THE owners and agents of Knutsford’s two Heaths are set to meet with a town conservation group after a proposal was put forward to register both areas as ‘common land’.
The Heath is currently allocated as open space in the 2004 Macclesfield Borough Local Plan but with that local plan set to be replaced by the Cheshire East Local Plan, Knutsford Conservation and Heritage Group has made its move.
Paul Webster from the group told the Guardian members wanted to make sure the two Heath’s were designated as ‘local green space’ in the upcoming plan.
He said the group had put forward the proposal to Cheshire East Council with the aim of benefitting ‘the whole community’.
“For KCHG’s Committee, the ideal outcome is that CEC agrees to designate all areas comprising the Heath as Local Green Space through the Cheshire East Local Plan,” he said.
“That would accord the Heath planning policy consistent with long-term policy for Green Belts, through which inappropriate development – by definition, ‘harmful to the Green Belt’ – should not be approved except in ‘very special circumstances’.”
Meller Braggins Estates in Rostherne act as the agents for the Tatton Estate and said it had been in discussions with KCHG since the proposal was put forward.
A spokesperson for Meller Braggins told the Guardian it wanted to meet with the group to discuss the submission further.
“As the Estate’s Managing Agents, it is our duty to understand fully the implications of any new designations first so that we can advise our client and comment appropriately,” she said.
“The Heaths already benefit from numerous designations such Common Land Protection and the North Knutsford Conservation Area, and in addition the Estate have leased part to the Cheshire Wildlife Trust to further help enhance the habitat management.
“Therefore it is not clear what these designations lack and why there is a need for potential duplication. We have therefore set up a meeting with KCHG to discuss their submission.
“We want to ensure that any changes are indeed a benefit and do not inadvertently cause unforeseen consequences that might limit community use and enjoyment such as access to woodland and the Royal May Day.
“We look forward to working with KCHG and all other stakeholders over the coming months.”