“The site is rural Cheshire at its finest but with the added benefit of being in very close proximity to the excellent service centre of Malpas”.
Malpas is a large village and old market town sitting 24km to the south of Chester and overlooking the Cheshire plain, Shropshire and North Wales. The village is known in the region as having a good range of services and local amenities. As such it has been identified as one of the Key Service Centres in the Cheshire West and Chester borough.
The coaching style luxury barns are all situated in open countryside on the edge of the built-up settlement of Malpas in the small church parish of Overton. The Malpas Neighbourhood Plan incorporates Overton Heath and therefore the community within which the site resides is effectively managed from within the parish of Malpas. The site is located directly off one of the 5 primary routes into the village, Tilston Road (also known as the Roman Road), situated approximately 120m North of the 30mph signs on the Northern edge of the village.
Proximity to Local Facilities/Amenities & Employment Centres
Chester, Wrexham and Whitchurch are all in easy access through local bus services and easy accessible highways which provides potential job opportunities and facilities. It is also in close proximity to Shrewsbury, Telford, Oswestry, Crewe and Nantwich – all of which are 30 to 40 minutes’ drive away. Within an hour’s drive are the towns of Liverpool, Manchester, Warrington and Birmingham giving the site easy access to most of the northern business hubs and airports.
The closest rail station is Whitchurch (6 miles). Crewe rail station is just 30 minutes’ drive from the site and this has a regular train service to London Euston that takes just 1 hour and 37 minutes. There are therefore many major employment centres within commuting distance of the site.
Malpas is served by the 41, 41A and 42 bus services running between Chester and Whitchurch, passing through Waverton, Tattenhall and Malpas, which also connects the site to rail services and other major towns and cities nationwide via the public transport network. The bus stop is 500m from the site.
The site is close to the A41, A534 and A49. As such has excellent onward road links to the M56, M6, M53 and M54.
Such an important consideration these days in respect of choosing a place to live is the schools. Malpas is exceptional in this regard. It has superb school facilities from nursery and pre-school care, through the Alport primary school to the Bishop Heber High school. Bishop Heber is rated as outstanding by Ofsted and listed amongst the top schools in Cheshire. Competition for school places is tough as the school is understandably over-subscribed, but the site is not just well within the catchment area, but within walking distance and therefore has priority placement at the school.
Antoinette Sandbach (MP) recently commented that:
“not only has the Bishop Heber an outstanding reputation in Cheshire but it has a reputation that extends well beyond Cheshire and is now recognised as a beacon amongst our schools nationally.”
In addition to the local schools, there are a number of excellent Independent schools in the vicinity including Moreton Hall (recently ranked by The Times as top non-selective school in the UK), the White House, the Queens School, Kings, Abbey Gate College, Packwood Haugh, Ellesmere College, and Shrewsbury, most of which are served by private buses directly from Malpas or the surrounding area.
MORETON HALL – “We felt that every girl in England should have at least a term in this environment” – THE GOOD SCHOOLS GUIDE
The population density in Malpas Ward is 2.1 persons per hectare on average, compared to the Cheshire West: 3.6 and England: 4.1 (Census 2011). This substantially lower number reflects the rural nature of the area. There are 3,975 people living in the Malpas Ward, this is 1.2 % of the Cheshire West and Cheshire (CWaC) population. In Malpas Parish there are 1,673 people.
Malpas is a thriving community and as such has a full range of services. As well as the usual doctor’s surgery, dentist (including NHS), post office, chemist, bank, fire station, laundrette, dry cleaners, opticians, supermarkets, newsagents, bakers, butchers, grocers, fish & chip shop, etc., there are many other local shops & businesses, a gym, library, sports club, pubs, restaurants, bistro, barbers, hairdresser, beauticians, dog grooming parlour, dress maker, pet shop and a church all within walking and cycling distance of the site. There is a community all-weather pitch and a sports club with tennis courts. A Farmer’s Market is also held regularly in the village centre.
“It basically has many unique features that make it a sought after location to live.”
The Malpas Community website lists just under 100 community clubs and this is just a selection of everything available locally within the community. The site is under a 10 minute walk to the village centre allowing excellent accessibility to all of these services.
