ARAG has received concerns, and there has been much activity on Facebook, about a proposal to build a Football Stadium and Housing Development at Fanny’s Croft, Alsager (off Audley Road).

We understand the problems that Alsager Football Club has with its current location and their desire to significantly improve club facilities and alleviate severe parking problems at their current ground.

Unfortunately, they have chosen the wrong location for their new venture because Fanny’s Croft is in ‘Greenbelt Land’ and building on it would be contrary to long standing planning policy and there does not appear to be any over-riding reasons for setting aside this greenbelt policy.

Furthermore, the Cheshire East Local Plan has been formally submitted to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles MP, and will be subject to detailed inspection by the Planning Inspectorate prior to its formal adoption. This Local Plan does not include proposals for development of any sort at Fanny’s Croft  and although the Local Plan has yet to be approved by the Planning Inspectorate it already carries significant weight in planning decisions and/or appeals.

Cheshire East is insisting that they can demonstrate a 5 year Supply of Available House Building Land which means that developers should not be able claim that the saved policies of Congleton Borough Council are out of date. This allows the saved policies, regarding Intrusion into Open Countryside and Loss of Agricultural Land, to be employed to prevent the development of Fanny’s Croft.

Highway issues will also play an important role in any decision on development of this site.  Audley Road is narrow, with serious parking problems and an adjacent Railway Level Crossing, and residents are saying “it seems hard to imagine a worse place to add Football Stadium traffic and additional housing”.