A NEW housing estate is being planned for land on Sainsbury’s superstore development in Leek – sparking fears of another U-turn on controversial road changes in the town.
In December 2010 the supermarket giant was given permission by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to redevelop the Churnet Works off Macclesfield Road.
This included a 40,000 square feet store, petrol station, 11 industrial units and three warehouses, along with outline permission for more than 80 residential units. The plan also involved major changes to the town’s road network.
Now Ascent Housing, a joint venture between Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Housing to build around 370 affordable homes, is applying for planning permission to construct properties on part of the site off Abbey Green Road.
Councillor Gill Burton, who has the responsibility for communities and the Ascent Housing project on the authority, said: “The plans involve the construction of 39 new homes with a mixture of new two and three-bedroom houses and one and two-bedroom apartments.
“The vast majority of the homes will be for affordable rent or will be offered on a shared equity purchase basis.”
Ascent is hopeful that the scheme will be considered by the district council’s planning committee in January.
However the development has again highlighted the unfinished road works at the St Edward Street junction, which were part of the original approved planning permission.
In June this year Sainsbury’s sought an amendment to halt the agreed work at the St Edward Street and Church Street junction, which involves stopping cars turning right from Mill Street into St Edward Street.
The company said the new plan, which is due to go before the council planners imminently, had been tabled because the amount of traffic was less than the levels predicted at the time its original plans were passed.
Former Leek town mayor Pam Wood, who campaigned against major road changes in the town, claimed the additional houses proposed by Ascent could bring up to 100 extra cars a day into Leek – which would dramatically increase traffic past the St Edward Street junction.
She called for the road changes, which involved the removal of Leek's roundabout at the end of Derby Street, to be reviewed once more.
She said: “In the light of the latest news regarding the houses and the fact that the road changes are two thirds finished, the traffic system has to be looked at again as this will increase the number of vehicles into the town.
“Work at the Ball Haye junction and the roundabout removal should have been completed as part of the scheme. I feel the planning amendment should not now be approved.
“The planned houses by Ascent are about half of those proposed at the site, plus there are still retail units to go on the land which will increase traffic further.
“There was a planning condition that this work had to be done, which is was stated was essential to the project.
“It was approved by the district council’s planning committee despite residents’ objections.”