PLANS to redevelop a former factory site have been thrown out by councillors.
Residents packed the chamber at a meeting of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council planners, objecting to proposals by Cheshire-based Renew Land Developments to redevelop the former Slimma plant in Leek.
The application, which sparked 70 objections, was to demolish the site, which is surrounded by Barngate Street, James Street, Waterloo Street and Langford Street, and build 32 affordable homes.
Objecting to the proposal, resident Ted Lowell said the units would overlook James Street. He said: “My living room is 13.5 metres away from the facing living rooms. In the council’s local plan it is stated that a distance of 22.5 metres is required for daylight and standard privacy.
“This is reducing the standard of amenity. We want the same standard of decency. The proposal is over development.”
Another objector Roger Adams said that parking was a main concern.
He said: “There are 27 spaces which officers say is adequate.
Vehicle ownership in the North West and Midlands is 1.4 cars a unit. This means 44.8 spaces are required.
“Residents have not been listened to and should have been treated with more respect.”
Resident Jan Adams told the committee that a public consultation took place in March with local residents, but their comments were not taken on board.
She said: “There is concern over the design, parking and increased traffic noise. People in the area have thought about moving. This is a pleasant part of Leek, but noone cares about us.”
The applicant's agent Ben Weatherley claimed the old factory, which contains its original chimney and facade, was a “deliverable development site”.
He said: “There has been concern about the chimney and facade, but it is not viable for these features to be in the development.
The building is not listed and planning permission is not required to demolish it.
“There is a need for assisted living units. This is a scheme that can be delivered quickly as grants are in place. It is a sufficient use of the land and in accordance with planning policy.”
However, Councillor John Fisher said: “Leek Town Council thinks that the chimney and facade should be retained. The design needs more green open space.
“Also we would be having flats facing Waterloo Mill. It is not in keeping with the area.
“If parking is 1.4 per unit on the National Census, there has been no thought of visitors in streets which are already busy. Where will they go?
“Does this scheme improve the area? It does not.”
Councillor Linda Malyon said: “The chimney and facade are beautiful. It is all down to money.
Something more in keeping is needed.
“Assisted living units does not mean you will have no cars. There could be carers up to four times a day, so there will be extra cars.”
Councillor Stephen Ellis said: “This is part of Leek’s heritage and has been discussed at conservation level. There is not sufficient parking now on the streets.”
The committee voted by 10 votes to two in favour of refusal.