Following Cheshire East Council allocating land for approximately 1,000 new homes in and around Knutsford, plans for a new ‘village community’ off Manchester Road have been submitted.
Inspired by traditional villages and towns, as well as exemplar new town schemes delivered by the Prince of Wales at Poundbury and Nansledan, the new neighbourhood (known as Bluebell Village, after the original farmstead) is set to deliver up to 300 new homes along with a village centre.
This would include local shops and facilities as well as space for GPs and dentists.
Funding will also be provided for enhancing sporting and leisure facilities to cater for Knutsford’s growing population, say those behind the scheme.
The plans are being promoted by Cheshire-based Tatton Estate and represent the only submitted application to feature a mix of uses, designed from the outset to be sustainable and to minimise the need for travel.
Tatton Estate is a private landowner in east Cheshire, responsible for several thousand acres of land and around 500 residential and commercial properties.
The estate has been under private family ownership since the death of the last Lord Egerton in 1958, when Tatton Hall and Park were separated and gifted to the National Trust.
Tatton Estate says its proposed new development would complement ongoing investment to facilitate growth in Cheshire, including over £440m which is going into upgrading the M6 and A556 to deliver additional road capacity.
Knutsford itself is expected to see 5 major road improvements, worth over £2.7m, funded by Local Plan development sites – including junction improvements around Adams Hill, Canute Place, Mobberley Road/Parkgate Lane and Brook Street/Hollow Lane.
Those behind the Bluebell Village scheme say it is already a sustainable location, being within walking distance of existing facilities, whilst having direct access to the A50, A556 and M6 on routes which avoid the need to drive through Knutsford town centre.
They add that the inclusion of local facilities on site will further help to reduce the need to travel, not just for new residents but also for future workers on The Crown Estate’s allocated A50 office park and current neighbours.
Tatton Estate presently invests significantly into Knutsford and its surrounding communities.
This includes providing space for community facilities at Knutsford Football Club, Knutsford Sports Club, both Knutsford and Canute bowling clubs, Mereheath Lane Allotments, Knutsford Heath, The Moor Pool plus Rostherne and Ashley cricket clubs, as well as Knutsford Heritage Centre.
A Tatton Estate spokesman commented: “We are very proud to be submitting this pioneering application for a high quality mixed-use development in this location.
“Three years ago, we commissioned the John Simpson lecture in what was then the derelict Town Hall that we have now restored.
“The principles he set out about quality of place and sustainable development we believe are embodied in this liveable, genuine neighbourhood which will meet the needs of future generations in a way that is truly ‘Knutsford’.
“The proposed development will generate significant benefits for the local economy, including the potential to generate up to £2m New Homes Bonus revenue for Cheshire East Council, 421 jobs are expected during the construction phase and a further 200 created by the new village centre.”
Tatton Estate says the application boundary intentionally includes all its nearby ownership (including Knutsford Football Club and Knutsford Sports Club) in order to protect and enhance them.
They add that the application contains no proposals for their redevelopment.
These are to be retained as Protected Open Space, but could benefit from Section 106 provisions for Public Open Space.
Alongside the new homes and business space, new pedestrian and cycle routes will link the Bluebell Village to central Knutsford facilities – including the local railway station and bus services.
It is anticipated that the development will also fund new school places along with other section 106 contributions.
The submission of the application follows a public consultation, however Tatton Estate is still keen to hear local people’s views and any suggestions on how the proposals can be improved upon.
The application is due to be determined in October.