Council ready to press on with showcase garden village 

February 10, 2017

1) Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planningResidents and interested parties will have a chance to have their say on the proposed garden village at Handforth as Cheshire East Council prepares to draw up a planning framework.

The site, allocated within the Cheshire East Local Plan, has now been supported under the government’s garden town and village programme and will provide around 1,500 new homes by 2030.

It is intended to be a high-quality development scheme, unique to the borough and much work and local engagement has already taken place.

To finalise and refine the site proposals, a consultation process will take place to enable all those with an interest to contribute to the discussion and influence the shape and various elements of the development.

The need to deliver homes for people is the council’s immediate priority and the garden village will not only see the development of starter homes and affordable homes but also the opportunity for self-build.

Councillor Ainsley Arnold, cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “Given the need to progress the new village, there needs to be a secure and certain planning framework. Therefore, we are not proposing that the emerging Handforth neighbourhood plan covers this site.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, chairman Engine of the North“We want to ensure that the new garden village has the clearest possible framework to guide its development. We therefore feel that to overlay the existing local plan with further policies within the neighbourhood plan, operating on a different set of timescales, would complicate an already complex planning situation.

“We are very keen that local people are closely involved in the planning of the new village and that this is best done within the context of the Local Plan rather than a separate development plan.

“This will enable us all to move ahead and plan the village community and the new homes that so many people need.”

The council’s wholly-owned company Engine of the North expects to be in a position to submit outline plans for the 102-hectare site later this year when a full consultation process will take place.

Company chairman Cllr Jamie Macrae said: “It is envisaged that the garden village would see extensive areas of green landscaping, trees and open spaces, incorporating new green transport links and cycle ways, together with the required infrastructure such as schools and health facilities as a completely separate entity and it makes sense not to include the scheme within the proposed neighbourhood plan.”