Cuddington's going for growth with £30 million development (with audio)

PUBLISHED: 10:19 06 June 2011 | UPDATED: 18:51 20 February 2013

An aerial shot of the village of Cuddington

An aerial shot of the village of Cuddington

A derelict eyesore in this pretty rural village could be given a new lease of life. <br/>Emma Mayoh reports

What do you think of the plans for Cuddington? If you live in the village are you pleased or peeved with the proposals for the former factory site?

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John Douglas would have been curious to hear the current plans for Cuddington. The renowned architect designed more than 500 buildings in Cheshire, North Wales and the North West including some in Cuddington and the rural village it borders, Sandiway, where he lived.

The condition of the derelict factory on the 20-acre site, left to decay after production of Nestle Ski yoghurt moved to mainland Europe in 2007, would surely cause a raised eyebrow from the famous designer. The factory used to churn out products to be sent around the world and provided jobs and income for the village. Then everything changed and the site has been unused and empty since.

But 30 million plans have been put forward by Ainscough Strategic Development, aimed at reviving the eyesore, which sits at the northern boundary of the village. If planning permission is granted - and a decision is expected any day now - the old factory would be flattened and the area transformed.

The run down site, which was bought by Ainscoughs in February 2009, would be replaced with around 160 family homes, allotments and new public open spaces as well as new links and improved access between the site and the village. A new wildflower meadow would also be cultivated to help the new development blend into Cuddingtons existing rural landscape.

Ainscough Strategic Land bought the huge site in 2009 and more than 18 months of consultation and planning have taken place. The company, who have other projects across the region, have already had several developers lodge their interest in the site.

Paul Martin, Ainscoughs land director, said: Cuddington is a very successful village which is why we chose to invest in it. We want to build on and contribute to that success and to turn the site into a real positive.

This is a vandalised old factory which has been a long term eyesore but we want to turn it into a real asset for the village and to deliver new facilities. We feel it will benefit the wider community as well as the residents who will eventually live there.

The plans, if given the go ahead by Chester West and Cheshires planning committee, are likely to increase significantly the population of the village, which is currently just over 5,000 people.

At a recent Cuddington Parish Council meeting, members supported the plans and recommended that the application to regenerate the site should be accepted. They praised the provision of open space and allotments but raised concerns over traffic and access.

But Paul, who has worked for Ainscoughs for four years, said: The traffic in the village and on the A49, which is a very busy road, is an issue that is very important to the community and has been very high on their agenda. We are working with Cheshire West and the Highways Authority on a signalled junction to slow traffic.

We have worked with the local community throughout the whole process and the overall feeling from Cuddington has been supportive. They are pleased about getting rid of the factory and we are delighted to be delivering what the community has asked us for.

There are also some concerns locally that the increased number of people living in Cuddington could pile pressure on local services and the local schools. But Yvonne Elliott, headteacher at Cuddington Primary School, said: I think a residential development is a good use of the land.

We can take some of the children into our school and there are places in schools in Weaverham too. Almost anything is going to be an improvement at the moment because its not an attractive site. It could be good for the village.

I dont live in Cuddington, so from that perspective I dont have a strong opinion on the development either way, but at the moment we do have places available in our school which we can fill.

And the local postmistress, who asked not to be named, had a few concerns but was broadly in support of the development. It will be much better redeveloped, she said. Its just an eyesore on the landscape at the moment with broken windows everywhere.

It will mean more work for us as there will be more people to provide a service for. We have already lost some of our local post offices which meant more work but this could make the situation worse. But I will be glad to get rid of whats there now.

Ainscough Strategic Developments hope to have a developer in place and for work to start within a year and for the new homes to be built within the next two to three years. Planning permission must first be granted but, according to Paul, there is an even brighter future for Cuddington.

I think what we have achieved is an exceptional example of what can be achieved when you work together as much as possible. We feel very proud to be involved in turning this empty old factory from a derelict, anti-social playground into a sustainable and vibrant part of a successful village.

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