PLANS to build 360 homes and a new HQ for a firm in Mobberley have been recommended for approval by borough council planning officers but the decision has left current villagers ‘shocked’.
Villagers told the Guardian the decision to support the £100million ‘masterplan’ for the HARMAN site in Ilford Way had left them ‘dumbstruck’.
The plans, developed by LPC Living and current tenant HARMAN technology, would see a new state-of-the-art campus for the company alongside a newly proposed two-storey office building for small businesses.
The scheme, by the Pervaiz Naviede Family Trust-owned developer, was first revealed in July 2013 and will now see 360 homes planned for the site – down from 375 when the scheme was first unveiled.
If the scheme is given the green light tomorrow, Thursday, at a meeting of Cheshire East Council’s Strategic Planning Board, plans would include creating more than 20 acres of newly-accessible public open space, a new sports pitch with changing facilities, allotments, children’s play area and a developer contribution of more than £735,000 to create new school places.
However, Gareth Wilson from Mobberley RAMS, told the Guardian the number of homes was too big for a village the size of Mobberley.
“This has come as a very big shock to us,” he said.
“The site is simply too big for a small village like Mobberley and will destroy the character of the village and turn it into a town. Local amenities are already stretched and traffic issues on Mobberley Road will be made even worse.
“There's hardly any affordable homes (15 per cent) planned on the site, the last thing we need is hundreds of expensive luxury commuter homes in Mobberley.
“There's plans to build a football pitch, changing rooms and car park on greenbelt land. We simply don't need these facilities, we already have lots of parks and a football pitch that never get used.”
In the report, Environmental Health Officers said the site would be ‘substantially affected’ by aircraft noise from Manchester Airport.
Simon Ashdown, director at LPC Living, said: “We have worked alongside HARMAN for a number of years to design a scheme which would retain the business – and local jobs – in Mobberley.
“We are therefore pleased that the application has been recommended for approval.
“We would like to again thank everyone who has provided feedback on the proposed scheme which has seen the masterplan change in order to accommodate the views of the local community. The most recent change has been the addition of new employment space on the site, which has led to a reduction in the total number of homes proposed to 360.
“The finalised scheme is a unique opportunity for Cheshire East Council to deliver a significant number of much-needed homes on a brownfield site, whilst retaining a prestigious manufacturing business within the borough.”
Peter Elton, managing director at HARMAN technology, said: “The Ilford Way site has been our home for over a century but in recent years has become too large for us.
“This opportunity to reshape our facilities would enable us to continue as Mobberley’s largest employer and create a contemporary headquarters more suited to our needs.”
If approved, it is anticipated the new HQ would be completed later next year with new homes to be built from 2016.