THE Mayor of Knutsford has written to the developer behind the Longridge scheme formally asking for the controversial 225-home application to be withdrawn.

The site, which is east of Longridge at Knutsford, was removed from the Green Belt in 2017 as part of the Cheshire East Local Plan.

In November it was designated a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and part of it is also now officially Designated Ancient Woodland.

And at Cheshire East’s full council meeting in December, Knutsford councillor Tony Dean asked whether Longridge, together with the South Macclesfield Development Area, could be looked at again as part of the local plan review as both had environmental concerns.

Now it has emerged Knutsford mayor Mike Houghton has called on Dewscope Ltd to pull the application.


Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Mike HoughtonCllr Mike Houghton (Image: Knutsford Town Council)

In the letter, Cllr Houghton says: “You will no doubt be aware of the significant public opposition to the proposed development for your land east of Longridge and of our council’s specific objections to the proposals on a number of grounds including the means of access.

“Notwithstanding this, we note the recent designation of the site as a Local Wildlife Site and area of High Habitat Distinctiveness by Cheshire Wildlife Trust. These designations highlight the ecological importance of this site which can be easily appreciated by anyone who has walked the area.

“This ecological importance was not well understood when the site was allocated for development in the Cheshire East Local Plan 2017.”

The mayor continues: “Whilst the town council recognises the need for more housing to meet local need, it is also deeply conscious of both climate emergency faced by the planet and the ongoing decline in nature and biodiversity with sites such as this being vital to the conservation of our ecology and ecosystems.

“Offsite mitigation for the destruction of such an area is not sufficient.

“With the understanding of the importance of this site, I am writing to urge you to withdraw the planning application and for plans to instead be made for the continued conservation and enhancement of the biodiversity of this site.”

The letter, which has now been uploaded on to the planning portal on Cheshire East's website, was sent to the developer in December.

The mayor has not received a reply.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has contacted the developer for a comment but had no response.