Responses to planning applications and appeals
Below are Standish Voice’s responses to various planning applications:
THE CROWN HOTEL, WORTHINGTON
A planning application has been lodged to demolish The Crown Hotel, in Worthington, and build homes in its place.
Below is Standish Voice’s objection:
ADDRESS: Crown Hotel, 19-20 Platt Lane, Worthington, Standish, Wigan WN1 2XF
APPLICATION REFRENCE: A/16/81622/OUT
PROPOSAL: Outline application for a residential development following demolition of existing public house, all matters reserved
Standish Voice, the Neighbourhood Forum for Standish, would like to object to the above planning application.
The proposal would destroy a historic and much-loved communal building in the centre of the community of Worthington and Bradley and also eradicate a highly recognisable landmark on one of the highway entrances to Standish.
New homes should not be allowed as there is no support for more housebuilding from the local community and it is an inappropriate site due to its designation as Green Belt, highways problems, accessibility and sustainability.
Demolition of the building
We believe the building has not been properly and realistically marketed as a going concern as until very recently it was a successful, profitable and award-winning enterprise. We have anecdotal evidence that the marketing of the building was not carried out comprehensively and was for sale at around 25% above its true market value.
We believe The Crown is still highly attractive as a building for the hospitality sector, either as a pub, restaurant, hotel, or combination of all three, as it has been until it closed in the first week of January.
This is especially the case as, going forward, 1,550 homes are set to be built within a couple of miles of the business, increasing the population of Standish by up to a third. Around 150 of these homes will be built on Bradley Lane, within a short distance of The Crown.
A building of this nature should not be demolished as it has not been demonstrated that there is no demand for the property as a public house or other hospitality business.
The Crown has been a public house and valued facility at the centre of this small community (and also of the wider area) for generations. Indeed, it is now the only ‘community’ building within walking distance for the people who live in the Bradley area and this part of Worthington.
As well as being a public house, it was a place where community groups met, including a weekly folk club.
Paragraph 70 of the National Planning Policy Framework helps to support community pubs, which The Crown was until its closure: “To deliver the social, recreational and cultural facilities and services the community needs, planning policies and decisions should:
- plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments;
- guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs;
- ensure that established shops, facilities and services are able to develop and modernise in a way that is sustainable, and retained for the benefit of the community; and
- ensure an integrated approach to considering the location of housing, economic uses and community facilities and services.”
Paragraph 28 of the NPPF states planning authorities should “promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities in villages, such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship”.
We believe The Crown should be classed as a ‘community facility’ as there is no other building of a similar nature in the Bradley area and this part of Worthington.
As such, Policy CP3 of Wigan’s Local Plan Core Strategy states that the authority will only allow “development that would result in the loss of a community facility when either: 1. It can be demonstrated that there is no longer a need for the facility; or 2. An alternative facility of equivalent or better standard will be provided, either on-site or elsewhere, in accordance with the provisions above.”
In the case of The Crown, the planning application does not fulfil either point 1 or point 2.
We also believe The Crown should be designated as an Asset of Community Value. As such, Standish Voice has submitted an application to the local authority to do this. This application was in preparation as soon as the building closed in early January.
We believe The Crown is a heritage asset to the local community and wider area and should be retained.
Some of the buildings that form The Crown have been standing since the early 1800s and there is evidence that the site was an ‘inn’ since at least 1890, and probably long before this.
Although not a listed building, architecturally it is attractive, authentic, sits well with surrounding buildings and is in keeping with its setting, the semi-rural aspect of the immediate area.
Paragraph 17 of the NPPF seeks, generally, to conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance. Paragraph 131 covers this in more detail, stating that authorities should take account of the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets and putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation – the positive contribution that conservation of heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic vitality.
We believe The Crown should also be listed on Wigan Council’s emerging heritage assets list of Buildings of Interest due to its age and significance.
Taken together, this means that demolition of The Crown, without fully demonstrating that the building cannot continue as a hospitality business, would conflict with Policy CP11 of the Core Strategy which states that planning decisions need to show they are “conserving and enhancing where appropriate our heritage assets and their settings”. And are “encouraging the sympathetic and appropriate re-use of existing buildings and structures, especially those which make a positive contribution to the special character of their locality and are identified as ‘at risk’”.
Also, when considering this application, the council should be mindful of the Core Strategy’s paragraph 9.69: “There is clear evidence that the retention and enhancement of the best of our historic built environment is important to ‘quality of life’ and helps make places that people want to live, work and otherwise spend their time in and in which businesses want to invest. It is, therefore, important to manage the process of change within our historic environment and to promote the benefits of the repair, renovation, extension and alteration of our historic assets.”
