Interesting that Don Bayliss in his 1992 Altrincham Book writes about the suitability of what we now call the Altair Site for development. He also comments that other areas of the town are being over developed. So relevant to the situation today.


St. John’s Church Planning Application

The long awaited Planning Application for St Johns Church is available for viewing. If anyone has concerns or would like the Civic Society to comment on your behalf please get in touch. The Heritage statement says that plaques etc will be retained but local residents may have other issues.
To view the application on the TBC Planning Website CLICK HERE


CIVIC VOICE WEBINAR on 1st July with Andy von Bradsky: Head of Architecture,
Ministry of Housing Community and Local Government (MHCLG).

Chair joined the Civic Voice Webinar on 1st July.

Andy talked about their Design Guide and how the Government is trying to create well-designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful.  CLICK HERE TO READ THE GUIDE (pdf file)

Andy is very much involved in public space design and he gave examples of where Design has worked well.

Concern was expressed by attendees about permitted development rights where offices can be turned into living space without windows and space.

Trafford B.C., is currently in the throes of putting together their own design guide.


CIVIC VOICE WEBINAR Hosted by Ian Harvey, Civic Voice’s Executive Director on 7th July with Matt Bell, Head of Public Affairs for Grosvenor Property Group.

Chair joined the Civic Voice webinar, Hosted by Ian Harvey, on 7th July with Matt Bell,
Head of Public Affairs for Grosvenor.  Grosvenor Group is one of the world’s largest privately-owned international property businesses.

Ian talked to Matt about all things public trust and Matt then took him through the Community Charter.
It’s available to read via:

The Charter aims to set a new standard for public engagement across Grosvenor’s business and to give the
communities we work with meaningful involvement in how their neighbourhoods are managed and evolve.

Can Grosvenor’s new Community Charter help to rebuild public trust in the planning system?

In 2019, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland published the largest ever canvassing of public trust in large-scale development in the UK.
It found that trust in the planning system is almost non-existent. When it comes to planning for large-scale development,
just 2% of the public trust developers and only 7% trust local authorities.

Ian Harvey chatted to Matt about perceived lack of trust in the planning system.
There are 4 recommendations for developers:
open up
make it easier
be accountable
He said engagaement from developers and local authorities is not great but there are some good examples.
It is important that young people should be involved and their research shows the young are not so much
interested in buildings as in public space.
He strongly recommends not using consultants but training up in house staff.
He regrets the work CABE (Chartered Association of Building Engineers) did is no more.
Grosvenor are about to publish a National Youth Involvement Toolkit.
He recommends looking at a London Plan.

Chair commented they are a bit London centric but are doing something in Liverpool.



Our Chair joined A Civic Voice webinar with Sarah Richards from the Government Planning Inspectorate was of particular interest to Altrincham as our planners always alert us to appeals from developers when planning applications are refused.

There are 800 Planning Inspectorate staff and offices in Bristol and Cardiff. Inspectors all work from home as they have always done.

She was asked about the Community right to Challenge a planning decision. At the moment only the applicant can apart from judicial review.

They had been looking at more virtual sessions anyway but this has been accelerated.
She gave figures which showed out of 15,000 appeals only 5,000 succeeded.

Community groups can apply for Section 6 status (where individuals or groups are treated as a main interested party and entitled to receive documentation) only at actual inquiries to give evidence.
(There are 250 public inquiries yearly)

Site visits. Most are unaccompanied unless access is required

The Society thinks that a question about barristers representing planning departments and developers and costs pending should be raised.



BORIS Johnson will unleash a series of controversial planning reforms in the early new year, in a bid to turbocharge home building and solve Britain’s housing shortage. The rapid assault, expected as early as January, was revealed by the PM’s most senior advisor Mr Dominic Cummings in a briefing to all ministerial aides in No10 on 16th June.

Changes planned include:
• Allowing developers and homeowners to build upwards, adding up to two extra storeys on homes and blocks of flats without necessarily needing approval.

• Building on greenbelt areas where there are already developments, such as around railway stations.

• A new system of rebates to rapidly speed up the green light to build from councils is also being plotted. Under it, applicants will get their fees repaid in full if local authorities don’t meet tight deadlines.

• Scrapping a regulation that forces builders to apply for permission if they want to demolish a commercial property and replace it with homes. A green paper from the Institute of Civil Engineers to transfer office space to housing rapidly.

The substantial overhaul is designed to deliver on independent estimates that Britain must build 300,000 new homes a year to solve the nation’s housing shortage.

Let us know if you spot any unusual activity in your area that might involve planning.  If you do or have any other views on this, please contact us through the website contact page.



Some good news from our point of view, we have heard that TBC Planning Meetings are to recommence officially next week, with a Virtual Meeting taking place on Thursday 28th May.



Station Buildings aka Stamford House has been sold by Petros to the Pervaiz Naviede Trust Property Investment Company, based in Salford Quays. David Eastwood and the late Harry Scholar were largely responsible for rescuing the building from long term dereliction. Sue Nichols ensured that the interior fittings were kept. It is being described as mixed use (retail on ground floor and rented apartments above) .Originally it was professional services. Petros intended eventually to sell the residential so we shall be keeping an eye open. Atlanta Chamber sis part of the sale. The very large advertisement on a wall owned by Network Rail has prevented better use of Atlanta House by blocking the windows so again we shall watch for developments.


Bruntwood has announced it is furlowing staff

Bruntwood has announced it is furlowing staff so let’s hope it doesn’t affect the joint ventures in the town centre. They are part of the plans announced to turn Wythenshawe Hospital into a “sustainable health village” which will mean building on green belt.


Wheatsheaf Hotel in the Sandiway Conservation Area is the subject to a Planning Application for the site to be redeveloped, changing the use to residential with retention of the buildings with additional building together with an underground car park. The Civic Soc is objecting on the grounds of over-intensive use of the site. Liz Lewis will be sent a copy.


For the latest Trafford B C planning lists,  CLICK HERE





Green Space Strategy

Trafford MBC is to review their Green Space Strategy as it is now ten years old. The review will cover all aspects of green space including parks, recreation space, children’s play space, public health, biodiversity, and climate change.
The Altrincham & Bowdon Civic Society will be making a contribution to the revision to ensure no green space is lost and what we currently have is enhanced and complimented. If you would like to be involved then either contact the Civic Society or Trafford direct. Trafford have already said they want the review and rewrite to have as much public involvement as possible.
The loss of Green Belt land within the Trafford boundary is outside the scope of this review except where it might impinge on recreation space.
The 2009 Strategy document can be found here

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Altrincham & Bowdon Civic Society made a contribution to the second public consultation of the proposals contained within the new Greater Manchester Spatial Framework. We have been drawing on the expertise of the Council for the Protection of Rural England who have done some excellent work on detailing how the Framework’s employment and housing needs figures far exceed what is really going to be required. Using more realistic employment figures the loss of Green Belt will be much less.

Altrincham and Bowdon Civic Society is taking the opportunity to liaise with Strategic Planning at Trafford Council to ensure the community is kept informed of developments.  Through the A&BCS website we will be alerting you to ways you can influence this final iteration once the consultation restarts.

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