples comments are correct when they state the fields have been used by various local groups as well as people in the area for decades, and have only been fenced off since the rejection. Overall it is a shame that the development of Mirlees and Jacksons Lane look to reduce green space in the area.

Creeping concrete, rural to semi rural, to urban, to dense urban, unfortunately once its gone its gone forever. Personally I would like to see councils incentivise brown field development and the repurpose of existing buildings.

By Anonymous

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