COMMUNITY groups are backing proposals for 300 houses and a primary school to be built on Knutsford’s Green Belt land.
Cheshire East Council’s Local Plan proposes developments in North West Knutsford and the Parkgate Extension, meaning a possible 650 houses – and 10 per cent growth for the town – by 2030.
Having engaged with the Town Council, North Knutsford, Nether Ward and South Knutsford community groups and Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group gave their support to the proposals at the Council’s strategic planning meeting on Wednesday.
Brian Chaplin, a member of the South Knutsford Community Group, said: “The four combined community groups are aligned in supporting the Local Plan and its proposals for Knutsford.
“Through community involvement, the Groups have collectively reached agreement with Cheshire East Council that 300 new homes should be built in the Green Belt in North West Knutsford as a contribution to housing need without sacrificing the essential purposes of the Green Belt.
“Community Group involvement has led also to agreement that an additional 350 dwellings should be built on brownfield and town centre sites to reach an overall and absolute cap of 650 new homes, which would be 10 per cent growth for the town.”
The Plan identifies Knutsford as one of the Key Service Centres for Cheshire East and says the vitality and growth of the town is key to the prosperity of the borough.
Mr Chaplin added: “The community groups welcome the commitment to tackle the infrastructure deficit in Knutsford, in particular meeting the need for improved medical facilities, an enlarged primary school on a new site, and enhancement of sports and community facilities and pedestrian and cycle ways.
“Crucially, they are pleased that essential improvements will be made to the road network.
“They also welcome the reduction of safeguarded land, but question whether it is wise to concentrate all development after 2030 in North West Knutsford.”
Henry Brooks, of the Tatton Estate, also backed the Local Plan and the opportunities it can present given Knutsford’s ‘well-educated local workforce’.
“The Tatton Estate is proud to be able to provide premises for over 1,000 residents, businesses and jobs in Cheshire East,” he said.
“The Estate has been delivering sustainable development for longer than the term has existed and will continue to do so.
“Around Knutsford we have the opportunity for economic growth and there are many parts of the country that this is simply not an option.
“Collectively we therefore have a responsibility to embrace the opportunity for growth where it can be delivered sustainably.”
Council planning inspector Adrain Fisher said there are proposals to develop areas of greenbelt around Knutsford to allow growth to occur He said: “Knutsford is an area we are identifying as showing major employment potential.”