Bolton Council planning meeting - June 5, 2014 - live blog
This live event has finished
- To be discussed at this afternoon’s meeting of the planning committee, starting at 2pm:
- Bolton Wanderers’ "Middlebrook Masterplan", a £100 million development including a free sports academy, hotel, offices, apartments and restaurant
- Crompton Place’s bid for an 11-screen cinema complex with restaurants – the second town centre cinema application for Bolton town centre
- Plans for 140 new homes at the old Bolton Community College campus in Horwich
- Redrow Homes plans for the mothballed site of the former Swallowfield Hotel in Chorley New Road
Unfortunately that's all from me, I've got to dash back to the office to write up all the fun for tomorrow's paper. Thanks for following and see tomorrow's Bolton News (paper and online) for the full rundown of the big applications discussed today.
And it's been unanimously refused.
Cllr Bob Allen & Cllr Joyce Kellet saying the committee should stick to their guns and force Redrow to pay what it agreed to - but planning officer Tim Hine warning them an independent adjudicator might decide they are being unreasonable.
We covered in The Bolton News that Redrow say they've already lost £1.7m on the site before they've even started building. Now they want to remove a condition forcing them to provide four apartments for affordable housing.
Here's how the site looks:
Next up - Redrow Homes and their application to change terms of the planning permission for the mothballed site of the former Swallowfield Hotel on Chorley New Road
Think I need a lie-down after all that.
Right. So that's been approved, subject to delegation to the director who will iron out the final agreement between the developers and St Mary's over how much land they receive.
Cllr Elaine Sherrington says they need to find out from the school what land they need.
Cllr Nick Peel says committee needs to honour the dialogue that is taking place between the school and developers. If the school says that land is not good enough, then negotiations would go to the commuted sum for the school - in the region for £362,000.
Council officer saying he is very confused about what they want the council to go back to the school and developers to say. "At the end of the day the decision is the committee's, not the school's or the developers."
Cllr Joyce Kellet arguing now that these new houses will need more school places, especially within St Mary's which is a very popular school.
Cllr Linda Thomas says there's a worry that the land offered to the school is "neither use nor ornament".
"The only difficulty when this committee last spoke about it we said to the applicant go away and negotiate with St Mary's. It now looks like we shouldn't have said that," he said.
"it worries me that we did what the third party asked us to do, and there is no one here from the third party.
"It seems to me the negotiations are a moving feast."
Cllr Nick Peel says the applicant has done what they ask them to do, and says the part of land in plot one in the land is "completely useless" for extension.
Cllr John Walsh: "I'm not sure how much value there is for plot one, it achieves very little.
"There is a real issue in the church contribution, or lack on.
"It's unfair to developers to thwart their aspirations because third parties are unavailable to come to a reasonable compromise.
"I suspect approval is the only sensible course ahead of us."
This is the building in question:
"Unless St Mary's or the church recompensed us for that £238,000 we shouldn't even be considering it", he says. "I just think it's a non-started. Why would we want to give away £238,000 which could be spent elsewhere?"
Cllr Allen says he wants to approve the original application.
Cllr Bob Allen says on the face of it it is 'horrendously complicated' - agreed!
To recap, St Mary's stated previously it needs land to be able to expand, because there aren't enough primary school places in Horwich. This won't be possible if this is built on. So there's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about how much land should be given to the school (the applicant has agreed to give some over)
Cllr Norman Critchley apologising for being 'a bit thick', and we're running through what is proposed again.
This land has been designated as a site for housing by Bolton Council, and officers want it to be approved so they can iron out details between the developers over how much land the pay give up and how much they pay towards education in Bolton.
There's a fair bit of wrangling on this one, firstly between St Mary's primary school and the developers, who are looking to build 140 houses on the land, and also from Sport England who have said there is a need for playing fields in Horwich.
It's been deferred. The fate of the old Bolton Community College campus in Horwich will be decided next.
A representative from the Bolton Muslim Welfare Trust speaking against it. He wants councillors to defer the application while they, as the landlords, sort out what the space will be used for.
And this one's been approved too. Now, we're onto plans for BMWA buildings to convert the first floor into teaching space and classrooms.
Cllr Bob Allen says it is a very big house for the size of the plot... but because the applicant has already got permission to build a four-bed house in the space (the extra bedrooms are being included through another floor), he's happy to approve.
Mr Ahmed speaking again for this one... although he says he doesn't have much to say! Says he doesn't think there's much impact to surrounding properties.
