Following a heated debate at last night’s planning committee, Trafford Council has rejected two proposals to build apartment blocks alongside the Bridgewater Canal in Altrincham against officer recommendations.
The two proposals, one by MCR Property Group and another by Maya Property, would have added 141 apartments between Navigation Road and Oldfield Brow.
MCR Property Group’s plans, designed by architect Leach Rhodes Walker, included 99 apartments across blocks ranging between three and nine storeys in height on a site off Wharf Road.
Replacing an existing brick warehouse on the opposite side of the canal to Halfords, the proposals featured one, two, and three-bed flats, split between 34 one-beds, 53 two-beds, and six three-bed apartments, as well as six two-bed townhouses fronting Wharf Road.
Further along the canal, Maya Property’s proposals by architect Ollier Smurthwaite were for 42 apartments in a seven-storey block. These were split between 11 one-bed and 31 two-bed apartments, and a ground floor car park with 42 spaces and 42 cycle parking spaces was also proposed.
This would have sat on the site of the former Rileys Snooker Club on Bridgewater Road.
Both projects had been recommended for approval by planning officers, subject to a Section 106 agreement, despite a series of objections from neighbours.
MCR’s plans attracted 45 letters of objection which largely raised concerns over access, increased traffic and congestion; while Maya’s proposals saw 43 objections, again focusing on an increase in traffic as well as the project’s scale and massing.
Despite officer recommendation, both proposals were refused by planners at the meeting.
MCR’s proposals were strongly criticised by members and were rejected due to overdevelopment concerns and the associated impact on local transport infrastructure, although planning officers said the reasons for refusal would likely be overturned on appeal.
Both projects were rejected by the committee for two reasons: that the scale, massing, and design of the buildings would harm the character of the area; and that a shortfall in parking provision on the sites would lead to overspill parking on surrounding residential streets, which would be detrimental to residential amenity and highway safety.
Chris Taylor, managing director of MCR Property Group’s residential arm Regency Residential, said he was “very disappointed” at the committee’s decision.
“We have been working very closely with Trafford Borough Council for the last 12 – 14 months and we were recommended, by them, to proceed to planning,” he said.
“The decision to reject was based on the size of the development and the increase in traffic volume as a result, despite the site being policy compliant and having TBC recommendation to proceed to planning.
“We wholeheartedly believe that our proposed development would have added value to an area of Altrincham in much need of this investment, reinvigorating a brownfield site, as well as created a great canal side community. We will review our options and look for a positive outcome for all.”
Maya’s proposals were rejected over the provision of on-site parking at the site, and Maya said it would be looking to “find an alternative solution” to address member concerns.
Founder of Maya Property Sanjeev Mehan said: “We are obviously disappointed at the decision; however, we understand that the process is there for a reason and we must abide by that.
“The process exists to protect the area and the community, and unfortunately, our Southbank development was not considered the best way forward for the neighbourhood.
“Following this decision, we will take the suggestions on board, reconsider our ideas and revisit our options. We remain a proactive company with a keenness to invest in the area, and are very confident that we can propose an altered design-led development that will prove beneficial to both the area and the community.”
The professional team for Maya’s proposals included Paul Butler Associates as planner, Curtins as transport consultant, and Urban Green as environmental consultant; while MCR’s professional team featured Savills as planner and Enzygo as transport planner and ecological consultant.
Also on the agenda were plans by Novo Property Group to convert and extend a former office on Barrington Road along from the Garrick Theatre into eight apartments.
The former Oak House, currently home to an accountancy firm, will be converted into six apartments while a new-build extension on the building’s car park will house two apartments.
The project has been designed by architect Calderpeel with Nexus as planner.
These plans had been recommended for approval and were given the green light by councillors at last night’s meeting, despite an intervention by Green councillor Daniel Jerrome, who was elected in May’s local elections.
Cllr Jerrome asked the planning committee to refuse the application due to the removal of a tree, and asked committee members to overturn a previously-consented tree removal, despite this not being within the remit of the planning committee.
Conservative councillor Michael Young also objected to the plans as he claimed the extension was being built in a garden. The extension will be built on Oak House’s car park.