I reported earlier this week about the sale of the Millhouse Pub Site from Galliford Try to the Symphony Housing Group.
I have today received an email response from the Group Chief Executive setting out their plans for the redevelopment of this site. I have reproduced that email below. LHT regers to Liverpool Housing Trust, part of the Symphony Group
As you will read they are going to ditch the plans for 38 apartments and submit a planning application for 28 x 2 bedroom 3 person flats for rent or buying, this seems to me to be a more acceptable proposal.
Dear Cllr Blakeley,
Many thanks for your e mail raising your concerns about the Millhouse site.
LHT purchased the site from Galliford Try in Mid November 2016 with planning as mentioned in your email. In our view the scheme with planning was too dense and we had indicative plans drawn up to enable a firm bid to be submitted to the HCA for 28 x two bedroom 3 person flats for rent to buy (general needs). I am pleased to tell you that this was successful and that we now have a grant allocation for the site.
As you observed, we have tidied and fenced the site and understand that there are no current concerns from neighbours about anti-social behaviour. We are about to tender for demolition works to clear the site. We are working with the Local Authority, have started all the site investigations and have a meeting in place this week with the architect to move the site forward. Our aim is to have a 2017/18 start on site subject to the revised planning.
We would be delighted to meet with you, maybe on site, to discuss our plans and to that end, I have copied in my colleague Lin Powell who is leading our work and asked her to get in touch with you directly.
I trust that this is of assistance.
With kind regards
Bronwen Rapley, Group Chief Executive
Symphony Housing Group, 12 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 4AA
Following weeks of lobbying by local Councillors, Bruce Berry, (pictured at the new gates) Steve Williams, Chris Blakeley and local residents its good news for those who live near to the former Millhouse Pub. The owners, Galliford Try have finally fenced and gated the vehicle access to the site. This will hopefully stop further fly tipping. The owners have also promised to trim back the overgrown vegetation.
I was disappointed to receive an email today from the Planning Inspectorate informing me that the Inspectorate would not hold a public hearing into this appeal, and, instead would determine the outcome by an exchange of correspondence (see email at the bottom of this post)
I believe in the interests of openness and transparency this matter should have been the subject of a public hearing, where local residents would have been able to put their objections to this development forward and tell the inspector face to face why this appeal should be dismissed. Instead this matter will now be determined by a faceless beaurocrat based in Bristol. I sincerely hope the Inspector takes into account the massive opposition to this proposal
It’s worth repeating that we are not opposed to this ‘eyesore’ being redeveloped, however with a development that is more in keeping with the existing streetscene.
We have completed a review of the procedure following the receipt of the LPA’s statement and third party representations. We consider that there would be no obvious benefit in holding a hearing as the Inspector should be able to come to an informed conclusion on the basis of the written evidence submitted and a site visit. Thus the written procedure seems to be suitable and the appeal will continue in this way. Please note that the Inspector has the final decision on the procedure and if they considers it necessary they will not hesitate to change the procedure.
Case Officer – Planning Team 11
The Planning Inspectorate
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol, BS1 6PN
Telephone: 0303 444 5427
(GTN 7 8870) Fax: 0117 372 8443
Last year the planning application made by Galliford Try for a three storey complex of flats was unanimously refused by Wirral’s Planning Committee who said: The development would be unsatisfactory and undesirable having regard to its scale and massing which would be out of scale with neighbouring development. In particular, the proposed form and rectangular bulk would result in an unacceptable visual impact which would relate poorly to other residential properties and the domestic scale of the area, which the Local Planning Authority considers, would have a detrimental impact within this setting. The proposal is of an inappropriate scale and would result in a detrimental change in the character and appearance of the surrounding area. To allow the proposals would be contrary to Policy HS4 of the Wirral Unitary Development Plan
Well we know the applicant has submitted an appeal and that appeal has now started. We know the applicant has requested that the appeal be dealt with by an exchange of documentation, however I believe this matter to be too important to local residents so I have requested that the appeal be the subject of a public hearing. As soon as I know the outcome of my request I will write to you again. Regardless of the method of appeal it is now a live matter and all representations to the planning inspectorate need to be submitted by the 10th August.
I would urge local residents to make representation to the Inspector and they can do this by writing to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/09, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN alternatively they can submit comments on the Planning Portal at: www.planningportal.gov.uk/pcs or via email to: email@example.com whichever residents choose please quote appeal reference APP/W4325/W/15/3022092
If we are to have this appeal dismissed then local residents need to come together as they did when opposing planning permission.
Earlier today Wirrals Planning Officer contacted me to tell me the Planning Inspectorate has been in touch to inform Wirral Council that the appeal was now due to start. The applicant has asked that the appeal be carried out by an exchange of documentation, however I have requested that the appeal be a public hearing and we will know the outcome of that request sometime after next Monday.
Hopefully the inspectorate will recognise the importance of this planning application and allow the hundreds of local people who oppose this development to have their say in person rather than just writing.
Watch this space………………..