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Plans to convert former Popular Garage site in Mill Street, Leek, into affordable apartment site have been submitted by Barrington Developments

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 06, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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PLANS have been tabled for 26 affordable apartments on the site of a former garage.

Barrington Developments has submitted a planning application to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to develop the former Popular Garage site in Mill Street, Leek.

The application seeks permission for 26 affordable two-bedroom flats of varying sizes.

A design and access statement produced by Worthington, Ashworth, Jackson, Walker, architects, designers and historical building consultants on behalf of the applicant, said: "There is a change of level of approximately 8.5 metres from the Mill Street frontage to the Belle Vue road frontage.

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"It is proposed to site the building at the lowest part fronting Mill Street, with off-street parking situated at the higher level towards the rear of the site backing on to Belle Vue Road.

"The accommodation will be spread over five floors, although the top floor apartments will be situated within the roof space and have dormer windows facing Mill Street, so the appearance would be that of a four-storey building.

"A total of 26 car parking spaces are proposed including one larger bay for accessibility needs.

"Parking is reached by a drive directly off a gated access on Mill Street which rises up along the boundary with Wesleyan Court to the east."

The statement states that the site already has planning permission, but this does not tally with the latest application.

The existing plans were being negotiated with Staffordshire Moorlands Housing Association which, during talks, merged with Your Housing Association, which eventually decided that it no longer needed the Mill Street development to meet its quota The statement adds: "Barrington Developments then marketed the site and during the intervening two years had only five enquiries, none of which came to fruition because of the prohibitive construction costs forming the lower level car parking areas on the sloping site.

"In January 2014 Barrington Developments explored the possibility of simplifying the design of the building by essentially removing the cost of the lower level parking.

"Adactus Housing has currently secured funding and agreed to purchase the 26 apartments on condition of obtaining planning permission on a revised, simpler and more cost effective scheme.

"Barrington Developments has therefore secured development funding from its bankers based on achieving an end user/sale and also conditional on securing planning permission on the new revised scheme. It is considered that the existing employment site has no realistic prospect of redevelopment under current market conditions, and that reallocation of the site for an alternative use is appropriate without undermining the wider aims of the Local Plan."

County and district councillor Charlotte Atkins said the present site did require attention.

She said: "We do need affordable homes, but it is important that the design of the building is in keeping with the area.

"This is a gateway into the town and it must fit in with the area."

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