Reporting Back: Planning Committee

by michaelpowell on 5 February, 2020

On 21January was the monthly meeting of Bury Planning Control Committee. This is the meeting made up of the 11 Councillors who represent the various wards of the borough of Bury. The committee determines planning applications for certain major developments and others where objections have been received. Councillor Cristina Tegoloreports: 

Prior to the Committee meeting a training for the Planning Control Committee took place. Usually the training is arranged monthly by the Planning Department. This time, following consultation with Dave Marno, Head of Development Management Planning Services Department of Resources and Regulation Bury Council, I invited Stephen Hodder to speak to the planning committee and planning officers. Stephen is a local architect and Past President of the RIBA who won the inaugural Stirling Prize for the Centenary Building at Salford University. He’s currently Chair of the Construction Industry Council. His talk was about design quality in the planning process.

At the Planning Control Committee meeting all submitted applications were approved but I raised some concerns on the following applications:

Access road off Halsall Close, Gorses Quarry, Bury, App No. 64022
We discussed an application that was submitted retrospectively for the removal of a stretch of vegetation and trees to an access track which is located within a semi-rural area and is in the Green Belt. The access track carries a bridleway and footpath reference 24BUR.The works caused the embankment to become unstable in parts and some tree roots were exposed and protruded from the side of the embankment. The works had also caused minor landslides of earth and stones to fall into the access track. The application submitted wanted to implement a scheme of ecological mitigation and re-profiling/stabilising works.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

I considered that the engineering works would not constitute inappropriate development in the Green Belt and would comply with point b) in para 146 of the NPPF. However, I suggested that the works were offering the opportunity to introduce a rest area with benches by the side of the now enlarged access track. My comments were taken on board and will be incorporated into the scheme. 

Site at corner of Spring Lane & Bury Road, Radcliffe, App No. 64518/Full
We discussed a proposed development, on the corner of Spring Lane, Bury Road and Pine Street, for the erection of 15 no. x 1-bedroom apartments, provided over 3 floors with the main entrance on the side elevation facing the associated car parking. 

The site was previously occupied by St Mary and St Philip RC Church, which was demolished in 2009, and is currently vacant. The scheme will deliver 100% affordable housing.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

  • I fully appreciated that the scheme provides 100% affordable housing but I pointed out that in this block of apartments there are only one-bedroom flats and there isn’t a lift.
  • I also said that in a 3-storey apartment block without lift, people with long- and short-term mobility impairments, elderly couples that wish to downsize, parents with toddlers will be excluded or disadvantaged.
  • I was happy to see that a scheme for the provision of electric vehicle charging points would be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. However, I said that Bury Council should do a lot more to create sustainable buildings and minimise their environmental footprints. Ideally. we should also have renewables energy systems (such as solar and wind) and we should conserve and reuse rainwater.

I also said that that the perimetral metal fencing around this block of apartments should be replaced with green hedging plants to give privacy and at the same time to support wildlife and create a small eco-friendly habitat. This comment was taken on board and will be incorporated into the scheme. 

Land adjacent to 152 Butterstile Lane, Prestwich, App No. 64902/Full
We discussed a proposed development in a small rectangular plot (70sqm) of hardstanding at the southern end of the Neighbourhood Shopping Centre, on the corner of Butterstile Lane and Carr Avenue. The development consists of a two storey red brick building attached to the existing unit at 152 Butterstile Lane. The new build has a retail unit (40sqm) at ground floor with a shopfront onto Butterstile Lane and a 2-bed flat at first floor level.

We analysed the merits and I raised at the meeting the following points:

I said that the external appearance and design of the proposal in relation to its height, scale and layout was not in line with the adjoining buildings. I considered that the relationship of the proposal to the surrounding area was not acceptable as the proposed development had a different finished floor level, its windows were at a different level and the height of the roof (both the ridge and the gutter) broke the continuity of the row of terraced houses and shops on Butterstile Lane. I said that the scheme in my opinion should have been redesigned and that this was a miss opportunity to create a corner store with some quality design in a lively neighbourhood.

My comments weren’t taken on board, I voted against and the application was approved with no amendments.

More information and the full papers for the meeting are here.

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