Friday, October 30, 2009 11:32
Greenroyd Mill Revised Planning Application
This will no doubt appear in next week's Craven Herald, but the decision on the revised application for the Mill was reached last night. As expected, the Planning Committe approved the plans. Work will start prior to Christmas and has to be completed by March 2011 in order for the developer to receive all the grants he has applied for.
As usual, the proceedings stank of incompetence - the residents of Greenroyd Court were given only 14 days notice rather than the standard 21 - the planning department forgot about the new houses that had been built there.
In addition, a reply on the bat roosts from the group Natural England was omitted from the information pack - it was claimed Natural England had not responded to the consultation document, however, a member of the public was able to produce a copy of the response.
Then there was the objector who was not going to be permitted to speak - he had rung up in advance and was advised he would be able to speak. He was overlooked during the public's section of the proceedings, and as he hadn't been to a planning meeting before, was unaware that he wasn't going to be invited to speak until the vote was almost ready to be taken. The objector was eventually allowed to speak, not that it made any difference.
One councillor who opposed the new plans said he felt like he had a gun pointed at his head as a decision had to be made by 31st October, otherwise the developer would lose his chance for funding in the 1st round of the government's "Kickstart" programme. The meeting had been called at short notice and there were certain consultees who had not responded due to holidays, etc.
The public feeling was the outcome had been predetermined before the meeting - it was all about politics and government funding.
The mill will be developed within a fairly short period of time, which is good news, however, the original plans included affordable flats for discounted sale - there will now be a block of 26 affordable flats for rent.
The theory is that these flats will be awarded to those people with a local connection, however, it is not clear that there are sufficient local people on the housing list requiring this type of accomodation, thus the likelihood is that they may be filled by people from outside the Craven district,
the 20 units for private sale are unlikely to sell in such a development and in the current financial climate, so there is a future possibility that these will also be sold to a housing association for affordable rent.
Planning guidance stipulates that affordable housing should be integrated into communities, not isolated. It appears that this doesn't apply to developments of flats, which is a shame.
This new development will have insufficient parking spaces and probably bin spaces especially with the new collection arrangements. One of the bat roosts (an outbuilding) is to be demolished, one is saved (a staircase). The promise is that the bats will be re-housed - please all be vigilant that this is the case.