Maya Properties’ proposals for an apartment block on Bridgewater Road were refused against officer recommendation for a second time at last night’s Trafford planning committee, while a tight vote saw Novo secure consent for its controversial Brown Street development in Hale by seven votes to six.
Novo’s proposals, brought forward in partnership with Trafford Council, are for 22 homes and a multi-storey car park on the Brown Street car park site next to the village’s station.
Designed by architect Project3, the scheme, pictured above, features 10 houses in a brick-clad block along with a four-storey apartment building of 12 homes. More than half of the homes on the site are proposed as affordable and will be available for shared ownership, managed by Southway Housing Trust.
A two-storey car park features 67 spaces, linked to the red brick-clad block; 10 of the spaces are allocated for the homes leaving 57 available for public use. CPUK is attached as main contractor, and the professional team also includes Civic Engineers, Project23, Nexus Planning, and Planit-IE.
Brown Street approved
This had proved controversial before committee with a large number of objections coming from local councillors, the Hale Community Trust, and local MP Graham Brady. Accusations levelled at the project included the fact it includes “fancy flats not affordable homes”, despite 55% of the homes in the scheme being for shared ownership; the council has also been accused of “selling assets for short term financial gain without considering the long-term losses to the community”.
Despite this, council planning officers had recommended the project for approval citing the need for affordable homes in the borough, while arguing the existing car park site was used infrequently and was rarely full.
At committee, members voted seven to six to approve along party lines, with six Conservative councillors voting against and six Labour members and one Green voting in favour.
Three Hale councillors spoke against the scheme along with a planning consultant employed by the objectors, for a combined 18 minutes, while planning consultant Nexus spoke for three minutes in favour, along with Labour councillor James Wright, the council’s executive member of investment, regeneration, and strategic planning.
Wright argued the need for affordable housing in the borough, especially in an area which was one of Trafford’s least affordable, and urged councillors to consider the impact of being seen to refuse a development that offered 55% of its homes as shared ownership – more than the 40% normally required by the council on a development of this size.
He also argued the net loss of 23 car parking spaces was not enough of a reason to block a potential £6m investment in the town, nor the loss of new families living in the area who could support local businesses.
Although two Conservative councillors moved the scheme for refusal on overdevelopment concerns, this was overruled after the reasons for approval won support from the Labour and Green representatives.
Bridgewater Road refused
However, councillors went against officer recommendation for the second time to refuse Maya Properties’ plans for 38 apartments in a mixed-level apartment block on the former Rileys Snooker Club on Bridgewater Road, near Navigation Road station.
The scheme was previously refused at committee in July, again against officer recommendation, and the plans have been tweaked over the last six months to remove four apartments and lose one storey in height.
Eight of the apartments were to be offered as shared ownership, to be managed by Trafford Housing Trust, equating to 21% of the total – this is below the policy requirement of 45%.
The updated proposals attracted 45 objections from neighbouring properties as well as three local councillors: Conservative Cllr Michael Young, and Green Councillors Dan Jerrome and Geraldine Coggins. Jerrome had called on the council to “re-think a more appropriate scheme for the area” after criticising Maya’s proposals for a lack of “clarity, analysis, or long-term thinking” on car parking.
The scheme was refused by nine votes to three, with Cllr Coggins, who sits on the committee as a Green member, recusing herself to speak against the project.
In a statement to Place North West following the committee decision, Jerrome added: “I’m delighted the planning committee rejected this application as the re-submission clearly hadn’t addressed the problems of over-massing and car parking. But I’d also like to add, this has been a victory for residents who have worked in an organised way to protect the character, environment and quality of life in their area.”
In a post on their Facebook page, Altrincham’s Conservatives said: “Removing one floor and four apartments isn’t listening to comments of residents, comments made at the planning committee in July and reviewing the planning decision notice.
“Passion about their neighbourhood, commitment to fighting for what they want, or don’t, taking the initiative to meet, discuss, research and pull together evidence paid off tonight.
“This was the fight of the residents and we were pleased to be able to help, offer support and advice with Michael [Young] speaking as their ward councillor tonight.”
The professional team on the project includes Paul Butler Associates as planner, Curtins as transport consultant, and Urban Green as environmental consultant.