Wigan Council also has a laudable intention to safeguard public houses, as stipulated in the draft Allocations Plan.
Its suggested policy RC 8 states: “When the council has control, the loss of a public house to a different use of redevelopment will only be permitted if it can be demonstrated that there is no current of likely future demand for the property as a public house and it is unviable for it to be made suitable to meet current or likely future demand.”
We do not believe there is evidence to show that the suggested policy below has been applied.
“Applicants should provide evidence: Of the measures taken over a minimum of 24 months to run the public house as a viable business, and what other measures have been considered and not implemented, and why?
“That the premises have been marketed for a minimum 12 months as a public house, free of tie to a brewery or other supplier. This must have been at a market price following independent professional valuation, with no genuine offers to operate a public house business from the premises, either on a freehold or leasehold basis.”
Although this policy is not yet in force, consultation has not shown any objections to it being implemented. It would be reasonable for the local authority to be mindful of these draft policies when considering the planning application for The Crown.
Evidence provided for the above policy is in Wigan Borough Retail And Centres Evidence Paper (October 2015).
The evidence from it below is comprehensively appropriate to The Crown planning application:
- Public houses
14.1. Public houses are an important part of the borough’s culture and character. They encourage social interaction and are important meeting places for individuals and a range of groups and societies. Pubs are also an important part of the local economy, providing direct and indirect employment opportunities and by attracting visitors into the area.
14.2. In this respect, the NPPF is clear at paragraph 70 that public houses are valued community assets which, amongst other community facilities and services, should be planned for positively and guarded against their unnecessary loss.
14.3. In many cases, pubs are important landmark buildings with architectural merit that make a positive contribution to the local townscape. The council’s emerging Supplementary Planning Document on Buildings of Local Interest is likely to identify a number of pubs across the borough as being of local architectural or historic interest.
14.4. Nationally, the Campaign For Real Ale estimate that 31 pubs close every week, leading to the loss of a valued resource (CAMRA Tool Kit for Local Authorities Plan Creation – November 2014). There are a number of factors which have influenced the level of pub closures nationally. These include rising costs faced by landlords, high rents, the availability of cheaper alcohol in supermarkets and changing lifestyles. However, it is widely felt that current planning powers and policies do not give local authorities sufficient power to ensure pubs are retained (Survey of 49 councils by LGiU – July 2014). This view is shared by the Campaign for Real Ale nationally and locally.
14.5. Since April 2011, planning permission has been granted for demolition or conversion to other uses of 26 pubs within the borough. The majority (58%) of these were for residential uses, with the remainder (42%) being for a range of retail and commercial uses. In addition, there have been a number of pub conversions to A1 retail use, for which planning consent is not required under existing planning regulations. Examples include the former Alexandra Hotel at Whelley and the former Golden Lion at Hindley Green.
14.6. Under the Localism Act 2011, local groups have the opportunity to nominate Assets of Community Value, which can include pubs. This gives local groups a chance to delay any sale of the property for 6 months, to allow them to prepare a bid to purchase the asset. Potentially, this creates an opportunity for a group to takeover and run a pub.
14.7. Within the borough, only one pub has been nominated as an Asset of Community Value, namely the Old Springs at Springs Road, Orrell. In January 2015, ministers announced that they will extend planning protection to all pubs listed as an Asset of Community Value. In this situation, planning consent would be required for the demolition or change of use of nominated pubs. The loss of public houses can have a severe impact on local communities, particularly in smaller towns and settlements. In the case of Lower Ince, a number of recent closures have left only one pub remaining open within the area, the Rock Hotel. The closure of this last remaining pub would leave the area without such facility, affecting the viability of the local community.
14.8. Therefore the draft Allocations Plan includes a policy to restrict the loss of a public house to a different use or redevelopment unless it can be demonstrated that there is no current or likely future demand for the property as a public house and it is unviable for it to be made suitable to meet current or likely future demand.
The demolition of The Crown would have a similar effect to the closure of the Rock Hotel, detailed in Paragraph 14.7, namely that “the closure of this last remaining pub would leave the area without such facility, affecting the viability of the local community”.
Not only is The Crown integral to the communal life of the surrounding area, it provides employment, both full time and part time, within walking distance of Bradley and Worthington.
To demolish this building would be to go against the Policy CP5 of the Core Strategy, which states that planning decisions must safeguard “existing employment sites and buildings that are capable of continuing to meet the needs of employment uses and for which there is likely to be sufficient demand”.
Permission for new homes
Standish Voice’s consultation for its emerging Neighbourhood Plan shows that the population of Standish overwhelmingly believes no more housing should be agreed for the village.
