In Kelsall village in Cheshire West, plans for large, executive homes were proposed for a green field, threatening to overshadow the needs of the local community. But the residents of Kelsall, instead, challenged the proposals to better meet local housing needs and enable the redevelopment of local community health services.


It all began with a planning application for yet more Luxurious executive homes, disregarding the genuine needs of Kelsall’s residents. These were for housing suitable for the village’s ageing population, and the pressing demand to redevelop the local doctor’s surgery to better serve the community. The central site under application was uniquely suited for both needs. Caught in this conundrum was the fact that the Cheshire West & Chester Local Plan had yet to be adopted, complicating any opposition to the ill-fitting planning application.


Kelsall Parish Council mobilised resources and support to challenge the proposed development through its neighbourhood plan. With a clear vision in mind, they began to lay the groundwork to allocate the site in the centre of the village to meet local housing needs and redevelop the doctor’s surgery.

They conducted a comprehensive housing needs survey, revealing that what Kelsall really needed was retirement housing, offering downsizing options for older households. This enabled the Parish Council (through the neighbourhood plan) to shift the focus away from executive homes and towards a more inclusive and sustainable solution.


Site plan image source:

They procured a technical viability assessment, and interest from specialist developers, to demonstrate the feasibility of allocating the site for retirement housing, along with some much-needed affordable homes, and a new health and wellbeing hub.

In March 2017, the Kelsall and Willington Neighbourhood Plan was successfully made by Cheshire West & Chester Council after it passed a local referendum with 95.7% of voters saying yes to the document. Policy G3: Allocation of Central Site, enabled new proposals for development to meet the local housing needs of the older generations as identified in the housing needs survey, and the changing healthcare needs so that they could keep pace with housing expansion.

With the support of the local community, the health and wellbeing hub became a reality. In March 2023, the new facility opened its doors. The community raised £250,000 to supplement NHS funding for the project.

Today, the health and wellbeing hub runs a range of medical services and wellness programs. It serves as a lifeline for the residents of Kelsall, providing a welcoming and safe space where people of all ages can meet up, get active and learn new skills to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing.


Kelsall’s Neighbourhood Plan and site allocation showcases the impact that collective action can achieve by prioritising the needs of its residents and leveraging the power of collaboration. This innovative project not only addresses the housing and healthcare needs of Kelsall but also sets a precedent for community-driven initiatives.

If your Town or Parish Council would like to find out more about your local housing needs to help influence future developments please fill in our 2 minute survey to express your interest, and contact John Heselwood at Cheshire Community Action –