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New Marston's pub and restaurant in Leek recommended for approval by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 13, 2014

The Marston's plan in Leek is due for a decision this week

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new pub and restaurant in Leek look set to be given the green light.

Marston's Inns and Taverns wants to build the venue on land at the former Churnet Works, off Macclesfield Road, which is home to the town's Sainsbury's supermarket.

A final decision on the planning application is set to be made by members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee tomorrow, Thursday, with officers recommending it be approved.

It comes after the chain withdrew a previous application, which was set to go before members of the planning applications committee in July.

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Campaigners claim that the site was earmarked for affordable housing which would be lost if the building went ahead.

Now two planning applications are to go before the committee on Thursday

The first is to vary the terms of a 'Section 106' agreement which was approved on May 4, 2011, for a mixed use development at the Churnet Works site.

In a report to councillors planning officer Jane Curley recommends that the request to remove reference to the provision of housing on this part of the site only is removed.

She said: "Members are reminded that, as confirmed by the principal regeneration officer, housing did not form an essential element of the original Sainsbury's application.

"It was put forward by the applicant as part of a mixed use development and accepted on that basis.

"Officers also state that external legal advice has been sought and it had been confirmed that a court cannot order compliance with Schedule 2, which requires a reserved matter application to be submitted within three years of the granting of planning permission, or any part because the permission has lapsed."

Mrs Curley is also recommending that the second application, for the pub and restaurant, is approved, with 22 conditions.

The report said: "No development shall commence until an updated contamination site risk assessment has been undertaken and approved in writing by the Local planning Authority."

A petition 'Save our Locals' Dyers Arms, White Lion and The Abbey Inn, has been received and signed by more than 1,000 people.

In addition, 25 letters of representation have been received which raise concerns that another pub in Leek is not required; that he development will result in an increase in traffic; the loss of affordable housing; that it offers nothing to young people; and that Leek needs a bowling alley and cinema rather than another pub.

In a report to councillors, Mrs Curley, said: "The letters refer to the fact that there are already many pubs in the area and that the proposal will adversely harm these and other businesses.

"However, business competition is not a material planning consideration, and this not an issue to be addressed."

The site would be accessed from a new fourth road leading off the existing internal roundabout on Churnet Way.

The building, which it is stated would be a food-led premises, would provide 150 covers internally and 40 externally.

All internal seating would be on the ground floor.

The two-storey element to the building would also provide accommodation for the manager as well as an ancillary office.

It is anticipated that 50 full and part-time jobs would be created at the business.

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