08:00 Monday 26 November 2012

Councillors disgusted by inspectorate's go-ahead

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

PARISH councillors have reacted with disgust after plans to convert a Grade II listed building into homes were given the go-ahead.

Councillor Kathy LambThe decision to transform the historic Winshill coach house, on the corner of Mill Hill Lane and Newton Road, into two houses has caused anger among councillors who believe the junction the site sits on will cause a danger to any occupants or visitors to the new houses.

The building was once used to house coaches from the nearby Burton Flour Mill, but has been empty for many years.

A similar application was thrown out in 2009 on the grounds that the lack of a pathway and suitable parking space outside the building would be hazardous.

However, a pavement will now be installed outside the new dwellings and a parking area has been allocated, but to the anger of councillors, across the road.

They believe homeowners, who may own more than one car, or visitors will park at the side of the road, causing a danger at the busy junction.

Such issues regarding the plans were raised by Staffordshire County Council, but an independent planning inspectorate decided the proposals were acceptable.

During the latest meeting of Winshill Parish Council, members formally expressed their disappointment at the outcome.

Michael Key said: “I’m very disappointed with the decision; I think it’s a perverse decision. I can’t see how it’s going to make it anything other than more awkward at that junction.

“It isn’t particularly people living there parking outside; it’s tradesmen and visitors pitching up at the side of the road. I feel quite strongly about this to be honest.”

Council chairman Ian North said: “Everyone I’ve spoken to is flabbergasted with this decision. It’s a reverse of localism completely.”

Kathy Lamb, who represents Tower division on the county coucil, was in agreement, adding: “There’s the potential for accidents if someone parks there.

Pulling out of Mill Hill Lane, there’s just poor visibility.”

A report submitted by the Planning Inspectorate read: “Staffordshire County Council’s highways department now has no objections to the proposal, as long as conditions are met and imposed relating to the parking places and the footway being in place prior to any occupation of the dwellings and thereafter retained.

“I acknowledge that residents may still be concerned about the risks relating to highway safety but in situations such as this, highway considerations must be balanced against other material planning considerations.

“In this case it is my view that the highway issues are not insurmountable and that the proposals for the footpath and off-site parking are acceptable in that they mitigate the previous risks raised by the highway authority.”

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