Since 2013, 1,550 homes have been passed for the village and are in various stages of planning and construction.
Our consultation was carried out in early summer 2015, before 360 extra homes for Standish were agreed at appeal.
We asked: Does Standish need more homes other than ones already passed. The result, out of 780 replies was: Yes, 4%; No View, 3%; No 93%.
This site is not appropriate for new homes as it is outside the local authority’s ‘broad location’ for new housing in Standish, and it is in Green Belt.
The NPPF states in paragraph 89: “A local planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in Green Belt. Exceptions to this are:
- the extension or alteration of a building provided that it does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building;
- the replacement of a building, provided the new building is in the same use and not materially larger than the one it replaces”.
Standish does not need more housing as the Core Strategy suggested ‘approximately 1,000’ homes should be built on safeguarded land until 2026. The level of expected housebuilding in Standish during that period will now be half as much again.
This site is inappropriate for new housing because of the inadequate highway connection through the railway tunnel to Standish.
The congestion on this route is now considerable and will become worse with the building of 150 homes on part of Bradley Hall Trading Estate.
The lack of adequate pedestrian/cyclist access to Standish through the tunnel means this site is also not sustainable in terms of non-car transport to shops and services.
VICE CHAIR, STANDISH VOICE
Standish Voice has met developers planning housing schemes for the village to talk to them about their intentions and to scrutinise their detailed plans.
We have a team of experts in development and housing, led by housing professional Allan Foster, which has met to discuss housebuilders’ detailed plans as they come in.
The team’s observations, comments and objections have been sent to Wigan Council’s planning department for consideration.
Also below is Standish Voice’s submission to the Planning Inspectorate regarding the appeal against Wigan Council’s refusal of housing developments off Rectory Lane (Golf Course Phase Two) and Chorley Road.
This is our response to the detail plans of the Persimmon/Morris Homes Development Site (Rectory Lane, Phase One) Planning Ref A/15/80981/RMMAJ (click here for a map of the site showing Phase One and Phase Two, which has yet to have a detailed application)
The Building & Development sub-group of Standish Voice has considered the above development proposals and makes the following comments/ observations:
General site layout:
Existing hedgerows should be protected and any Tree Preservation Orders should be rigorously enforced.
Is there any formal playground/play area provided – if so, where are they and does the provision meet the requirements stated in the Local Plan?
Are there any proposals to relocate footpaths or Rights of Way to the leafy periphery of the site rather than through a housing estate?
Why is this level of sports provision proposed? (Initial analysis of the Neighbourhood Forum Neighbourhood Plan Consultation shows that residents of Standish want a full indoor leisure facility).
Are these sports facilities for general use by residents of Standish or are they intended for residents of this estate only?
How and who will manage this sports facility?
Who is responsible for the running and upkeep of this sports facility?
How will this be sports funded long term?
The elevational treatment is generic and not particularly distinctive of Standish.
The poor quality of the Persimmon drawings do not give an indication as to whether the colour or texture of brickwork changes between house types or between plots, and gives the impression of a sea of monotone, nor does it give any detail of internal layout.
We would welcome clarification as to whether these units will be offered to a local Registered Provider under the 2011-15 Affordable Homes Programme or under the 2015 AHP bid round.
If submitted under AHP 2015, then the house types should meet with the new National Standards. (Please note the new National Standards are in excess of the current HCA space standards, whereby a 2B4P house needs to be a minimum of 79sqm – measured internally)
We understand the following house types are intended as affordable units:
Capesthorn: 3B5P mews house (no internal area given) – HCA min requirement 82sqm
Dalton: 3B5P mews house (no internal area given) – HCA min requirement 82sqm
Chatsworth: 3B5P mews house (no internal area given) – HCA min requirement 82sqm
Hanbury: 3B5P house (70.7sqm) – HCA min requirement 82sqm
Budworth: 2B4P mews house (no internal area given) – HCA min requirement 67sqm
Alnwick: 2B4P house (58.6sqm) – HCA min requirement 67sqm
1BR 2B3P Apartment (no internal area given HCA min requirement 57sqm
Edgware: 2B3P Apartment (46.5sqm internal) – HCA min requirement 57sqm
Beadnell: 1B2P Apartment 47.7sqm (internal) HCA min requirement 45sqm
It should be noted that none of the houses above whose internal areas have been noted meets the Homes and Communities Agency standards and are therefore not acceptable as affordable homes.
The Beadnell dwelling type meets the HCA standards but the architectural aesthetic is poor.
From experience it is highly unlikely that any of the Persimmon house types meet the HCA’s requirements (see HQI Form v4 April 2008 pp28-31).
We respectfully request that none of these house types is accepted at detail planning stage and that better quality designs are required from the developer in terms of space standards.
