PLANNING officers have recommended that a scheme to demolish an animal feeds business to make way for houses is refused.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s planning committee is set tomorrow, Thursday, to decide whether to allow the demolition and clearance of the Moss Feeds site in Dilhorne.
The applicant, Mr Moss, wants permission for 10 properties on the site at Home Farm, in High Street, all of which would be sold on the open market.
The council’s website earlier this week showed the application had been withdrawn.
The authority confirmed tha applicant had indicated the scheme was to be dropped, but stressed it was up to them to formally do this at the meeting.
The plans come after the council refused a previous application to redevelop the site in 2008. An appeal against the decision was rejected by a Government inspector the following year.
A planning report prepared for councillors raises a series of objections to the renewed plans.
It said: “The main issues with the proposal are the principle of the development on green belt land, the loss of a rural employment site, the impact on the character and appearance of the green belt and Special Landscape Area, the impact on residential amenity, traffic/highways safety, impact on pollution and the impact on biodiversity/ wildlife.”
The report notes that a marketing exercise to investigate the commercial viability of the site was “inadequate” and that “it has not been demonstrated that the site could not be reused for continued employment uses”.
A petition containing 37 signatures and addresses against the scheme has been lodged, plus seven letters of objection.
These point to factors such as previous residential refusals on this site; the development being contrary to green belt and Special Landscape Area policies; the potential impact on wildlife; increased traffic and parking problems; the impact of noise, air and light pollution; the loss of the open aspect of the neighbourhood; that it would be harmful to the rural character and setting of the village; the scale would be too large for such a small village; that it would not solve school enrolment problems; that local amenities, transport and energy infrastructure were inadequate; that it could set a dangerous precedent for future development; that it would affect rural employment needs; there was inadequate marketing of the site for continued employment uses; and that there was no guarantee of a ‘bad neighbour’ moving onto the site, if it closed as an animal feeds business.
Two letters of support have been lodged, although one is anonymous.
These point to the removal of a “huge eyesore”; support for the local school; the removal of a rat infestation in the village; and that the estate would improve the local environment. Dilhorne Endowed CE (A) Primary School supports the plans.
A meeting of Dilhorne Parish Council earlier this month also backed the scheme, although this is not highlighted in the report.
The document also mentions that a 2009 Housing Needs Survey of the parish identified nine households with a need for affordable housing and 17 in Caverswall.
However, it stresses that the expectation would be for 100 per cent affordable homes.
The Environment Agency (EA) has objected to the application. It said: “The current and previous use of the site has the potential to have caused contamination which may be currently impacting on groundwater and local watercourses.
“Furthermore, there is potential for remobilisation of any contaminants during site development.
“No Preliminary Risk Assessment has been carried out by the applicant as required.
“Overall, the EA considers the level of risk posed by this proposal to be unacceptable and the application fails to provide assurance that the risks of pollution are understood.”
The report recommends that councillors refuse the plans.