The following is a list of the key local amenities and the approximate distances of those amenities to the site:
|Recreation Ground and Play Park||450m|
|Malpas Alport Endowed Primary School||500m|
|Malpas Dental Surgery||600m|
|Bishop Heber High School||700m|
|St. Oswald’s Church||800m|
|Malpas Sports & District club||800m|
|Laurel Bank Surgery||900m|
There is a wealth of things to do in and around Malpas and something for everyone.
For walkers, there are a host of published walks and trails all from the site or within the immediate vicinity. The site itself is marked as being on a National Trail recorded on the Explorer 257, Ordnance Survey Map. Other walks include Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail which is one of the finest and most popular long distance walks in North West England, in the UK. For many, it’s probably the best Cheshire walk and the ultimate Cheshire Way. The Sandstone Trail stretches for 34 miles/55 kilometres and offers superb, unbroken, and often elevated walking across the still largely green and pleasant English county of Cheshire — from the ancient market town of Frodsham on the broad Mersey estuary, in the north, along the Beeston and Peckforton Hills, to Georgian Whitchurch in rural north Shropshire, in the south.
The Bishop Bennet Way which passes the site connects 130 miles of bridle paths across Cheshire and Shropshire. The Bishop Bennet Way is a route for horse riding in south west Cheshire, England, which can also be used by walkers and cyclists. It is named after William Bennet (4 March 1745 – 1820), Bishop of Cork and Ross (1790–1794) and subsequently Bishop of Cloyne (1794–1820), who carried out detailed surveys of Roman roads including those between Deva (Chester) and Mediolanum (Whitchurch). The way starts near Beeston Castle and as of 2008 finishes near Wirswall on the Cheshire-Shropshire border. There are hopes to extend it to Shrewsbury.
The Marches Way also runs past the site. This is a partially waymarked long distance footpath in the United Kingdom. It runs 351 kilometres / 218 miles through the Welsh–English borderlands, traditionally known as the Welsh Marches and links the cities of Chester in the north and Cardiff in the south.
There are a number of other public footpaths and local walks around the site. In fact, the Malpas Parish Council has a published Landscape and Wildlife document that describes 6 recommended landscape routes around Malpas, 4 of which pass by or close to the site. Some of the local walks from the site are also published in the “Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral” book by Jen Darling. A publication called “Explore! The Town and Fields of Malpas”, produced by Cheshire West and Chester Council for the Malpas Parish Council, also covers walks around the site. There is even a geo-cache hidden in Gams Wood for those who like modern orienteering.
For cyclists, Tilston Road is designated as a cycle path in the Local Plan and is a historic Roman Road. As such it is extremely well located to encourage cycling as an alternative mode of transport to the car and is a popular route for cyclists. Malpas itself is on the Regional Route 70 (the “Cheshire Cycleway”), which is local offshoot of the National Cycle path route 45 that passes close by. Tilston Road is published as a short-cut to Section 5. As well as being used by Cycling Clubs (such as the Wrexham Cycling club that use the route regularly) it is also well used by recreational cyclists who cycle between country pubs and therefore is a defined route between The Crown in Malpas and The Carden Arms in Tilston on various routing websites.
Tilston Road is also identified by brown signs and other signage that marks the road as the South Cheshire Country Tour which is used frequently all year round by pleasure drivers, cyclists, walkers and horse riders. It is highlighted as a leisure trail on Satellite Navigation systems where designations include the Deeside and Cheshire Tour and the South Cheshire Country Tour.
The Shropshire Union canal runs nearby with walkable towpaths. The Shropshire Union Canal is a navigable canal in England. The canal lies in the counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire in the north-west midlands of England. It links the canal system of the West Midlands, at Wolverhampton, with the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, 66 miles (106 km) distant.
Further afield is the North Wales coast with sea fishing, sailing, diving and other water sports, the Lake District, Snowdonia National Park and the Peak District.
There are a number of events that occur in the Malpas community calendar each year. These include the famous Scarecrow Trail, the Malpas Literary & Arts Festival, Malfest and the Yesteryear Rally. Cholmoldeley in the Malpas Ward is an estate that hosts County Shows, the Pageant of Power, music concerts and other such events. It was the first location for Radio 2 Carfest North. There is also the Bolesworth estate locally that hosts events such as the CSI International World Class Show-jumping equestrian event and also now hosts CarFest North.
As well as the village providing all of the local shops that are needed, larger shopping centres are nearby in Whitchurch, Wrexham (such as Eagles Meadow) and Chester (including the city centre and the Greyhound retail park). These also have cinemas and theatres.
