Cheshire East council ‘minded to approve’ application for Handforth Garden Village despite objections

Cheshire East council is ‘minded to approve’ a hybrid planning application for the 1,500-home Handforth Garden Village despite objections to the scheme from the Envrionment Agency. 


Officers will now progress the scheme on 121 hectares of land to the east of Handforth town, for which the planning approval is subject to conditions and legal requirements. 

The council’s strategic planning board members made the decision despite an objection from the Environment Agency saying there was “insufficient information to demonstrate that the risk of pollution to controlled waters can be appropriately managed”. 

Nick Mannion, chair of Cheshire East’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. 

“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.”

Craig Browne, chair of Cheshire East Council’s highways and transport committee, said the village will support the council’s ambitions to increase active travel and take the pressure off other towns and villages.”

Officers recommended in a report for councillors to approve the scheme subject to the removal of the Environment Agency’s objection and completion of the section 111/ section 106 legal agreement. They also said “a range of environmental considerations have been examined” and it was awaiting comments from the Environment Agency on groundwater. The officers said they expected the environmental quango to withdraw its “objection in the near future as the reports indicate there are no significant concerns”. 

Charity Cheshire Wildlife Trust has also objected to the planning application because it says the scheme would result in a loss of 49% of the site’s local wildlife. Part of the development is on Handforth Dean Meadows, and has a network of ponds and species-rich grassland. 

Of the 1,500 homes, more than 30% are expected to be affordable, 5% self-build and some starter homes are planned. Up to 175 units will be for older people who need are. 

The development, which was one of 21 gardens towns and villages to get a slice of £6m by the government in 2020, 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. 

The application was submitted by Engine of the North, which is a property development vehicle owned by Cheshire East Council. 

Officers in the report to the strategic planning board said the proposals would “deliver an exemplar sustainable community in line with an agreed masterplan and supported by a design guide”. 

The council is the lead developer and owns around 70% of the land allocated for the garden village, while the remaining 30% is owned by third parties.

Councillors have already given approval and granted listed building consent to a separate application relating to Dairy House Farm, which forms part of the Garden Village site. This will enable the restoration and conversion of the farmhouse buildings, which are Grade II-listed.