Planning application submitted for Gatley Golf Club

by Lib Dem team on 4 September, 2021

Stockport Council’s Planning Department has just informed us that a planning application for Gatley Golf Club has been received and “validated” – meaning that the application meets the basic requirements of the council, not that it has been approved for building to start.

The Lib Dem team is disappointed that the developer has not done what we asked, that in advance of any formal planning application, there should be further public consultation on the detailed proposals. But since a planning application has been published, we now enter a period of consultation, managed by the council itself.

We have not yet had time to look at the application in detail (there are hundreds of pages of information), but will be doing so over the next few days. The formal wording for the application is as follows:

DC/081468, Gatley Golf Club. Outline planning permission (access only) for up to 297 dwellings, retention of the existing Heald Green Community Theatre building, retention of the existing Clubhouse to facilitate its use as a community hub (sui generis) for flexible uses within Use Class E (a)(b)(e)(g(i)) and Class F2, associated landscaping and open space and pedestrian and vehicular access from Pymgate Lane, Styal Grove, Grasmere road and Troutbeck Road.

We are sure that many residents will want to comment on the application, and you can see the information and comment online here. There are 35 documents associated with the application, covering issues including housing mix, landscape strategy, road layout and access plan, flood risk and very much more.

Any comments should be submitted via the planning page on the website, or by email to planning.dc@stockport.gov.uk, clearly stating the reference number DC/081468.

The law says that if we – as councillors – commit to being for or against the application, we will be unable to take part in the decision making. For this reason, we have so far avoided this, instead asking questions, pressing for more consultation and ensuring everyone is informed. We will be considering the best way to approach the application over the coming weeks.

   30 Comments

30 Responses

  1. David Johnson says:

    It is very, very clear that the existing environment cannot function humanly and effectively with any additions in such an enclosed space. Many of us residents have stated this many times in the past.

  2. Alan says:

    An obvious one is any traffic exiting on either side will seriously affect existing roads and housing. How they think Styal Rd can take any more traffic is beyond me, but then they’re not bothered about that it seems. Iain is there any modelling available on likely traffic volumes and their impact?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Alan – traffic modelling needs to be part of any planning application of this scale. We’ve not had a chance to go through all the documents yet, but it should either be there already or be included by the time the application comes to committee for a decision.

  3. Arthur says:

    Is there going to be any provision for an additional Doctors surgery for this area and extra funding for school places.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Arthur – that’s something that will need to be looked at: whether there’s capacity at the moment, or whether more are needed. Some developments include funding for additional school places.

  4. David T says:

    Good that the LibDems are giving everyone an opportunity to publicly discuss a major project that will seriously impact Gatley and Heald Green.
    Traffic, environment, ecology, local drainage will all be impacted with detrimental consequences for the existing communities.
    There are brown field sites that would fulfil housing shortages in the lower price ranges.
    Everyone needs to speak up, voices loud and clear.

    • Bruce says:

      David – the problem is people would shy away from brown field sites as would some building contractors. At least they have some affordable homes in the plan.

  5. Jen says:

    I live on the lakes estate and I think this is a fantastic idea if carried out properly. But it needs to be affordable housing so that our children and grandchildren can afford to buy in the area and live close to their families rather than pricing them out of our area further.

  6. Margaret Sidebotham says:

    Please do not take any more of Gatley’s open space. Make this land accessible for all to walk on and for children to play, and for us all to breathe.
    And please do not lay any more burdens on Styal Road! How could it cope if each house had only one car, and some will have more.

    • John says:

      Your comment is the best one here Margaret. This piece of open space is a huge benefit to all the area around. With all it’s trees etc and few man-made emissions we so need little places like this to be kept and recognised for what they give us – clean air, natural environment and the preservation of it’s wildlife. I live on the Lakes and i will do my very best to stop this ridiculous awful development proposal and try to keep it for local residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.

      • Bruce says:

        John – grand idea if it was council owned but it isn’t – it’s a golf course and privately owned and they have every right to determine it’s fate within the normal redevelopment framework.

        We also have a national house shortage so as long as it is landscaped aesthetically the plan will probably go ahead.