Councillors have turned their attention to the building of a six-bedroom house at the rear of 60 New Hall Lane in Heaton. A neighbour has complained about the size of these plans, but planning officers are recommending approval.
"Even before it was derelict it was an eyesore", says Cllr John Walsh.
Cllr Linda Thomas says it's a good development for a "not particularly good looking site... a blight of the area".
Mr Ahmed speaking for it now for it, he runs developer company Y A Architectural Services.
Council officers are recommending approval. Sadly these sorts of applications for pub sites to be turned into houses are pretty common, these days.
Six five-bedroom houses could be built on the (cleared) former site of the City Hotel in Eskirk Street, if this next application is approved.
It's been approved unanimously.
The site used to be a quarry, we're hearing, so if it's improved environmental officers will assess the area for contamination.
Linda Wright speaking for it now. She says it's in a sustainable location, on land allocated for housing, meets council standards for privacy distances, etc.
In other news - Labour members are munching. I fear the return of the humbug ring.
They'll be made up of a row of five terraced dwellings along Crown Lane, then five detached and two semi-detached houses on a newly created cul-de-sac.
Plans for 12 new houses to be built in the land between 46 and 52 Crown Lane, Horwich, now being discussed.
Cllr Tony Connell moving approval, seconded - and approved. Good.
They can't hit 'very good', so they want to find out if it's ok to get 'good' instead.
Bit of a complicated one, next. Peveril Securities want to change a condition of their existing planning permission for the old Bradley Mill in Little Lever, regarding the BREEAM rating (an environmental assessment).
And it's been refused.
Cllr Ann Cunliffe moving refusal after being shown 360-degree pictures of the site by planning officers.
Bolton council officers want councillors to reject, but Horwich Town Council are happy for it to be approved.
Now we're onto a bid to build a one-bedroom bungalow in a space in 69 Winter Hey Lane, Horwich.
Councillors now looking at an application for a part two storey, part single storey extension on a house in Dover Grove, BL3. It's to make more room for a family for seven. Councillors have decided to defer a decision after a visit.
Here's how it could look:
Application is APPROVED (with that condition) - Bolton will have two town centre cinemas!
Wait - Cllr Sherrington wants a vote on that condition.
Cllr John Walsh next, he says he wants an extra condition to 'right a wrong' and reintroduce a link between Crompton Place and Bradshawgate, which officers have agreed to.
Cllr Bob Allen agreeing to approval, no good reason to reject it he says.
Cllr Nick Peel moving the application. Says it is a shame there are two businesses looking to build a cinema rather than other leisure options - say, a bowling alley, which he says he'd personally quite enjoy.
Paul Till from Le Salle Investments (on behalf of Santander, that owns Crompton Place) speaking for the application. Says the TK Maxx unit has been empty for five years, and these plans will "recycle that space and regenerate it".
It says Crompton Place will "in no way regenerate any aspects of the wider town... The proposed development makes no attempt to improve or enhance the heritage and conservation of the immediate area... We challenge how deliverable the proposed development is... The applicant themselves have acknowledged that there is only room for one cinema in the town centre."
The Moorgarth Group, owners of the Market Place which is started work building its nine-screen cinema this month, has sent in a letter objecting to the plans which is on the committee late list.
Next one is another biggie - Crompton Place Shopping Centre's plans for a 11-screen cinema - the second town centre cinema, if it is approved.
Cllr Christopher Peacock of Westhoughton speaking now. Says he's shares the council officers concerns and has asked for a site visit - which has been agreed, so the application has been deferred.
Next up is an application for a part single, part two storey extension at the back of 204 Manchester Road in Westhoughton. Council officers have recommended councillors refuse the application because of its size and design.
An hour in, and we've done two applications of 21. Hold onto your hats, people.
Gone to a vote - it's APPROVED.
Deputy leader Cllr Linda Thomas says she's very concerned about both the temporary accommodation the first wave of academy pupils will be going in to, and also the final school building. "We would hope to see what this new school would look like very, very quickly."
Focusing in on Beehive roundabout, says £50,000 is not enough to improve the area. "It is a critical issue, and we can't afford to be fobbed off with half-baked schemes... they need to be really good schemes."
Cllr Bob Allen now, recommending approval. Says it's important to remember it's an outline application, but more details about the highways work is needed. He says he hopes the conditions are robust enough for local residents.
Cllr Nick Peel said initially he was worried about the 'sheer size' of the office provision. This has been revised down from the original application - it was going to be 29,000 sq metres, whereas now it's 2,500. This is enough to relay his fears, he says.