Cheshire Oaks is only 30 mins drive from the site. Cheshire Oaks was the first and remains the UK’s largest Designer Outlet. With a quarter-million square feet of retail space, comprising of more than 145 boutiques, restaurants and cafés, Cheshire Oaks isn’t merely the UK’s largest Designer Outlet. The Designer Outlet has a wide range of brands, offering something to suit every taste. Highlights range from athletic labels, like Nike and Adidas, and high-street favourites, like Marks & Spencer and Next, to a selection of iconic fashion brands, including Burberry, Polo, Michael Kors and Hugo Boss.
Further afield is Liverpool One, The Bullring in Birmingham and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
Malpas is a convenient gateway to North Wales and the surrounding area is immersed in history.
Malpas village itself is steeped in history as would be expected being situated within the reaches of Chester. Malpas was mentioned in the Great Doomsday Book in 1086 (it was clearly an important settlement as its value was one of the largest in Cheshire at that time), it has a castle, church, monument and its own legend of dragons. An original Roman Road is also thought to pass, undisturbed for centuries, under the site near the entrance to Tilston Road.
At the time of the Norman conquest in 1066, the village of Malpas was known as ‘Depenbech’ meaning ‘at the deep valley with a stream in it’. This old English name was gradually replaced by the Norman French “Mal-pas” meaning ‘secure way or passage’; a reference to the varied local terrain being a combination of the sandstone outcrops of the Peckforton Hills and the marshy floodplain of the River Dee. William the Conqueror granted the Barony of Malpas to Robert Fitzhugh. He was one of eight Barons who served on the Council of the Earl of Chester. When Robert Fitzhugh died without male successors his possessions, including Malpas, was divided between his two daughters.
Over the centuries the village has featured prominently with the coaching inns in the village being used as a key stop on the old London Road on the way to Deva (Chester) on which the site is located (also known as the Roman Road).
Latterly the fields around the site were used as camps for soldiers travelling on their way south to war. Various buttons and belt buckles and have been found by metal detector enthusiasts in the fields surrounding the site. The recent BBC Drama “Home Fires” depicting a rural community in the WW2 was filmed locally. Local landmarks have also featured in films such as Robin Hood and TV series including Foyle’s War.
Large parts of Malpas village are designated as a Conservation Area. There are 54 listed buildings or structures in Malpas, the finest of which is the Grade I St Oswald’s parish church, the most important historic building in Malpas. Dating mostly from the 15th century the church dominates views of Malpas from all directions.
Rural Architectural Character
Malpas has a broad range of architectural character designs that has evolved over many generations. It therefore has a wide scope for acceptable home designs on the site.
The former motte and bailey castle that once stood castle Hill in Malpas was one of a chain of castles built after the Norman Conquest to control the Welsh borders. Malpas was granted a charter to hold a market by Edward I in the 13th century. St Oswald’s Church dates from the 14th century and surviving vernacular cottages in the village date from the medieval period to the 18th century. These are accompanied by later Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian buildings, which are typical in the styles of their period. However, Malpas did not grow significantly until the post-war period. Following some limited inter-war social housing, in the late 1940s the Springfield Estates started to be built, following by the Well Farm Estate in 1969-74. This resulted in a significant expansion of the village to the east. This expansion generally comprised housing of standard post-war designs and consequently it does not contribute significantly to the local distinctiveness of Malpas.
As a result of this history, Malpas can be divided into a number of distinct architectural character areas, each with differing built form and character. Of these areas the ‘Village Core’ is by far the most important in defining the locally distinctive character of Malpas and its resulting identity. Other older parts of the village also make a significant contribution.
When describing the North Western area along Tilston Road, the more rural character in housing design is appropriate in this location and is why an illustration of the site plot block plan layout includes the barn styles. The two simple Victorian agricultural worker’s cottages on Tilston Road adjacent to the site entrance provide the most obvious reference point and this is reflected in the illustrative designs for the workers cottages. Key features include simple flat-fronts with no bays or porches, simple pitched roofs, horizontally-proportioned multi-paned windows with timber frames and segmental heads, traditionally pitched roofs without dormers, plain but strong chimney stacks on the gable ends. However, Overton Heath as a community has a range of architectural character designs which provides a huge scope to tailor a design that remains sympathetic with the surrounding area.