Garden Village development moves a step forward
13 January 2022
Plans to deliver ‘The Garden Village at Handforth’ have moved a step closer today.
The Garden Village at Handforth will create a bespoke new village that will include 1,500 new high-quality design homes and extensive ‘green infrastructure’ – more than 40 per cent of the site will be open space, public amenity space or protected habitat for both residents and the wider public to enjoy.
It will also include a new school, up to 30 acres of employment land creating local jobs, a village centre with shops, restaurants, a hotel, and a village pub, new footpaths and cycleways, up to 175 housing units for older people who need care, and a children’s nursery.
Today (13 January), at a meeting of Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board, committee members resolved to be minded to approve a hybrid planning application for the scheme, subject to conditions and legal agreements.
Councillor Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East Council’s economy and growth committee, said: “This development has all the ingredients to create a truly wonderful new Cheshire village for the benefit of those living in, working in, and visiting the Garden Village for generations to come.
“Today’s decision by members of the strategic planning board is a fantastic step forward for this development and officers can continue to progress and deliver an exemplar scheme.
“The Garden Village will not only provide a range of new homes, but will encourage healthier and more active lifestyles, and support biodiversity – delivering a net gain through planned on and off-site measures.”
The development is one of 14 Government designated Garden Villages through Homes England’s locally-led Garden Village Programme, which gives the scheme national recognition.
The council is the lead developer and owns around 70 per cent of the land allocated for the garden village, while the remaining 30 per cent is owned by third parties.
The site – allocated as a strategic development site in the council’s adopted Local Plan Strategy – is around 300 acres and is east of the A34, south of the A555 and will be accessed via the A34 bypass.
At the heart of the village will be an ‘all-through school’, providing both primary and secondary education, with a community hall and sports pitches located alongside it.
Of the 1,500 new homes, 30 per cent will be affordable, 5 per cent will be self-build and there will also be starter homes for young people, family homes, and accommodation for older people. This mix will help to meet local housing needs.
Employment space such as studios and offices will be available, as well as shared workspace facilities, and the village will have electric vehicle charging points and its own heat network, using sustainable energy.
There will be new wildflower grassland and playing fields, arts and heritage trails, community orchards and allotments, new trees and hedges, and new habitats which will be created by incorporating green roofs and green walls as a way of greening the village centre, residential and employment areas.
All existing ponds will be retained and improved, while new ponds will be created that will be specifically designed and maintained to maximise their biodiversity value.
Cllr Craig Browne, chair of Cheshire East Council’s highways and transport committee, said: “The Garden Village also supports the council’s long-term ambitions to increase active travel and will take the pressure off other towns and villages through investment in local infrastructure.
“As the lead developer, the council will provide the primary infrastructure to the site and the plans include making improvements to the A34, creating a new access road to the garden village, a park-and-ride facility near the train station, and new cycling and walking routes – including a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the A34.”
This new infrastructure will enable people to travel in a greener and more sustainable way and provide easy access to essential local retail, leisure, healthcare, education, and wider community facilities.
An application for a park and ride scheme at Handforth railway station was previously approved.
A separate application relating to Dairy House Farm, which forms part of the Garden Village site, was previously approved and grants listed building consent for essential stabilisation and repair works of the former farmhouse and outbuildings.
This will enable the restoration and conversion of the buildings, which are Grade II-listed.
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