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Appeal lodged after textile site plans are turned down

By MIG: Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: September 05, 2013

Part of the Slimma factory site

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DEVELOPERS are to appeal after being refused planning permission to build affordable homes on the site of former textile factory.

Just two weeks ago Cheshire-based Renew Land Developments were refused permission by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee to build 32 units on the Slimma factory which lays central to Barngate Street, Waterloo Street, James Street and Langford Street in Leek.

Lee Dawkin, director of Renew Land, has expressed his dismay at the decision to refuse the application and re-affirmed his commitment to seeing the development come to fruition.

He said: "It is disappointing but we will be submitting an appeal against the decision immediately.

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"We are confident that the reasons for refusal that have been given won't stand up against an appeal and anticipate that the appeal will be determined early next year.

"We can proceed with the demolition of the building at any time under permitted development rights, which we will be looking to do in the near future."

However residents who have fought the plans said the news of an appeal came as no surprise.

On behalf of the residents group fighting the plans, Roger Adams and Ted Lowell, said: "We had considered the applicant's possible reaction to the outcome of the planning committee meeting, including an appeal. We are ready to deal with this.

"The community has noted with interest the comments of the applicant, since the refusal decision, that he has the right to demolish the buildings, in spite of a request from the planning committee that a full contamination assessment be carried out prior to disturbing the site.

"This, of course is seen as another example of the contempt shown by the applicant to the town planning committee, the conservation committee, local officers, elected members and the community.

"The informatives in the refusal document also indicates the contempt of the applicant when, prior to the determination of the application, the council advised the applicant that the principle of such development was unsustainable and did not conform with the provision of the National Planning Policy Framework.

"No amendments were offered as, using the NPPF, the applicant assumed that there would be a presumption of approval of the application.

"The refusal was a vote of 10-2, reasonable significant, we would suggest."

Ben Weatherley, planning consultant at Knights LLP, said: "It is extremely disappointing that the members of the planning committee reached this decision against the recommendation of their officers, particularly given the hard work that went into addressing feedback from the local community and local planning authority, which culminated in the officer recommendation to approve the proposals.

“The proposals also had support from the highway authority and other statutory consultees."

Mr Dawkin added: "We have looked to engage with local residents throughout this process and have endeavoured to find as much common ground as possible.

“This would be an important development to create more affordable housing in the area and make best use of a site that has lain dormant and fallen into disrepair in recent years."

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