The consultation procedure undertaken was outlined in the report together with background information in respect of the site.
It was reported that in addition to the objection received from the current owners of Halton Lea, Runcorn One Ltd, an additional letter had been received from the Solicitors acting on behalf of Runcorn One, Olswang, which concluded that the Committee report was flawed and contained errors of planning law and thus, a decision to approve the application could be challenged in the Courts. A further letter had been received from them the day of the meeting confirming these views.
Officers provided Members with a document titled ‘Addition to Agenda Report Conclusion’ which provided clarification of the planning policies pertinent to this application (specifically, with reference to PPS4).
It was further reported that additional comments had been received from Highcross Strategic Advisors, who represented the owners of Grosvenor House, who had written to support the proposal as it would result in highway improvements which would improve the attractiveness of their property to potential investors.
It was noted that the highway engineers had recommended additional conditions as follows:
The Committee was then addressed by Mr Daniel Lampard, a representative from Runcorn One, who spoke against the proposal, citing that this development would undermine the ability of Runcorn One to invest and improve Halton Lea and that it would ultimately divert traffic away from the centre, which would impact upon the retailers.
Mr Chris Edge, a representative for the applicant, then addressed the Committee speaking for the proposal. He disagreed that the proposal would divert traffic from Halton Lea and advised that an enhanced footbridge would be built leading to Halton Lea providing easy access for shoppers. He stated that 230-240 jobs would be created and that competition with Asda would have a positive impact upon the area.
Members debated the proposal taking into consideration the additional information provided. Although there were differences of opinion of the potential impact the development may have on Halton Lea, the Committee agreed that the advantages the development would bring, such as employment and regeneration, must be taken into consideration and that these outweighed any material considerations.
RESOLVED: That the application be approved subject to the following, notwithstanding the clear policy advice contained within PPS4 Policy EC17.1, the Committee felt that the benefits which would be derived by approving the application through employment generation and regeneration outweighed this policy advice and consequently:-
a) delegated authority be given to the Operational Director Planning, Policy and Transportation, in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair, to approve the application subject to conditions referred to below and legal agreement* and the application not being called in by the Secretary of State; and
*Section 106 for the submission of financial contributions towards highway, environmental and regeneration improvements and demolition of the existing office building within 12 months of the grant of planning permission.
b) The conditions, referred to above are:
1. 3 year implementation (BE1);
2. Amended plans (BE1 + BE2);
of full details of a replacement footbridge located at the
4. Materials submission prior to development beginning (BW2);
treatment details, including the gabion wall on the
6. Tree Protection measures during construction (BE1);
7. Landscaping Scheme including retention of hedgerow on northern and eastern boundaries of the site and replacement of missing sections, submission prior to development beginning (BE1);
8. Ecological and bat protection (BE1);
9. Provision of bat and bird boxes as part of the development (BE1);
10. Ground Investigation submission prior to development beginning (PF14);
11. Details of a surface water drainage scheme, based on sustainable drainage principles to be submitted and agreed prior to development beginning (BE1);
12. Submission of scheme for the management of overland flow from surcharging of the on-site surface water drainage system (BE1);
13. Submission of details of cycle parking prior to development beginning (TP12);
14. Submission of details of disabled parking spaces prior to development beginning (TP12);
15. Submission of structural calculations for all retaining walls adjacent to the adopted highway prior to development beginning (BE1);
16. Submission of a Travel Plan prior to development beginning (TP16);
17. Submission of a Construction Management Plan, including a phasing strategy, prior to development beginning (BE1);
18. Submission of details of wheel cleansing facilities, including a method statement and site plan identifying the facility location, prior to development beginning (BE1);
19. Hours of construction (BE1);
20. Submission of details of on site parking for construction, prior to development beginning (BE1); and
21. Restricted hours for Petrol Filling Station 0700 – 2300 Monday to Friday; 0800 – 1800 Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays; Deliveries to the petrol filling station permitted only between 0700 – 2300 Monday to Friday; 0800 – 1800 Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays (BE1).