  7. John H says:

    We are probably looking at over 1000 people sharing overstretched local services and probably 500 to 600 cars on the new estate. Careful consideration is required and not a knee jerk “We need more houses”

  8. Val Roberts says:

    Can we all think of the environmental impact in the future .The area has already limited resources in Infrastructure and no bus service down Styal Road .
    The devastating impact to wildlife is upsetting.
    A smaller development well separated and leaving plenty of green space for the community would be preferable.
    Lets think about the existing community not greed for developers for a change

  9. Jennifer Bradbury says:

    Good morning Iain
    Lum Head school is onTroutbeck and the road is narrow It’s not going to be suitable for all the traffic going to use the road Jennifer

  10. Beryl says:

    I lived on Troutbeck for many years close to the proposed access. This road is narrow and very bendy, not at all suitable for the number of cars which will be using it. Also the exit of this road is either A 34 or Gatley Road both of which have heavy traffic. To use this road as an access road is waiting for a serious accident to happen. Also the bird and wildlife on the proposed site will be sadly destroyed.

  11. Jay says:

    Iain,

    It is time for you not to sit on the fence and actively oppose this.

    I can see you have come up with a reason not to. I must admit I’m not hopeful as you have done nothing regarding this topic (other than fob people off) over the past several years, time to retire and step aside for a Councillor that represents the vast majority of us.

    Not the few fan boys who are benefiting financially from this. It is a shame that these people do not have to declare a conflict of interest, as the rumoured £100k per member would cloud most people’s judgement. Less than 1% of the communities of Gatley and Heald Green benefit financially and if approved this development will join Gatley & Heald Green with houses and remove a priceless green field site.

    This needs to be challenged as the golf club operated under charitable status. It is not their land to sell. Who joins a golf club (or any club) to allow it to fail and then make a lot of money selling it?

    Best answer is to join the club and support it, but they would rather sell out. Solve the problem by stopping this in its tracks (no pay out for golf club members) or return the land to our communities.

    Don’t forget that as noted in the Stockport Plan, GGC is a green chain site. The plan states;

    Gatley golf course / Rose Vale Park – Area of some 25ha. Between Gatley and Heald Green containing private and public recreation facilities and making a major contribution to green chain network.

    All is not lost. This is why Hollins Strategic Land had to spread the bullshit liberally, with promises of allotments (0.33 out of 18 plus hectares) and a long list of other benefits, meaning that concreting over this green field site results in over a 10% net biodiversity gain!

    If the list of improvements was implemented (which includes bowling green, tennis courts which Gatley already has), it would leave little room for houses, or the money needed to pay the golf club members…

    Time for all of us to stand up and be counted.

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your comment. We’ve heard a range of views on the golf club (and it’s certainly not true that those in favour of some development are all benefiting financially from it). I have not “come up with a reason” to avoid committing myself in public, I’ve noted what the law of the land says and followed it. If that’s not acceptable to you, so be it.

    • Phil says:

      There are less than 150 members at the club…if they’re only getting £100k each then they’re being ripped off! After they had their amateur club status removed by HMRC last year, HSL gave the club £150k to sign a Promotional Deal…allowing HSL to sell the land for a share in the profits. If HSL get planning permission and sell the land for the same as the Seashell Trust fields then that’s nearer £48millon…which would be more like £300k each.

  12. jenb says:

    Yes, we need to comment on the council website, not just on here. Also a petition might help?

  13. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Jen – there’s no harm in a petition, but bear in mind that the final decision – whether by councillors or a government planning inspector – will be based not on “do local people want this” but on “does this meet national and local planning policies”. That’s just how the law works.

    The most important thing is definitely to comment on the council website and to say why you think the application doesn’t meet planning policies.

  14. jenb says:

    Thanks Iain, that clarifies things. To build on green space and have more traffic etc in an area, definitely seems to go against things like The European Green Deal, and Net Zero 2050. Maybe these different policies are working against each other?

    Is there any possibility of changing the planning policies, or is that at governmental level?

