PLANS for a housing development next to the Sainsbury's Churnet Works site in Leek have been approved.
Full planning permission has been granted to Ascent Housing, a joint venture company formed between Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Your Housing Group for 39 units.
The supermarket giants had already completed building a large new store, industrial units and petrol station on the site, which also has outline approval for three retail units along with 58 apartments and 28 houses.
The approved application will comprise of a mixture of 15 terraced and semi-detached houses and 24 apartments. The applicants have confirmed that five of the units would be open market dwellings and the remaining 34 affordable homes would be a mixture of rented and shared ownership.
However concerns were raised that the district council was paying for the land.
Councillor Linda Malyon said: "I think Ascent is doing a good job.
"However, in the conditions laid down in the original application for the Churnet Works there were contentious issues.
"I thought that Sainsbury's had to deliver affordable housing for the site as part of the condition, along with the warehouses.
"If the land is sold it will be to the district council, which is working in partnership with Ascent.
"We have already borrowed £20 million for affordable housing. Are we playing double whammy?
"If Sainsbury's should have paid for the houses, do they pay Ascent?
"My concern is that the district council is putting money into it. Leek deserves better as if we are paying twice; it is wrong."
Planning officer Jane Curley said: "Sainsbury's owns the site, but the applicants were Ascent who have served notice on the site.
"It is correct that a 106 agreement was placed on the site for affordable homes.
"This agreement was made between Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and Sainsbury's."
She added: "There is nothing we can do about it as the agreement runs with the land."
Councillor Mike Bowen said it was a "super" application.
He said: "We need one and two-bedroom apartments. This is a nice mixture."
Councillor Margaret Lovatt said: "This is in a sustainable location and provides affordable housing.
"I am pleased with the development."
Councillor John Fisher said the development would promote more development at the site.
He added: "I welcome this application, which brings much needed housing.
"It will kick-start the site and I look forward to the rest of the area being developed.
Councillor voted 13 votes to one in favour of the approval.