In October 2021, the owners of the Nantwich Walled Garden site, 4 Real Developments, submitted revised planning documents to Cheshire East for the development of six dwellings within the garden walls.

The full documentation is available at http://planning.cheshireeast.gov.uk/applicationdetails.aspx?pr=19/0015N and http://planning.cheshireeast.gov.uk/applicationdetails.aspx?pr=19/0016N from where objections and comments can be submitted;* the deadline is noon on Wednesday 24 November 2021.

The NWGS objects to these planning applications 19/0015N (full planning application) and 19/0016N (listed building consent) for the reasons listed below. Even if you responded to the previous application in 2019, please submit comments or objections to the new application as well. Further information concerning the NWGS’s rationale for objecting is provided here.

  • The benefits to Nantwich of a fully restored garden outweigh those of the addition of six new dwellings, attracting visitors and community groups; a reduced-size garden overshadowed by modern housing would not provide the same attraction.
  • Nantwich’s infrastructure is already struggling to cope with housing currently under construction.
  • It is unclear whether the developers own the garden walls.
  • All previous planning applications and appeals have been rejected or allowed to lapse; these new applications are not significantly different so the same objections apply.
  • Significant damage will occur to the walls if, as stated in the plans, the vehicular entrance is over 4 metres wide.
  • The three bee boles on the garden-facing side of the south wall are an extremely significant historic feature of the garden but they would be in the private gardens belonging to the properties and therefore inaccessible to the public.
  • Construction traffic on the narrow and heavily parked-up roads near the site would be a considerable burden and a hazard for existing residents.
  • We cannot envisage how the sale of the properties would generate sufficient income to fund the restoration of the walls and establishment of the proposed garden.
  • It would not appear to be financially viable to collect funding for maintenance of the garden and walls through management fees from the six small properties proposed.

In the event that the application is approved, the NWGS wants to ensure this important part of Nantwich’s heritage is not lost and believes the following conditions should be applied:

  • An archeological excavation must be done to increase our knowledge of this historic site.
  • Ownership of the walls should be established prior to planning approval.
  • Before the building of the properties commences, the listed walls should be fully restored and plans for the establishment of the garden and their future maintenance presented to Cheshire East and approved.

* Comments can also be made by email planning@cheshireeast.gov.uk or by post to Head of Planning and Housing at Development Management, PO Box 606, Municipal Buildings, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 9HP. Quote the application (19/0015N and/or 19/0016N) and include your full address. Without your address your comments may not be taken into consideration. For further information contact the Planning Customer Service Centre on 0300 123 5014

 Why save the Garden?

Many Nantwich residents are unaware that there is an Elizabethan or early Stuart walled garden close to the town centre, currently owned by property developers who are intending to build dwellings on the site. Although the walled garden site has been owned by developers for around fifteen years, so far no building has started. The Nantwich Walled Garden Society (NWGS) believes there’s still an opportunity to save and restore the garden and walls.

It’s a piece of Nantwich’s history

The garden consists of about half an acre of land surrounded by 17th Century walls. The garden was part of the site of Townsend House, built in 1575-1580 by the Wilbraham family.

It would be a memorial to John Gerard

John Gerard was a celebrated herbalist who was born in Nantwich in 1545. He is famous because he authored The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes, a very early book on plants which provided detailed descriptions of their characteristics and beneficial properties. Our plan would be for the restored walled garden to commemorate his contributions to botany and herbs, and his connections with Nantwich.

It would be a unique tourist attraction for the town

Nantwich is a town with many attractive features which make it a lovely place to live and visit. If the garden could be restored, it would be a unique attraction as there is nothing similar in Nantwich open to the public. Although there are many delightful walled gardens around the country, there are very few which are in such close proximity to a town centre, making it easy to reach by public transport.

It would be a community project and educational asset

As well as a historical site, the Nantwich Walled Garden Society’s intention is to turn the Walled Garden into a living, communal garden and educational facility for the benefit of the whole community, involving local schools, colleges, community groups and members of the public in its restoration and maintenance.

It’s listed by Historic England

The walls are Grade II listed. In early 2015 Historic England confirmed the listing and amended and amplified the designation due to the garden’s historical and architectural interest, early date of construction and the materials used. It’s also located within the Welsh Row Conservation area