GOVERNMENT-BACKED plans for a new garden village in Handforth, where 1,650 homes could be built, have been slammed by councillors.

The North Cheshire garden village, situated to the east of the A34 opposite Handforth Dean, is one of 14 areas in England which have been approved for use as a garden village.

Handforth has already been earmarked for an additional 2,000 homes to be built on to the south of the proposed North Cheshire garden village in Cheshire East Council’s local plan.

The proposed garden villages will have access to a £6 million fund over the next two financial years.

Plans for the North Cheshire garden village, which has been promoted by Engine of the North, CEC’s development company, has already faced significant opposition during consultation.

Cllr Barry Burkhill, borough councillor for Handforth, has questioned the purpose of the consultation and believes developers may struggle to sell the homes in a crowded part of Cheshire.

“The Government can provide funds for attracting developers to build this garden village in the important strategic greenbelt between Handforth and Stockport, but breaking the boundaries between us and Greater Manchester with this bribe and calling it by a fancy name is not going to encourage developers to build if they cannot sell the houses,” he said.

“Who is going to buy a house which takes them two or three hours to reach from work in the evening after a similar journey in the morning? 

“This is the scenario today without these 1,500 houses, which seem to have passed the inspector without any comment in his interim letter [on the local plan].

“Developers do not want to build on this area of greenbelt because of the uncertainty of building houses which don’t sell, at least not to homeowners who will look after their properties and the surrounding environment.

“The result in people’s minds is, what is the point of consulting the public if they are to be ignored? Is it any wonder that the public then lash out at the establishment when they get the chance?” 

Cllr Dennis Mahon, borough councillor for Handforth, added: “It confirms to residents that their views and knowledge of the area are of no value whatsoever.

“Residents already complain of the inadequate infrastructure – poor roads, growing traffic and traffic problems, inadequate parking, maintenance, danger to pedestrians travel times within the area now and the impact on health from slow moving traffic.

“There is also grave concern about health provision in the area and strain in the availability of adequate numbers of school places.

“The whole area could become one big ongoing partially built building site for it is not too clear as to who will build the many thousands of houses now being proposed and who will be able to purchase, or even afford them.”

The scheme will see more than 48,000 homes be built in England, while three larger garden towns will also be built.

Conservative MP Gavin Barwell, minister for housing and planning, said: “Locally-led garden towns and villages have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need. 

“New communities not only deliver homes, they also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies. 

“These places combined could provide almost 200,000 homes.”