PLANS have been tabled to demolish agricultural buildings in a Staffordshire Moorlands village and redevelop the site with housing.
The owner of Moss Feeds of High Street, Dilhorne, has applied for planning permission to build 10 properties on the land.
The move comes five years after controversial previous proposals by the applicant to build houses on the land were thrown out by a government planning inspector on the grounds the scheme was inappropriate in the green belt.
A design and access statement, submitted on behalf of the applicant, by Andy Williams of Advance Land and Planning Ltd of Shifnal, Shropshire, states that the business has operated since 1975, but the owner is now well into his 70s and wishes to retire.
Mr Williams said: “Mr Moss has contemplated selling the business, but this has inevitably declined over recent years and is not currently the proposition it might once have been.
“He has also attempted to sell the site for another industrial commercial use, but has not received any offers for the property as a commercial use.
“In the circumstances, the applicant seeks to secure planning permission to redevelop the site for a small scale housing scheme, which will be more appropriate in relation to the adjoining residential properties and also the adjoining countryside.
“The proposal will remove a non-conforming, potentially bad-neighbour use from a residential environment within a rural village, regenerating the site in the process by removing unsightly, poor quality industrial buildings and open storage, which current detracts from the visual amenity of the surrounding area.
“The use dates back to a permission granted in 1975 for a corn merchant’s business including storage and distribution, and it is unrestricted in terms of hours of operation, which can be 24 hours at various times throughout the year.
“The use has declined in recent years to the point where there are now only a couple of employees, including the elderly owner.”
The proposed houses would consist of three, two or three bedroom terraced cottages; a pair of three-bedroom semidetached homes; and five, four-bedroom houses.
The terraced cottages would have two parking spaces at the rear and the other dwellings would have garaging and parking spaces to the side and rear.
The plan proposes to close off the existing vehicular access and to create a new opening a few metres to the south-west to serve a short five metre wide shared surface roadway rising into the site to a turning head, with private drives extending off either side.
In 2008 an application was submitted to redevelop the site with 19 houses. This was refused by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and a subsequent appeal was dismissed.
In his report Mr Williams added: “The inspector considered the proposals in a slightly different planning policy context to the one that now exists, and he was also of the opinion that the proposals represented unsympathetic, over development in comparison with the existing use and development.
“He concluded that the proposed scheme would have been intrusive and would not have provided material benefit to the openness of the green belt to justify ‘very special circumstances’.
“It is plainly evident that these current proposals differ significantly from the previous scheme in that the proposed development would be of a scale broadly consistent with the emerging Local Plan; compatible with the character of the village; compatible with the edge of the settlement setting; and generally more attractive with the opportunity of landscaping, particularly around the boundaries adjacent to the open countryside.”
A marketing report is also submitted with the application from Neil Hazlehurst of consultancy First City Property.
Mr Hazlehurst said: “We commenced marketing the site in May 2013 on the internet and press advertising.
“This has resulted in 61 downloads, seven registered enquiries and two viewings.
No offers to buy the site have been received.
“The UK manufacturing industry has been in decline in recent years and in our experience it is increasingly difficult to attract new business to locations like Dilhorne, particularly manufacturing or light industry type operations, due to a lack of skilled workforce and inferior transport infrastructure.”
A decision on the application is expected in between eight to 12 weeks.