The Adlington Estate, Cheshire, in conjunction with Meller Speakman and Tyler Grange, has identified and allocated land suitable for habitat enhancements to meet the demands of existing and emerging local policy surrounding Biodiversity Net Gain.

The Environment Act, which achieved Royal Assent in November 2021, puts a mandate on developers to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state post-development, and this is measured through a ‘Biodiversity Metric’. Whilst it won’t be legally enforceable until November 2023 via amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act, Cheshire East’s local policy requires all development to result in a net gain in biodiversity value, and this is enforced as a condition of planning permission.

The Adlington Estate has set aside an area of 27.5 hectares (68 acres) adjacent to Adlington Hall, to the north of Macclesfield.  The area comprises species-poor grassland, currently maintained as pasture via intensive cattle and sheep grazing which is typically low in biodiversity value.  The scheme offers scope for considerable BNG uplift through the creation of more species diverse grassland, tree / scrub and hedgerow planting.

Adlington Estate’s BNG scheme is available to developers that are working on projects where the development would result in an overall loss in biodiversity value which cannot be accommodated on-site.  Typically, an ecologist undertakes an assessment of the number of biodiversity units lost by the development and makes a requirement for the loss to be replaced, plus 10% (a net gain – although the 10% figure is not mandated in Cheshire East Council yet).  Using off-site habitat creation methods ensures the development remains compliant with local policy BNG requirements. 

The created/enhanced habitat(s) must be secured for at least 30 years as part of the planning obligations or Section 106 notices.  The developer has the option to deliver the scheme on or off-site by accessing a national register for net gain delivery sites, on which Adlington Estate will be registered.

Camilla Legh, owner of Adlington Estate, comments: “There’s a well-documented need for new housing in the UK and we’ve decided to lead the way on the BNG initiative to support developers in meeting their obligations.  We have very much look forward to seeing the habitat improvements  within the Estate and its overall sustainability offering.”

The Adlington Estate BNG scheme has already attracted interest from developers including Anwyl Homes, David Wilson Homes, Mansion House Group, Bellway and Barratts/DWH. Tyler Grange was appointed as the ecological consultants leading on the delivery of the habitat creation and management and continue to provide links between the Estate and the developer market in Cheshire.

Andrew Taylor, Planning Director at David Wilson Homes North West, comments: “Whenever we begin planning and building our developments, we take the greatest of care to ensure that we create a positive environmental impact and help to give nature a home. Adlington Estate’s proactivity and constructive approach to working with us to meet our sustainability and biodiversity net gain objectives was crucial to us gaining planning consent on this scheme and was greatly appreciated.”

Joseph Dance from Tyler Grange is leading on the technical delivery of the project and has developed the vision for the habitat improvements by working in collaboration with the Estate, Meller Speakman and their contractors. Joseph has said: “We’re all incredibly excited to deliver this vision for The Estate and to further establish The Estate as a net gain provider. It’s great to be able to meet the demand for BNG units in Cheshire by supplying developers with much-needed off-site units”

Adlington is a historic country Estate located in Adlington, Cheshire.  Originally built in 1480, the estate has been under the guardianship of the Legh family since the early 14th century and is currently managed by Camilla Legh. It is home to several residential property lets providing stable, long-term housing for local tenants and opens its doors regularly for house tours and garden open days.

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