A GARDEN centre near Knutsford looks set to be bulldozed to make way for housing.

Kevin and Tracey Warburton have applied to Cheshire East Council for outline permission to flatten 12 storage buildings and greenhouses at Oakwood Nurseries in Chelford Road at Ollerton and build 10 homes, three of them affordable.

The site is in the green belt where land is usually protected from development.

But, in a report to next week’s northern planning committee, the council’s planning officer states: “The proposals would have a slightly greater impact on the openness of the green belt in terms of the spread of built form and height, but this impact would be less than substantial in terms of harm.”

With regard to the loss of the employment site, the report states: “The warehouse and nursery use would relocate and there would be no discernible loss of employment due to development, given that the predominant use of buildings is as storage.”

Ollerton with Marthall Parish Council has objected to the scheme, saying: “There is no purpose in these houses and no very special circumstances to outweigh the potential harm to the green belt. They will accelerate urbanisation.”

Two local residents have objected, saying there are already four huge green belt areas in Knutsford which have recently been granted permission.

They also argue there will an impact on local facilities and the green belt.

The planning officer has recommended the application be approved, with conditions.

The report states: “It is recognised the provision of 10 additional houses including three affordable units within the site would provide some social benefits to the area.

"The scheme would also help to provide family housing on a ‘previously developed’ site."

It adds: "Some direct and indirect benefits for the local economy will also be evident, including additional trade for local shops and businesses, jobs in construction and economic benefits to the construction industry supply chain could also be supported within the local area and wider Cheshire East environment."

The northern planning committee meeting takes place at 10am at Macclesfield Town Hall on Wednesday, July 5.