Shropshire Star

Plans for flats and shop to be built in town centre refused by council

Plans for flats and a shop to be built in a town centre have been refused by the council amid concerns about there being no designated parking.

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An artist’s impression. Picture: Dutch Architecture/Telford & Wrekin Council

Housing developer Luxhom Invest submitted plans earlier this year for 10 flats and a shop to be built in Slaney Street, Oakengates, Telford.

Two vacant semi-detached homes were proposed to be demolished in the prominent town-centre location to make space for the development.

The flats were proposed to have one or two bedrooms with amenity space and balcony areas also forming part of the proposals.

Luxhom Invest claimed their plan would ‘complement’ the regeneration work taking place in Oakengates and would ‘enhance’ the area’s appearance.

“The proposed building will follow the general pattern of development close to the back of footpath and will be modest in height staying well below the height of the larger buildings such as the Chapel and the theatre,” said the applicant in a design and access statement.

“The building will have a strong presence within the street scene due to its elevated and open position, making the best of the views available over the surrounding area.

“The current proposal will make best use of currently vacant land and will provide much-needed housing within easy reach of all local amenities, facilities and within excellent transport links.

“It will add activity to this currently unused section of town and will help in creating a much better experience for the people who are using the existing facilities and the new proposed facilities.

“Attracting more people into the town centre will be of benefit to the area as a whole.”

However, Anita Cund objected to the plans on behalf of Oakengates Town Council stating that there was no parking plan provided and the council feared over-development of the site.

She added: “The planning application history going back to 2007, mentions the refusal of 10 apartments. The application was re-submitted for nine apartments which was granted and included parking provision but did not include a retail offer.

“The development is not in keeping with the existing street scene in Slaney Street and is in contrast to existing historical buildings.

“The development will overshadow the existing sheltered housing properties on Uxacona Way, adjacent to the United Reform Church.

The council’s highways department objected to the development but said that the lack of retail parking ‘does not cause any particular concerns’ due to the location of the free public car park.

“In essence the public car park is being utilised for the very purpose of why it is there,” they added.

“The parking survey conducted also shows there is capacity within the car park when considering the provision required for the retail in isolation.”

However, the highways department objected to the potential use of the public car park by flats residents.

They added: “The lack of parking for the residential is problematic in that the 14 spaces it demands cannot and should not be secured within the public car park.”, for the longer periods the spaces will be required (including weekends and evenings when shows at the theatre are on), to the detriment of these spaces being lost to the wider public.

“There is a degree of weight to the argument that the location is sustainable and therefore parking should not be required, but in reality the very presence of the public car park would encourage car owning occupiers of the proposed flats.”

The highways officer also raised concerns that residents of the flats could increase the demand of on-street parking in the area.

Also raised as an issue was the site boundary which the highways officer said ‘failed to include’ the verge margin in front of the retail unit which was proposed to be hard surfaced and a potential loading bay.

They added: “Access to the site is effectively land locked.”

The council’s drainage department also raised objections to the proposed scheme for the development.

The council’s planning officer rejected the plans.