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Cuddington – Case Study

Land Acquisition

Ainscough Strategic Land agreed to purchase the former Nestle yoghurt factory on the A49, Warrington Road in Cuddington, Cheshire in late November 2008 and the unconditional purchase was completed in early January 2009, demonstrating the company’s ability to act fast.

Planning

Our planning experience and expertise enabled us to spot an opportunity that all others had missed.

  • Firstly, the site was recognised in the Vale Royal Local Plan as a Employment allocation within the Green Belt, but Nestle had not operated from the factory since 2007 and it was clear that such a bespoke factory complex had no future use as employment;
  • Secondly, the planning landscape in Cheshire was set to go through fundamental change, when in April 2009, when Vale Royal Council would become part of the new Cheshire West and Cheshire (CWAC) unitary authority. This created a planning policy “vacuum” but also provided significant impetus to the project from officers at the newly formed Cheshire West and Chester.

Engagement

Ainscough Strategic Land began immediately to engage with the planners, who immediately grasped the potential for the site and began working with Ainscough Strategic Land’s development team to prepare a new Development Brief to provide a policy basis for the site and guide the site’s future development.

Once the initial ideas for the site were developed through the Development Brief, Ainscough Strategic Land and officers began to consult local politicians about the plans. The Development Brief was resourced by ASL and its development team, with huge input from CWAC officers. The Development Brief took 6 months to prepare and was ultimately approved by the Council late in 2009.

As part of the process, the local community were consulted and encouraged to provide their views on what alternative use the site could be put to.

Ainscough Strategic Land was then able to move forward towards an outline planning application. As part of the planning application preparations, Ainscough Strategic Land undertook further consultation, with a two day public exhibition, held at the local parish church hall. Over 270 people attended to provide their views and separate presentations were given to Cuddington Parish Council.

Through this ongoing and sustained community engagement, it became clear that most people favoured a residential development over a mixed use proposal, with an overriding desire to see something happen to the by then decaying and vandalised eyesore.

Application

The outline application for 156 houses, open space, wildflower meadows, allotments and associated landscaping was submitted in September 2010 and was approved in February 2011. As part of the development, Ainscough Strategic Land agreed to provide 30% of the housing as affordable housing and this was agreed as part of a S.106 Agreement package, which was entered into in June 2011. Other benefits that accrued from the scheme were major improvements to the access arrangements, new pedestrian crossing over the A49 and a financial contribution toward the local parish facilities.

Management

Throughout the planning, engagement and application processes, Ainscough Strategic Land managed the site with care and attention. Neighbours were concerned about the security of the site and through dialogue with the local police force and local residents, a management and security regime were put in place to prevent unwanted attention and visits. ASL paid for a SmartWater system and erected signage to alert thieves that the system was in operation. This was highly effective and significantly reduced undesirable activity.

Ainscough Strategic Land also contracted the management of the demolition process to a specialist demolition contractor who undertook the demolition process. Particular attention was paid to a group of house martins who had taken residence in the main creamery building and working with CWAC officers, the demolition contractor programmed the demolition to co-inside with bird’s summer migration.

Marketing and disposal

The site was marketed and attracted a huge amount of interest, being widely regarded as the best North West residential development site to be sold since the start of the recession. The marketed campaign for the site was executed to perfection and the result was an unconditional sale of the outline planning permission to Taylor Wimpey for a significant sum.

Click Here to Download Cuddington Development Brief

Land and Planning from Ainscough Strategic Land

Thoughtfully achieving potential