Agenda item

23/00349/COU - Proposed change of use of dwelling and hotel into 6 apartments at 15(a) - 19 Main Top Hotel, Mersey Road, Widnes, WA8 0DG


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


The Case Officer advised that the requirement for a legal agreement, referred to in the report and recommendations (a) and (c), had been removed and the issue would now be secured by conditions.


She also advised that 22 neighbour objections had been received believing that the application was for homes of multiple occupation (HMO’s); she confirmed that the application was for 6 self-contained apartments and should be determined as such.  She also provided updates in relation to car parking and it was noted that the Highways Officer raised no objection.  He did suggest additional condition/s to make good the redundant dray delivery hatch to the former beer cellar; these would be added.


The Committee was addressed by West Bank Ward Councillor Wallace, who, supported by her Ward colleague Councillor Hutchinson, spoke in objection to the application on behalf of residents.


Councillor Wallace began by distributing a page of photographs taken of parking in the area, which it was noted were taken on a Saturday at 1pm.   She gave the Committee some historical and background information on West Bank.  As a born and bred resident of West Bank herself, she had witnessed the area thrive under the chemical industry in the 1960’s and had seen its decline over the years.  She mentioned anti-social behaviour, gangs, drugs and drug use, the increase of HMO’s, fly tipping and parking issues.  She also commented on  the influx of landlords buying properties who were not from the area and had no interest in the community of West Bank.  She had also spoken to all residents regarding this and advised it was having a negative impact of the community, as it was felt local people were being pushed out of the area.


She also highlighted problems already being experienced with highways and cleansing.  Emergency vehicles and bin trucks were being blocked by cars parking on streets so were prevented from reaching properties.  She cited that a development such as this would exacerbate the situation.


She concluded by advising that Derek Twigg MP had previously raised concerns about the numbers of HMO’s in West Bank.  She urged the Committee to help the community of West Bank to stop the saturation of the area with properties of this nature, and the one being applied for today.


Councillor Wallace’s objections could also be found in detail on pages 75 and 76 of the agenda.


Members discussed the application, raising concerns over the lack of parking spaces for 6 flats (they stated potentially 12 cars) and the problems that emergency vehicles, cleansing trucks and buses already had with access to the area.  It was commented that to make an analysis and comparisons with hotel parking requirements and residential parking requirements was not a fair one, especially as the building was used as a hotel many years ago.  The consensus was that it was wrong to assume that residents of apartments did not own vehicles because some did.  It was agreed that in this case the development would have a cumulative impact on parking in the area, as no parking spaces were provided for the residents.


The Committee proceeded to a vote on the application and it was unanimously refused.


RESOLVED:  That the application be refused for the following reasons:


1)    the application is contrary to Policies C1 and C2 of the DALP, as it does not include on-site parking provision; and


2)    this lack of provision would exacerbate current problems with congestion and the availability of on-street parking.  The cumulative impact of this would be harmful to the street scene, parking standards and highway safety in the surrounding area.




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