KNUTSFORD’S only heritage group believes the town’s residents need to ‘wake up’ to the proposed developments that have been identified in the borough council-led local plan.

Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group was formed in July 2010 by volunteers and councillors after the Knutsford Civic Society was wound up.

The group was the brainchild of Clr Stewart Gardiner – who is no longer involved – after he said ‘like-minded people’ needed to speak with Cheshire East Council planners to ensure Knutsford’s historical features were preserved.

Since its inception the group has offered its opinion on planning applications across the town.

But the group – which has 25 members – is now urging the town to be aware of the proposals for Knutsford that have been released in borough’s widely publicised Local Plan.

The authority proposes to build a total of 650 homes but residents will have one last chance to comment on the plans in the final round of consultation, which is due to take place in the Spring.

Chairman Ken Rhodes told the Guardian: “We are aghast at the extent of the development proposed in Knutsford.

“When people are soon asked again for their comments on the Cheshire East Local Plan, that is the opportunity to express their opinions. If Knutsford and its green belt are valued, we need to say so.”

The group added it did not believe the proposals put forward by the Tatton Estate – and featured in the Guardian – recognise that Knutsford is a ‘special case’ because of its heritage.

“We are people who are concerned about Knutsford’s heritage,” Ken added.

“Knutsford is a special place and we want to improve and enhance it. We recognise there is a need for development but it has to be appropriate.”

Paul Webster, joint vice-chairman of the group, added: “It’s a case of wake up Knutsford.

“The future of the town is at risk here. The council leader Michael Jones has said Knutsford is a special case and we need to have some recognition of that.”

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