PLANS to build a 1,100-home ‘garden suburb’ linking Crewe with Shavington have been unveiled.

A masterplan for a 21-acre development bordering Rope Lane, Crewe Road and the A500 bypass could completely transform the Green Gap to the south of Crewe.

Newton-le-Willows developer Himor Group says the ‘Gresty Oaks’ scheme is in response to Crewe’s draft town strategy that anticipates a need for 3,300 new homes.

But Clr Steven Hogben, ward member for Crewe South, described it as ‘unsustainable’ and ‘absurd’.

The plans have yet to be submitted to Cheshire East Council but are expected to include a district centre, village greens, parks, woodlands, provision for a new primary school as well as improved parking and playing fields for the Crewe Alexandra Soccer and Community Centre.

Himor says that the development, combined with the Basford East and West proposals, could form a ‘southern gateway for Crewe’.

Nigel McGurk, a non-executive director at Himor, described it as a ‘watershed moment’ for Himor and the town and said it would help realise the ‘All Change For Crewe’ vision.

“Gresty Oaks sets a benchmark for the quality of places that we want to create,” he added.

But Clr Hogben, who is also a member of Shavington Parish Council, said: “Basically it’s an urban extension in an area that doesn’t have the infrastructure to support it.”

He told the Guardian that ‘Gresty Oaks’ is one of 10 development proposals that are currently being considered for Shavington which would total 2,500 new homes if they were all approved.

The current population of the village is 1,700.

“It’s just absurd,” said Clr Hogben, of Salisbury Avenue.

“If you add it all up it’s quite incredible. That would more than double the size of the village – 2,500 is a new town. We’re talking a population increase of 6,000 people.

“They may argue that it’s sustainable but it isn’t. The primary schools, for example, are full.

“There is housing need in Cheshire East, particularly for young people, but it’s in places like Knutsford and Wilmslow where affordable housing is needed.

“There’s plenty of affordable housing in Crewe.”

But Samuel Stafford, Himor’s head of planning, said the aim of the plans was to deliver homes, jobs and economic growth for Crewe.

He added: “We appreciate that local people are rightly proud of their area, but we also sense an appreciation that Crewe has to expand to ensure it’s future prosperity.

“We have worked to understand the character of the area and to make sure that the best of the area, and that of which people are most proud, is reflected in the proposals.”

If the Gresty Oaks plans are approved, it could bring the following benefits:

  • 230 jobs during the construction phase;
  • Associated construction expenditure of approximately £78 million;
  • A total household retail expenditure of approximately £13 million per year, equivalent to 130 jobs in the retail sector
  • New Homes Bonus payments of £10.5 million to Cheshire East Council over six years
  • Improved crossing facilities to Shavington High School and lower speed limits on Rope Lane
  • Lower speed limits on Crewe Road and an improved environment residents living on Crewe Road
  • New cycle route infrastructure linking Crewe Road to the town centre 
  • Opportunities to discuss with bus operators increasing the frequency of existing routes and the introduction of new services
  • Improvements to the A500/A51/Newcastle Road and Catherine Street/South Street junction