TATTON Estate has offered assurances to Knutsford Football Club about its future in the wake of what the club has dubbed a ‘once in a generation’ housing scheme.

Tatton Estate has submitted plans for Bluebell Village, a ‘village community’ off Manchester Road in Knutsford.

The scheme would include up to 300 homes and a village centre with local shops and facilities, including space for GPs and dentists.

Tatton Estate said the application boundary intentionally included all the estate’s nearby ownership, including Knutsford Football and Sports Clubs, to protect and enhance them.

It stressed the scheme contained no proposals for their redevelopment, they were retained as Protected Open Space and would benefit from the opportunities and investment Bluebell Village would bring.

Knutsford FC chairman Jimmy Evans told the Guardian the club would welcome investment in its Manchester Road ground, but would need guarantees over its future.

The club has been speaking to local councillors, planning officers and the FA about the application, and met Tatton MP Esther McVey last week.

Mr Evans said: “Knutsford Football Club would obviously welcome investment by Tatton Estate in our historic and award-winning ground and the assurances in their public statements that their planning application contains no proposals for the club’s redevelopment and is protected.

“However, this new plan proposes significant changes to the published and adopted local town plan from 2017, on which there was a full neighbourhood consultation and in which our ground is fully protected.

“The new plan seeks to extend and expand the adopted red line boundary to intentionally include Knutsford FC and the Sports Club within a much larger development ‘zone’, but adds ‘the site is to be retained as protected open space’ (the meaning is unclear).

“Planning law and planning applications are complex subjects; the club is seeking advice and guidance on this, and has engaged with local councillors, Cheshire East planning and the FA, and held a meeting with MP Esther McVey last week.

“We intend making comments and providing a response to this planning application, and would urge the public to express their views.

“This new plan for NW Knutsford and its implications for the club, the neighbours and the town merits very careful consideration as this is a ‘once in a generation’ major housing proposal.

“Do these plans provide for investment in the club or do they threaten the club’s future existence at Manchester Road?

“The club has engaged often with Tatton Estate during the past six years on the subject of our future. It has stated the club is protected, secure and sustainable, and we trust this is the case.

“However, with the clock ticking for providing a considered response to the application and the potential consequences for the club, we will need guarantees of future provision that ensure our protection, security and sustainability for the next generation of local youths who aspire to play for the town’s football club.”

A spokesman for Tatton Estate said: “It is incorrect to suggest that plans for Bluebell Village will impact Knutsford Football Club’s protected site designation.

“The application is entirely consistent with the Cheshire East Local Plan and therefore, the combination of the Plan, Sports England’s involvement and – importantly – Tatton Estate’s long-standing commitment and track record of providing sports facilities, will ensure the club remains protected indefinitely.”

Comments on the application, reference 18/3672M, can be made on the Cheshire East planning portal until August 30.