Agenda item

- 19/00518/FUL - Proposed demolition of existing building and replacement by 8 no self-contained light industrial units (use class B1c) including new access and associated care parking, hardstanding and landscaping on former Widnes timber centre, land off Foundry Lane, Widnes, WA8 8TZ


The consultation procedure undertaken was outlined in the report together with background information in respect of the site.


The Committee was advised that since the publication of the agenda one further representation had been received in support of the application. 


Members were referred to the definition of the proposed use as defined by the Use Classes Order given on page 70 of the report.  That definition being one ‘which could be carried out in any residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area’.  The site was designated within the current development plan as within Halebank Action Area and uses within Use Class B1 were specifically listed within the relevant policy as being acceptable.   It was noted that the suggested additional condition stated in the published AB update list further restricted any future proposed change of use.


The Committee was addressed by Mr White who spoke on behalf of the applicant.  He stated that although previous planning consents had been given for the site, none had materialised.  He stated this was a change of use to industrial, however the plans sat comfortably within the neighbouring residential areas and would benefit from new fencing and a buffer boundary, consisting of soft landscaping, which would also act as an acoustic buffer for traffic and HGV’s. 


Members were then addressed by Mr Clarke who objected to the scheme on behalf of local residents.   He stated that the plans would have a detrimental effect on the area and greatly affect the quality of life of the surrounding residents.  He provided details of an incident when the Fire and Rescue Service where unable to access a house that was on fire and neighbours had to provide access for them through their own homes; the residents were afraid of repeat incidents of this nature.  He also stated that when they bought their houses, the Committee had told them that surrounding land would be residential.


On behalf of the Development Control Committee the Chair stated that this Committee had never made statements of this nature in relation to any area of potential development within the Borough.


Members were then addressed by Councillor Dourley, a Local Ward Councillor who spoke in objection of the application.  He supported the comments made by Mr Clarke in relation to the information provided to existing residents regarding the plans for the site being only for residential development.  He argued that access to the site was via one access road and was very difficult for emergency vehicles, as experienced by the Fire Brigade with a recent house fire call.  He insisted that the site was identified as residential and to allow industrial development would be unfair to those residents already living there.  He requested the Committee to reject the proposal.


Members considered the application and representations made by speakers.  Clarity was provided around material and non-material considerations in relation to the application following comments made by Councillor Woolfall.  It was also commented that the application must be determined in accordance with the existing development plan, not one that may be adopted in the future. 


Having considered the report, speakers representations, officers responses and legal advice, the Committee approved the application by majority.  Councillor Woolfall requested that his objection to the scheme and vote to refuse be recorded in the minutes.


RESOLVED:  That the application be approved subject to the following conditions, which includes the additional condition mentioned above:


1.    Time limit – full permission;

2.    Approved plans;

3.    Clarification on use;

4.    Hours of operation (BE1);

5.    Restriction on openable windows and ventilation equipment at the of units 2-7 (BE1 and PR2);

6.    Existing and proposed site levels (BE1);

7.    External facing materials (BE1 and BE2);

8.    Boundary treatments scheme;

9.    Soft landscaping scheme (BE1);

10. Breeding birds protection (GE21);

11. Hours of construction (BE1);

12. Cycle parking scheme (BE1 and TP6);

13. Electric vehicle charging point scheme (CS19);

14. Offsite highway improvements scheme (BE1);

15. Provision and retention of parking and servicing (BE1 and TP12);

16. Ground contamination (PR!4 and CS23);

17. Drainage strategy (PR16 and CS23); and

18. Restriction on permitted development rights.