Site LPS 33: North Cheshire Growth Village, Handforth East

The development of the North Cheshire Growth Village site over the Local Plan Strategy period will deliver a new exemplar ‘Sustainable Community’ in line with an agreed comprehensive masterplan and supported by a North Cheshire Growth Village Design Guide, including:

  1. Phased provision of around 1,500 new homes, including a full range of housing types and tenures;
  2. Up to 12 hectares of employment land, primarily for B1 uses;
  3. New mixed-use local centre(s) including:
    1. Retail provision to meet local needs;
    2. Local heath facilities where appropriate, or contributions to local health infrastructure;
    3. Public house / take away / restaurant;
    4. Sports and leisure facilities;
    5. Community centre and other community uses;
    6. Children's day nursery;
    7. Extra care housing; and
    8. Hotel.

      Additional uses or alternatives to those specified will be considered where it can be demonstrated that the local centre will still provide a vital and vibrant centre for the new community;
  4. New two form entry primary school and provision of, or contributions to, secondary school provision to meet projected needs. Proposals should consider the potential to include a secondary school on site;
  5. The incorporation of green infrastructure including:
    1. Green corridors;
    2. Country-park style open spaces;
    3. Public open space including formal sports pitches; and
    4. Allotments and / or community orchard
  6. The provision of, or appropriate contributions towards, the infrastructure and facilities required to support the development, including highways and transport, education, health, open space and community facilities.

Site Specific Principles of Development

  1. High quality design must reflect and respect the character of the local built form (especially in relation to the setting of listed buildings) and natural environment creating an attractive place to live and work, appropriate to its location, through having a thorough understanding of the site’s features and contributions they make to the local area.  Development must be in accordance with an approved and agreed comprehensive masterplan and North Cheshire Growth Village Design Guide.
  2. A delivery plan will be required showing the phasing of development and timing of provision of the local centre and other community facilities and infrastructure. Supporting facilities and infrastructure must be delivered as early as is feasible to emphasise the new settlement’s sustainable credentials in its early years.
  3. All new dwellings should aim to achieve a ‘Built for Life’ accreditation (or equivalent under a comparable successor scheme) and where possible, dwellings should aim to achieve a ‘Built for Life Outstanding’ accreditation (or equivalent under a comparable successor scheme).
  4. The provision of apartments above the retail and other facilities in the local centre(s) should be included in development proposals where feasible and viable.
  5. Features of amenity value including mature trees, hedgerows and ponds must be retained where possible.
  6. Development proposals should take advantage of the existing topography and vegetation on site where possible in order to minimise visual impacts on the surrounding landscape. Significant planting and landscaping buffers must be provided at the eastern boundary to define a readily recognisable, defensible and permanent new boundary to the Green Belt.
  7. Existing public rights of way should be retained and appropriate pedestrian and cycle linkages must be provided to improve connectivity and accessibility into and out of the site to the wider local area, including improvements to the accessibility of Handforth Railway Station and district centre.
  8. Improvements must be made to other public transport provision, including where possible direct access to bus services to Handforth district centre and beyond.
  9. Allow for appropriate highway impact mitigation measures to the A34 and A555 corridors.
  10. Site access is primarily to be taken from A34/ Coppice Way roundabout  and A34 / Handforth Dean Retail Park ‘dumbell’ junction. Both of these junctions are to be upgraded as part of the development. Consideration should be given to provision of an additional access point from the A555.
  11. The development should retain important habitats and provide compensatory habitats for great crested newts and other protected and priority species and habitats on the site. The green corridors should be designed to support the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity on the site.
  12. A desk based archaeological assessment will be required to determine if any future evaluation or mitigation will be needed.
  13. Development must facilitate the preservation and refurbishment of the Grade II listed Dairy House Farm.
  14. Residential and other sensitive land uses should be located away from main noise and pollution sources and mitigation measures should be incorporated where appropriate.
  15. Any development that would prejudice the future comprehensive development of the adjacent safeguarded land will not be permitted (Site reference LPS 35).
  16. The Local Plan Strategy site is expected to provide affordable housing in line with the policy requirements set out in Policy SC 5 'Affordable Homes'.
  17. A minimum of a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment for contaminated land should be carried out to demonstrate that the site is, or could be made, suitable for use should it be found to be contaminated.  Further work, including a site investigation, may be required at a pre-planning stage, depending on the nature of the site.
  18. Provision of a management plan to govern the long term use, maintenance and management of community facilities, public open space and public realm.