  15. Phil says:

    The LibDems have a 5:3:1 majority on the Area Committee that will hear this and vote to recommend it or not – a key step which developers will be watching, hoping for support for their application. Given the agreement at the recent conference for the motion put forward by Cheadle North’s Tom Morrison to massively increase the number of houses built nationally (to 380,000 a year) will hat motion or the larger political party have influence over this application?
    I’m sure it’s easy to say that each application is reviewed on it’s merits but could the Lib Dems be accused of Nimbyism if they didn’t vote to take on some of that burden locally?

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Phil – the planning application will be decided by the council’s Planning & Highways committee. Councillors at both Area Committee and P&H will consider whether the planning application meets national and local planning policy – as we’re required to do in planning law. If we don’t do that correctly, any decision the council reaches can be overturned by the inspector or in the courts.

      • Phil says:

        Iain,
        I believe the councillors role in planning is wider than simply checking compliance – that’s for the planning officer to do before passing it the councillors.
        Councillors can object on “material considerations” and, I believe, if the application contains misrepresentations.
        As it says in the handbook, “Your job on committee is to take on board the information in the planning teams report, to listen to the discussions and any submissions and to reach your own conclusions with regard to the weight that is given to each consideration.”
        However, back to my original concern re a party line vote supporting this. Given Tom sits on the committee due to vote on this what assurances are there that all the concerns raised will be considered?

  16. Phil says:

    For anyone considering writing in about this, there are some below are some hints and tips from the councillors handbook.

    (page 13 if that link works…)
    https://www.local.gov.uk/sites/default/files/documents/11.63%20-%20Cllr%20Planning%20workbook_02.pdf

    I’ll also copy in the items which councillors don’t consider material.

    The following “material
    considerations” are relevant in most planning
    applications:
    • national planning policy and guidance
    • draft policy (which gains weight the further
    along in the process it is)
    • environmental impacts of the proposal
    (eg impact on ecology or landscape value),
    • social impacts (eg loss of privacy, light or
    overshadowing) , and
    • economic impacts of the proposal (eg
    regeneration value, new homes bonus,
    s106 contributions)
    • access (including disabled persons
    access) and provision of infrastructure
    for the site
    • the design and appearance of the
    proposal
    • the planning history of the site
    • the views of organisations and individuals
    in relation to relevant planning matters
    • the likelihood that the development will
    be delivered (especially including
    economic viability).

  17. Phil says:

    The following issues are not
    material considerations for
    planning decisions:
    • loss of views
    • negative impact on property values
    • competition between individual
    businesses
    • moral considerations (eg religious
    objections to licenced premises)
    • political or ideological opinions
    • the cost of the development
    • whether or not the applicant owns the site
    • issues covered by other legislation
    (eg building regulations)
    • the character of the applicant

  18. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Phil,

    You are right – within the planning rules and law that councillors consider are what are called “material considerations”. As you rightly point out, there are also a whole range of issues which are not material considerations and so we cannot consider.

    As councillors, our job on planning is to consider the application against the national and local policies (which includes those material considerations). That’s what Tom and the rest of us do in every meeting. We look at the application, read and listen to all the comments (for and against) and reach a view.

  19. Mazin Al-Saffar says:

    How the new development on GATLEY GOLF CLUB will meet the requirements of Stockport Unitary Development Plan Review​ / UOS 1.2 PROTECTION OF STRATEGIC OPEN SPACE ..P40? please consider what you have in your report.

    “Gatley Golf Course/Rose Vale Park – Area of some 25 ha. between Gatley and Heald Green containing private and public recreation facilities and making major contribution to Green Chain network.”

    • Iain Roberts says:

      Hi Mazin – you’re right, the golf club is the strategic open space and that does offer some protection. However, in planning terms, that isn’t at outright ban on development. The council will need to balance the land status against the housing rules: the government says that when councils aren’t building enough homes (and it doesn’t think that Stockport is), designations like this carry less weight.

      I certainly don’t have enough information to make that judgement, so we’ll see first what view the council’s planning officers reach and consider that.

  20. Phil says:

    You might find this website interesting. I’ve never met/talked with them but they are sharing information which is always a good thing.
    https://savegatleygolfclub.co.uk/

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