An historic cattle market could disappear after plans were announced to transform the Beeston Castle Auction site into a mixed residential and commercial scheme.
Cheshire auctioneer Wright Manley, which has operated the site since 1861, is joining forces with Steppingstone Building Development Ltd to submit an outline planning application for 120 homes on the site at Whitchurch Road, Beeston.
The proposals envisage mainly three and four bedroom family homes, with landscaped green areas and the possibility of a community shop.
Steppingstone already has planning permission for 21 homes on the adjacent plot where the Beeston Castle Hotel was demolished earlier this year.
Employment land to the east of the site, which includes Wright Manley’s furniture business, auction house and offices, will be retained and modelled into the new scheme.
Wright Manley, which has merged with another property specialist, Frank Marshall, is planning to relocate the cattle auction to a purpose-built market in Middlewich, subject to another planning application gaining permission for a new 47-acre facility. The Beeston cattle market would close late in 2015 at the earliest.
Full-time staff employed at Beeston Castle Auction will be relocated to the new market, while the auction house staff will remain at Beeston.
Nigel Eckersley, partner at Wright Manley, said: “We’ve worked hard to put together a scheme that will be beneficial to both the local community and our existing staff and customers. The plans will transform the brownfield site into an attractive residential and commercial scheme which will revitalise the area, safeguard existing jobs and create a range of future employment opportunities.
“There is a shortage of housing in the Cheshire West area and the plans will help to meet the council’s requirement for new homes whilst preserving the green belt.”
Greg Williams, partner at Steppingstone, added: “By working together with Wright Manley we can combine the two sites to create one larger development which means we can masterplan the whole area.
“This brings a range of benefits, such as the potential to include a children’s play area, affordable housing, or community hall facility. It will also increase the financial contribution we make to the local authority which can then be reinvested in local infrastructure.”
Resident Bernadette Hardern, of Tiverton, said: “My personal concern is there is no infrastructure whatsoever, no school and no public transport, but it seems to be full steam ahead. The nearest pub is a mile away.”
More than 100 people attended a recent public exhibition of the plans which can be viewed on Wright Manley’s website, www.wrightmanley.co.uk. People are invited to send feedback on the proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the consultation period, an outline planning application will be submitted in late summer.