Parish appeal over car park
APARISH councillor has appealed to her community to get behind a controversial plan which means village allotments will be turned into a car park.
Alderley Edge Parish Council has a threepronged plan to redevelop the village’s Festival Hall and create community facilities. The first step is to build a new medical centre at the front of the hall for doctors from Alderley Edge Medical Practice. The current surgery – set across terraced properties on George Street – fails disabled access requirements and can no longer accommodate its 8,000 patients. Initial building work started in the New Year and parish councillors have decided to borrow £2m from the Public Works Loan Board to complete the project, a sum they plan to pay back with rent from the doctors.
Along with this, there are plans approved to refurbish the rest of Festival Hall so the venue can be used for more functions.
Parish councillors say all this requires extra parking, not just to serve the new surgery and Festival Hall, but also the village in general.
The third part of the plan is to create a car park on the neighbouring allotments at Heyes Lane.
Allotment holders objected to the plan but parish councillors issued them a notice to leave the plots and offered them a new allotment site at Lydiat Lane instead. The council has spent more than £3,000 on legal fees to fight the allotment holders’ objections.
The National Allotments Society has written to the parish council to say it was wrong to proceed with its plans, but the parish council intends to go ahead.
Now Coun Melanie Connor has issued an appeal to the Express, calling on residents to get behind the plan.
She said: “The medical centre is an essential step for the village and at the same time Festival Hall will be refurbished with features that will keep it a vital part of the village.
“The contentious issue is the new car park at Heyes Lane. We need it for the medical centre and Festival Hall but it goes further than that – we need it for the village.
“We have a vibrant village but it’s not all rosy. As businesses increase, restaurants get busier and we get more popular, parking gets tighter. We need a car park that takes the bulk of longer stay away from the two central car parks, allowing shoppers and diners to park and keep the village busy.
“The obvious spot is the Heyes Lane allotments. This will provide a good size car park, designed sympathetically with greenery. We are not simply throwing the allotment holders off with no thought, we have taken legal advice. The allot- ment site at Lydiat Lane will be fit for purpose with full and half size plots, raised beds and orchard planting, and Heyes Lane allotment holders will have first priority.
“The car park is not just for the medical centre – it’s for the village and its future.”
Fenton Simpson, chairman of Alderley Edge Allotments and Gardens Society, said allotment holders have the backing of the National Allotments Society.
He said: “The society has told the parish council that the car park plan goes against allotment law. There has been overwhelming objection to the proposal and we want the allotments left as a green space in the village.”
Email clerk@ alderleyedge-pc.gov.uk with views on the plan.
Heyes Lane allotments in Alderley Edge and inset, parish councillor Melanie Connor