Tebay-style service plans on M56 fuel mixed reactions
AMBITIOUS’ plans to create Tebay-style motorway services with a farm shop, kitchen and 100-room hotel have drawn mixed reactions.
The proposal to build Tatton Services between Junctions 7 and 8 on the M56 was submitted to Cheshire East Council in March and attracted widespread comment.
The concept is based on the success of Tebay Services on M6 which promotes local food, crafts and clothing.
The Westmorland family have a strong track record of supporting local growers and have partnered with the Tatton Estate to bring their model to Cheshire.
The development has won accolades for showcasing local growers and suppliers, supporting the economy and creating hundreds of new jobs.
However, residents called it an “environmental disaster” due to the loss of the “old green belt” and increased noise, pollution and traffic.
Businesses fear this could threaten nearby shopping malls and believe that existing service stations already provide sufficient facilities for drivers.
The National Trust and Historic England are supporting the bid.
A National Trust spokesperson said: ‘We consider the proposed development to be well designed and welcome the approach to sustainable building design, the net biodiversity gain and the stated intention to work with trust and other parties in the development of a sustainable transport network. .
“We note the intention to focus on local suppliers and employment and welcome that.”
Cheshire business leaders are supportive of the proposal, saying ‘its engineering and design was favorable to the local environment’.
They believe the development would ‘provide important local jobs’ and ‘enhance Cheshire’s national appeal’.
Cheshire Country Lane and Business Association hailed the creation of 325 jobs.
A spokesperson said: “Tatton Services will provide essential economic oxygen to the region when boosting economic prosperity is vital.
“Schools will have a better understanding of the ‘farm to fork’ philosophy.”
Cllr Charlotte Leach, who represents Mobberley, said: ‘This development would create new jobs, support local businesses and bring real economic and social benefits to the area.
A resident said, “I’m a big fan of Tebay’s philosophy. They only use local suppliers ranging from the food they sell and serve to the interiors of their hotel.
“I’ve visited three of their motorway developments and wish all the service stations were so carefully designed with sustainability in mind.”
However, Moto Hospitality, which owns and operates Knutsford Services, say the new development is too close to their facilities on the M6 and Lymm Services on the M56/M6.
Their objection states: “Tatton would not fill any significant supply gaps.
High Legh Primary School is concerned about increased traffic and air pollution, which it says will ‘further harm the health of residents and schoolchildren’.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust opposes the plans and says there is insufficient evidence to support the applicant’s calculated net biodiversity gain assessment.
High Legh Parish Council is concerned about the ‘very considerable loss of green belt land’. Their objection is: ‘We believe this development would create a destination in its own right and not just be a stop for motorway users to refuel and rest.
“It would have a negative impact on traffic.”
Furious residents are worried about the impact the development could have on the local community.
One opponent said: ‘It will be an environmental disaster and will increase the urbanization of Altrincham.
Another resident added: “The huge increase in traffic would make traveling around the area very dangerous while the pollution and damage to natural habitats would be enormous.”
Another objector said: ‘I am not a political person or a drummer, but I know when something is wrong and this planned development seems to be a pure example of commercialism and profiteering rather than common sense.
“Millions have been pumped into the regeneration of Altrincham and it’s working. So why now drag trade and workers out of town again.
One local said: ‘Cheshire was known for its beautiful green belt.
“Everywhere you look factories are being built along the M56.”
A date has not yet been set for a decision.