15.401 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) advises that sustainable development may be achieved through the allocation of new settlements with self contained facilities and providing an opportunity to properly plan infrastructure to support new construction. This is best achieved through the local planning process where a plan-led, co-ordinated approach can be achieved with the early involvement of key stakeholders.

15.402 The case for an alternative future development option through the allocation of a major mixed-use development at Handforth East was originally canvassed as part of the public consultation on the Handforth Town Strategy.

15.403 The approach to delivering a new sustainable community adopted by the council, has been favoured over the allocation of development sites in restricted, unsustainable locations having constrained infrastructure and/or a lack of local services and facilities.

15.404 A concept statement prepared for the site in July 2013 advised that the majority of the site should be allocated for residential development and that densities should vary accordingly to reflect the neighbouring environment and local character. Medium density would be appropriate on the northern edge of the site whilst low density could be suitable on the eastern and southern edges, reflecting the relationship with the open countryside.

15.405 The proposed commercial centre is intended to be in the north-west portion of the site to take advantage of the existing primary vehicular access points which provide connectivity with Handforth Dean and the A34. Similarly, a local centre, with a mixture of uses including small scale retail, is intended to be provided close to the roundabout that provides a direct link to Handforth Dean Retail Park whilst schools would be best located in the heart of the residential area. The precise locations of uses will be determined through the comprehensive masterplan. The two form entry primary school provision will be located on site. The secondary school provision to meet projected needs from the site is predicted to be equivalent to 11.5 classrooms and proposals should consider whether a new secondary school can also be accommodated on site.

15.406 The site access strategy has been informed by use of the highway model developed for the A6MARR scheme and the primary site access will be from an upgraded A34/Coppice Way roundabout and an upgraded A34/Handforth Dean Retail Park ‘dumbbell’ junction. Proposals should investigate the possibility of including a complementary access point from the A555, which would provide increased permeability through the site and deliver wider network benefits in terms of providing an additional connection between the A555 and A34.

15.407 Given the site’s proximity to Handforth, Cheadle Hulme, Bramhall and surrounding settlements, the townscape and vernacular should be considered to inform the character of the development. High quality design should also be a priority and proposals must demonstrate that local character has been respected whilst not compromising the quality of the environment.

15.408 Landscape corridors should be provided throughout the site, not only for convenient pedestrian and cycle leisure routes but also to link recreational spaces. Existing newt mitigation features present on site should remain and be extended to allow wildlife to access foraging areas through the use of ‘green fingers’ extending into, and beyond, the development. Regard should also be had to the land safeguarded for potential future development adjacent to the site (site reference LPS 35).

15.409 The proposed new sustainable community is considered to be in line with the social, economic and environmental principles of sustainable development, allowing it to contribute to the required housing, employment and infrastructure needs of the borough, whilst addressing policy requirements taken as a whole within the Local Plan Strategy and meeting the requirements of the NPPF.

15.410 To make sure that the North Cheshire Growth Village continues as an exemplar sustainable community in the long term, future management, maintenance and ownership will be addressed from the outset to include a local management organisation comprising representatives of the new community and local authority to allow locally-based long term ownership and management of facilities in perpetuity.

15.411 Any replacement and/or new sports provision should be in accordance with an adopted up to date and robust Playing Pitch Strategy and Indoor Sports Strategy and with Policy SC 2 ‘ Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facilities.

15.412 The site has potential for contamination to be present therefore at least a Phase 1 Preliminary Risk Assessment for contaminated land needs to be carried out to ensure that any contamination that is present is subject to appropriate remediation.

Policy information


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