CHESHIRE East has approved a 139-home retirement complex at Alderley Park a year after it refused plans for a similar scheme for 159 extra care units on the same site.

Several objectors at Wednesday’s meeting of the strategic planning board spoke against the Symphony Park scheme, earmarked for Heatherley Woods.

Concerns included the mass and scale of the six storey-building, overlooking, loss of privacy and light pollution for nearby residents, particularly those on Morris Drive.

Cllr Anthony Harrison (Chelford, Con), speaking as a neighbouring ward councillor, asked the committee to refuse the ‘tweaked application’.

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Anthony HarrisonCllr Anthony Harrison (Image: Cheshire East Council)

“The proposed and intended landscaping plan to the south of the development provides little to no screening or privacy protection to the adjacent properties, both lower floors, and none whatsoever to the upper private bedrooms of residents and their children,” he said.

He added when residents bought their properties they were under the impression the site was to have 25 houses built on it.

The Symphony Park scheme will have 139 extra care units in a development ranging from two to six storeys high, in three linked ‘blocks’ and will include healthcare, wellbeing and amenity facilities.

Profits from the development will be ploughed into a new build proposed for the life science sector at Alderley Park.

But Nether Alderley parish councillor Lesley Gleave said: “Residents are questioning why they would be expected to accept another 139 dwellings, with all the pressures this brings to local services, in order to finance the growth of the science park.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Craig Browne (Alderley Edge, Ind), speaking as a visiting councillor, was in favour of the scheme.

He said: “This development, indirectly, will support the continued growth of the Cheshire East economy at Alderley Park.”

Concerns were raised by some councillors about the impact on local GPs because most occupants would be in their 70s.

The applicant’s agent said a doctor would be on site weekly and a nurse daily.

He added: “People who live in these type of retirement communities age better and remain healthier longer than if they were lonely in their own houses.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Mary BrooksCllr Mary Brooks (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Macclesfield councillor Mary Brooks (Lab) said: “I can’t think of a better place to put a luxury C2 [residential] facility. There is a need for this in Cheshire East…

“I am convinced by the information from the applicant, this development will help residents live healthier lifestyles.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Heather SeddonCllr Heather Seddon (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Heather Seddon (Congleton, Lab) moved the application be approved saying: “I think the benefits outweigh the negatives…

“There is a niche there, we’re looking for wealthy people who are living in big family homes, that they are going to free up those family homes then that is going to provide houses for others.”

She added: “I think the £3m towards affordable housing [off site] is a big benefit for people at the other end of the economic scale.”

Cllr Ken Edwards (Bollington, Lab) seconded the approval.

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Stewart GardinerCllr Stewart Gardiner (Image: Cheshire East Council)

But Knutsford Stewart Gardiner (Con) said he had a number of concerns, including the impact of lights from a tall building on neighbouring houses.

He added: “The proposal we have here is significantly different to what was anticipated.

“I understand situations change, but we appear to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in terms of what’s being proposed.”

Knutsford Guardian: Cllr Thelma JacksonCllr Thelma Jackson (Image: Cheshire East Council)

Cllr Thelma Jackson (Prestbury, Con) agreed.

“It’s going to be un-neighbourly for a lot of people and a lot of people in those houses bought those houses in good faith thinking there was going to be houses on there and not this huge, huge apartment block,” she said.

The application was approved with nine councillors voting in favour and three against.