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Plans resubmitted for the development of former textile mill site in Leek

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 21, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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New plans have been submitted for the development of the former Slimma textile factory site in Leek.

The original application for 20 houses and 12 apartments set in a three-storey building were refused by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee last year.

But applicant Renew Land Developments appealed against the decision and the planning inspector issued a 'split decision'.

This allowed the 20 houses but refused the apartment block.

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Following this it came to light that the legal adviser to the planning committee and the agent representing the applicant worked for the same company, Knights Solicitors of Newcastle.

Campaigners have now asked for a public inquiry into the matter and have written to the Planning Inspectorate and Moorlands MP Karen Bradley, although the district council stressed earlier this month it was "satisfied in this case that all standards have been complied with" and would not be commenting further.

Now Renew Land Developments and The Wrekin Housing Trust have submitted a further application for 20 houses and 12 supported living apartments at the Barngate Street site.

A planning statement produced on behalf of the applicants by Knights said: "The proposals comprises the redevelopment of the former Slimma site in Barngate Street, Leek, for 100 per cent affordable housing.

"This application seeks full consent for the erection of 32 units, comprising 20 houses and 12 supported living apartments.

"However, the 20 houses have already been approved under appeal.

"This resubmission application therefore seeks an alternative design to the refused apartment block by the reduction in height from three storeys to two; amendments to the building entrance aesthetic design on Barngate Street; amended roof design and that the building has been set back from Barngate Street."

On receiving news of the latest application campaigner Roger Adams, of Langford Street, Leek, said the community wanted the application halted and for a public enquiry to take place.

Mr Adams said: "The council is burying its head in the sand if it thinks that it can get away with the statement that it will be 'making no more comment on the issue'.

"It would appear we have spent the past 16 months opposing this application, with all the time effort and stress that has been involved, with effectively one hand tied behind our backs.

"The district council stated that it was satisfied that the code of conduct was adhered to. Who has been satisfied? Whom did they ask? Put it in the public domain for scrutiny.

"The local planning authority's response has been to validate a new application on July 2, knowing that questions were being asked about the way decisions were made during and after the original application was heard.

"How will senior officers at the council respond to MP Karen Bradley and the National Planning Inspectorate's involvement?

"As a community we will continue our opposition to this application."

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