Local residents have said a plan by Wyevale Garden Centre to build a development of 15 houses and eight apartments on Green Belt land in Timperley is “inappropriate” and would worsen an already “notorious traffic bottleneck”.
Wyevale has submitted a planning application to Trafford Borough Council to convert the seven-acre site off Thorley Lane – currently home to its World of Pets and Leisure and World of Water retail brands – into a residential development comprising 15 detached two and three-bedroom houses and two blocks each made up of four apartments.
The existing Thorley Lane access road would be closed and the alternative Wood Lane entry upgraded in order to serve the development.
The proposed site does however lie within an area of Green Belt that has long provided a natural boundary between Timperley and Hale, with the southern part of the site identified as a Wildlife Corridor on the Unitary Development Plan Proposals Map.
A report prepared in support of Wyevale’s application by town planners Gregory Gray Associates claims the site comprises previously developed land and that therefore the
development of the site for residential purposes “represents a prudent use of natural resources”.
It says it also allows for a “significant increase in the openness of the southern part of the site and the opportunity to secure a significant landscaping
scheme which will enhance the character of the area and provide for habitat creation”.
“The principle of developing the application site for residential purposes is entirely consistent with national Green Belt policy,” it concludes. “Information submitted in support of the application demonstrates that, taken as a whole, the scheme will have a materially decreased impact upon the openness of the Green Belt and will support its function of safeguarding the countryside from encroachment and preventing the merging of adjoining settlements.”
The report also states that an Arboricultural Report prepared by Certhia Consulting concludes that there are “no individual trees of arboricultural significance that are affected by the proposal to re-develop the site”, and calculates that there would only be a “4% increase in the volume of traffic along Wood Lane”.
The proposed development comes just weeks after a separate application was made to Trafford to build on the Green Belt land on the opposite side of Thorley Lane.
The application from the Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association to build a 2,000 sq m, two-storey building on the site has led to over 2,200 signing a petition calling on Trafford Council to “Say no to the Mosque in Timperley”, while several hundred attended a protest against the plans in late October.
And local residents are also objecting to Wyevale’s plans.
A number of letters submitted to the council in opposition to the plans point to the “notorious traffic bottleneck, especially at school start and finish times” at the junction of Wood Lane and Thorley Lane.
They also claim that the application is an “inappropriate development by definition, i.e. harmful to the Green Belt and does not meet with any of the clear and ‘very special circumstances’ required in order to develop Green Belt land”.
They also point to the fact that two years ago, Trafford’s planning department refused an application to build a detached bungalow on a site on the junction of Thorley Lane and Wood Lane, not far from the proposed location for Wyevale development.
In its decision notice outlining the reasons for the refusal, head of planning Rob Haslam said the development was “located within the Green Belt where there is a presumption against inappropriate development and where development will only be allowed if it is for an appropriate purpose or where very special circumstances can be demonstrated”.
He added that the proposed development “would harm the openness and character of the Green Belt and would be detrimental to the visual amenities of the area”.
You can view the planning application – and submit comments – yourself by searching for application 89944 here.