He's also expressing concern that new office space will damage the town centre, before proposed developments in Bolton are realised.
Here's how the plan could look:
Cllr Norman Critchley starting the debate now. He says they have the capacity to do "considerable harms" to the assets of that area (Middlebrook and the surrounding area), and that the traffic situation is currently "terrible".
Added that Emerson, as the owners of the nearby Middlebrook shopping centres and one of the key developers behind Rivington a Chase, have 'continued concerns' about these plans
Representative from the Emerson group has objected to the proposals. He says there is still too much office space allocated in the plans, and that there is a greater need for a car parking management system, which hasn't taken into account match day traffic
They don't intend to move the statue by the Memorial walkway on the west stand, though the area will be remodelled
Mr Gee says there is a degree of urgency to start work on the school as they have 200 students ready to start in September (that's three months away)
This is recommended for approval. Now Richard Geet is speaking for the plans.
Council officers also saying they want to give Burnden Leisure (owners of Wanderers and the people behind this application) seven years to build this scheme.
The Emerson group have sent in an objection, in relation to the car parking. They say there isn't enough provided in the plans. So the council have suggested a condition (if approval is given) saying that car parking arrangements need to be made before the Grand Arc development is built.
The council and applicant have also agreed a 2,500 sq metre limit for the office space in these plans, so it doesn't take away from Bolton town centre
In terms of the free school, the applicant is working with the education funding department. They're planning for the first year of the free school to be accommodated in the east stand of the stadium from September 2014 to September 2015, then the new school will be developed
Engineers say that this scheme CAN be accommodated and the traffic system will work, subject to a improvements to (basically all) major junctions around the development
A decision was deferred on this in December to give time for an assessment of the traffic implications, given that Rivington Chase (in the former Horwich Loco Works) is also set to be built.
It's an outline application, meaning there's no big details about each of the buildings. But we do know they want a free school for 6 to 19 year olds, the development of a 'grand arc' of retail, food and drink and offices, 200 residential apartments and a hotel. There's up to 314 car parking spaces included, too.
It's approved. Next up - Bolton Wanderers' grand plans for the area surrounding the Macron Stadium (that doesn't feel right to type - always the Reebok!!)
Cllr John Walsh says it's exactly this sort of brownland that should be built on for new houses, and unnecessary conditions should be at a minimum. "We want to make it easier, not harder for developers".
Cllr Elaine Sherrington, also a Tonge councillor, said residents have asked her if they were growing a forest on the site, it's that overgrown.
Also agrees with Mr Whittaker about the vegetation clause - "it really isn't an issue", he's said.
"The sooner it gets cleared and the sooner it gets built on, the better."
Says local residents have complained to him about fly tipping on the land for some time.
No objections. Cllr Nick Peel says he's "very very happy" to move approval for this site, which is "a terrible eyesore" in Tonge.
Frank Whittaker speaking for the application now, but objecting to some of the conditions approved by the council including one that says no vegetation clearance should take place between March and August.
"it's unreasonable, it's unnecessary", he said.
Two neighbours on Moorfield Grove and Eccleston Avenue have written to the council to complain about the plans. They've said the proposed buildings are too high and will restrict daylight for neighbouring properties.
It's the site of an old children's home. The site had planning permission for apartments, and now developers are looking at building houses instead. This one has been recommended for approval by council officers.
And we're off! First item to be discussed is plans for 12 mew houses in three terraces in 25 Thicketford Road, Tonge Moor
Lots of declarations on interest, I'll try and declare them as they happen. Lots of councillors admitting to be Wanderers season ticket holders.
Fire evacuation and a welcome to new members
And we're off. Standing for Cllr Martin Donaghy, Mayor of Bolton
Bit slow getting started but don't fret planning fans, we'll be on our way soon (I hope)
Councillors are beginning to file in now and take their seats.
We're going to have a few new members on today's committee after the local elections in May - UKIP's Cllr Paul Richardson for Little Lever is one on the newbies.
The public gallery is already quite busy but councillors have yet to arrive. In a turn the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Martin Donaghy will be at today's meeting - it's the first time I've ever covered a planning meeting where the Mayor has come along.
The planning agenda (and supplementary info) is 251 pages - we're in for a long one, folks. Don't worry, we'll get through it together.
Afternoon all, Elaine here ready to bring you another thrilling installment of Bolton Council's planning committee. Lots on the agenda today, including some biggies - most notably the Crompton Place cinema bid and Bolton Wanderers' £100m so-called 'Middlebrook Masterplan'
Good afternoon. The meeting is due to start at 2pm.
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