- Summary of the campaign
- The situation now
- What YOU can do to help
- A brief summary of the campaign
Danes Moss is an ancient peatland that formed around 8,000 years ago. For most of its history Danes Moss was a vast ‘lowland raised bog’ that extended over 1,000 acres. Human drainage of the bog has left most of Danes Moss drier than it should be and no longer able to support bog mosses and create peat. Nevertheless, Danes Moss survives as a peatland that is rich in wildlife and has deep peat soils. This means Danes Moss has huge potential for restoration to a healthy raised bog. This would allow bog mosses to create more peat. This process draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns it into solid carbon (peat) which acts as a massive carbon store.
Cheshire East Council allocated 200 acres of Danes Moss for development under the Cheshire East Local Plan (2017). This document allocates land in the borough for commercial and residential development. The two parts of Danes Moss that are allocated for development are
Local Plan Site 13 (136 acres)
Also known as the South Macclesfield Development Area (SMDA) Covers the entirety of Danes Moss North Local Wildlife Site. Around 150 homes have already been built off Moss Lane (by Barratt Homes). Since 2019 has had outline planning permission for an additional 950 houses plus retail units. However, ten reserved matters planning applications remain for approval before development can begin.
Local Plan Site 15 (64 acres)
Covers Bailey Ridding Moss which is connected to the wider Danes Moss peatland by peat that extends under Congleton Road south of the Rising Sun pub. Bailey Ridding Moss lies behind the Rising Sun pub and extends south along Congleton Road. No planning consents exist for this site at present.
The image below is taken from the UK Soil Observatory (BGS, 2023). This shows the surviving extent of peat on Danes Moss within which both Local Plan Sites have been allocated. This was a profoundly unwise decision as peatlands are the biggest store of carbon on the planet’s land surface (IUCN, 2023) and Danes Moss is one of the biggest carbon stores in Cheshire.
2. The situation now
LPS 15 (Bailey Ridding Moss)
The land on this site appears to be owned by Richborough Estates, Jones Homes and Redrow.
An outline planning application (21/4113M) to build on Bailey Ridding Moss was rejected unanimously by the Strategic Planning Board on 26 July 2023. For more details on this see first victory blog
At present, no new planning applications have been submitted. We continue to monitor the situation and are ready to fight any further attempts to destroy this peatland.
LPS 13 (Danes Moss North)
The site is presently owned by:
- Cheshire East Council (between 53% – 55% of the land)
- BDW Trading, the company that owns Barratt Homes (under 45% of the land)
- Cheshire Demolition (a small percentage of the land)
BDW Trading Ltd bought the land for between £8 – 9 million from Jersey-based company TG Ltd. For more details on TG Ltd see our planning details page
The SAVE DANES MOSS campaign has had good engagement with Barratt Homes. Over the spring and summer of 2023, Barratt Homes have been conducting ecological surveys to gather more data on the flora and fauna of the site. Additionally, a hydrological survey has been undertaken to establish whether Danes Moss North is connected to underground water flows in the peat beneath the Danes Moss Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The report is to be reviewed by Natural England, who have a legal duty to prevent harm to the SSSI.
We are waiting for the results of these surveys and hope to meet with Barratt Homes before the end of the year to discuss them.
Interestingly, Barratt Homes have a partnership with the wildlife charity the RSPB. Will this this influence Barratt Homes? What will the RSPB make of their plans for this site which includes wet woodland? This wet woodland is known to support a breeding population of willow tits – one of Britain’s most endangered birds. Willow tit populations declined by 94% between 1967 and 2020 (British Trust for Ornithology, 2023).
We hope that both Barratt Homes and Cheshire East Council will eventually realise that this site is the wrong place for any development. We encourage both parties to abandon any plans to build on Danes Moss and work with us to achieve a landscape-scale restoration of Danes Moss for the benefit of wildlife, local people and our planet.
Details of our Vision for Danes Moss can be found on our vision page
The situation remains stuck – bogged down, you might say. We await the next moves from the landowners and developers. It is hard to imagine the current development plans for Danes Moss North surviving very long. We expect that the developers might withdraw the original plans and propose something they consider to be a compromise. Whatever this is, we will oppose it.
Another possibility is that Cheshire East Council will try to sell their share of Danes Moss North to a housing developer. We know that the council have tried this in the past. It would be shameful if the council did sell to a developer but money appears to be king at Cheshire East Council – and they are very short of it right now: about £18.7 million (Macclesfield Express, 2023).
Our own wildlife surveying continues on Danes Moss. This is all meticulously recorded with photos and audio and verified by GPS. In total, we have recorded over 1,000 different species on Danes Moss. On Danes Moss North we have recorded 62 species that are protected by UK law. For more details see our biodiversity update blog from July
We have raised funds in excess of £30,000. The majority of this money is allocated for legal action(s) in the event that more planning applications are approved to build on Danes Moss. If we do not have to take legal action, this money will be used to fund the restoration of wetland habitats on Danes Moss.
4. What YOU can do
There is plenty that our supporters can do to save Danes Moss. If you write to anyone please make sure to be polite.
A. Write to DR TONY JUNIPER, the chair of Natural England (the government’s nature protection body). Ask him to consider designating the entire Danes Moss peatland as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This would make any development on Danes Moss almost impossible.
Dr Tony Juniper
4th Floor, Foss House
1-2 Peasholme Green
B. Email COUNCILLOR SAM CORCORAN, the Leader of Cheshire East Council and DAVID PARR, the Chief Executive of the council. Remind them that Cheshire East Council declared a climate emergency in 2019. The Local Plan needs to be urgently reviewed and both housing allocation sites on Danes Moss (LPS 13 and LPS 15) need to be removed without delay.
C. Spread the word about our campaign by word of mouth, social media, letters to newspapers. Our website is www.savedanesmoss.com
D. Donate directly to the campaign
Name: Save Danes Moss Community Group
Account: 2195 6060
Sort code: 30 99 50
Or give via our fundraiser (GoFundMe will take a small percentage of your donation): https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-danes-moss
E. Buy our 2024 calendar. On sale at Scoop and Scales, Macclesfield and at our Treacle Market Stalls in Macclesfield (last Sunday of the month).
F. Email us if you have any ideas to help the campaign – firstname.lastname@example.org
BDW Trading Limited (2023)
Giving nature a Barratt home (website)
Available at: https://www.barratthomes.co.uk/ campaigns/ giving-nature-a-barratt-home/
British Geological Survey (2023)
UK Soil Observatory (website)
Available at: https://www.ukso.org
British Trust for Ornithology (2023)
Willow tit (website)
Available at: https://www.bto.org/ understanding-birds/ birdfacts/willow-tit
Cheshire East Council (2017)
Cheshire East Local Plan: Local Plan Strategy 2010 – 2030
(pages 227 – 231 and 234 – 240)
Available at: https://www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/ pdf/planning/local-plan/ local-plan-strategy-web-version-1.pdf
Macclesfield Express (2023)
Front page: 1st November 2023.
Town parks may be lower priority as council braced for hard cuts
The article states that CEC have a budget deficit of £18.7m.
IUCN UK Peatland Programme (website)
Available at: https://www.iucn-uk- peatlandprogramme.org/ about-peatlands
Barratt developments and the RSPB (website)
Available at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/ corporate-partnerships/ barratt-developments