Report of the Assistant Director of Planning.
The Board received an update on the progress of the planning application which highlighted key issues that had been raised during the consultation process and how Officers were seeking to address these.
The Director of Growth & Assets introduced the report and explained to Members that its purpose was to inform Board, as the developer, of areas where the masterplan and planning application submitted conflicted with planning policy. He explained that this was normal practice for Planning colleagues to feedback to developers and to highlight areas of ‘planning risk’ and that the report served that purpose.
The Board were informed that the project team had flexed and made amendments following advice from planners on relatively minor changes, the matters covered in the report were considered to be a significant material change to the Board’s masterplan and therefore the Board would need to decide how to proceed.
The Assistant Director of Planning provided an overview of the report and key considerations contained within it.
The Board discussed the report at length, in particular they weighed the pros and cons of removing the access and parking area connecting to the A61 and over how much this would affect the scheme as a whole.
Cllr N Barker explained to the Board that due to time restraints, it would be beneficial to submit a planning application that had a greater chance of being granted approval and so supported removing the A61 access from the scheme.
Cllr J Barry agreed with Cllr N Barker, she raised potential safety concerns with the proposed A61 access and suggested that it should be considered in greater detail at a future date.
Lee Rowley MP indicated his support for the original scheme and believed that there had been no material reasons presented that would suggest a change to the scheme was necessary.
Andrew King believed that the removal of an additional floor from the former Sunday School re-development would be detrimental to the ambition and impact of the town centre’s regeneration.
Cllr A Dale and Andrew King raised concerns that removing the A61 access would lead to the area having insufficient access and this could lead to broader negative impacts on the scheme as a whole.
Cllr C Cupit echoed the comments of Cllr A Dale and Andrew King and suggested that the A61 access was a critical element of the regeneration scheme and that its removal would be unpopular with local residents and businesses.
The Chair identified the opportunity for Board to submit a future application with regard to the access and parking area if they decided to remove it from the application at this stage.
At the conclusion of the debate, the Board voted on and approved the recommendations as contained within the planning report.
RESOLVED – That:
· The Board agreed to remove the access and parking area connecting to the A61 and to amend the extension of the former Sunday School building, in order to secure a positive recommendation on the planning application.
· Town Board instructed Officers to review alternative locations for the A61 access and reserve the right to submit a separate application for the existing access for Board to consider at a future meeting.