Further concerns were raised by our members about:
Air quality – what mitigation has/will be put in place?
Proposed bus route – where will this run?
We welcome your earliest response to our queries and concerns.
Please acknowledge receipt of these comments.
Yours faithfully, Allan Foster (Thematic Lead for Buildings and Development), Standish Voice
This is the submission on Wainhomes’ Cat I’ Th’ Window development off Almond Brook Road:
The Building & Development sub-group of Standish Voice has considered the above development proposals and makes the following comments/observations:
General site layout:
Existing hedgerows should be protected.
Public Open Space is noted on the plans – is this inclusive of the bridleway?
Tree Preservation Orders should be rigorously enforced.
Is there any formal playground/play area provided? If so, where are they and does the provision meet the requirements stated in the Local Plan?
We would like to see relevant documents that have been produced in order to discharge any conditions set at outline planning consent.
It was noted that the soft landscaping proposals, and particularly the tree screening to the houses opposite the Charnley Arms, are rather thin and somewhat disappointing.
The elevational treatment is generally described as dull and monotonous.
There is no detail or relief to suggest these house types are specific to Standish, nor that they are distinctive of the village.
They appear identical to houses being constructed by this developer in Marus Bridge, Wigan.
There is very little architectural detail on any of the open-market for sale house types, with a brick ‘plinth detail’ used on just one house type, and a smattering of render used on 2 other house types.
The poor‐quality drawings do not give an indication as to whether the colour or texture of brickwork changes between house types or between plots, and gives the impression of a sea of monotone.
There appears to be little or no effort put into generating a palette of colours and materials which will give life to the development and add variety and interest.
The affordable units, and particularly the apartments, are bland in the extreme, and are completely devoid of charm or character.
We would welcome clarification as to whether these units will be offered to a local Registered Provider under the 2011‐15 Affordable Homes Programme or under the 2015 AHP bid round.
We understand the following house types are intended as affordable units:
Baird 4B6P 2.5-storey house 92.0sqm (external) 90.0sqm (internal)
Baird 3B5P 2-storey house 71.2sqm (external) 69.3sqm (internal)
Bell 2B4P 2-storey house 58.5sqm (external) 55.4sqm (internal)
Oakmere 2B3P Apartments 59.9sqm (internal)
Chinley 1B2P Apartments 46.5sqm (internal)
It should be noted that none of the 2-storey houses above meets the Homes and Communities Agency standards and are therefore not acceptable as affordable homes.
The flats meet HCA standards but the architectural quality is exceptionally poor.
We respectfully request that none of these house types is accepted detail planning stage and that better quality designs are required from the developer in terms of architectural quality and detail.
This is the submission on Countryside’s Rectory Lane development
This is the submission for Bloor Homes detailed plans for Pepper Lane (Planning Ref A/15/81209/MAJOR) – click here for a map
The Building & Development sub-‐group of Standish Voice has considered the above development proposals and makes the following comments/observations
General site layout: Existing hedgerows should be protected Tree Preservation Orders should be rigorously enforced. There appears to be a good level of Public Open Space and other open areas.
House types: The elevational treatment is generally good with a high degree of architectural detail. There is a good mix of materials, textures and colour. The affordable units display an equal level of detail and meet HCA standards.
Additional Information: We would like to see a travel plan, a CEMP and a contamination report. We welcome your earliest response to our queries and concerns. Please acknowledge receipt of these comments.
Allan Foster Standish Voice (Thematic Lead for Buildings and Development).
Submission to the planning inspector regarding the appeal against refusal of planning applications on Rectory Lane and Chorley Road
Standish Voice (SV) is the Neighbourhood Forum for the community of Standish and was ratified by Wigan Council on May 14, 2015.
The Forum is in the process of formulating a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for Standish, which is due to go out to a referendum in late 2016.
The Forum is currently in the middle of an intensive period of community engagement in order to capture the views and opinions of local residents and businesses to inform the NP; to ensure that the community has influence in the planning process and to give it a say in the shaping of future infrastructure development, such as transport measures, housing, leisure and community facilities and to encourage future economic activity.
The passing of outline permission for a number of housing schemes and the scale of this development was the catalyst for the formation of Standish Voice, an organisation which is non-political and representative of all sections of the local community.
Standish Voice believes the Core Strategy policy of allowing the building of approximately 1,000 new houses on safeguarded land in Standish until 2026 will bring challenges, but may also bring some opportunities, for the community.
SV, with some reservations, broadly accepts the working document, Standish Infrastructure Assessment(SIA), issued by Wigan Council in November 2013 as a necessary response to the current situation and notes the high degree of infrastructure spending needed in Standish to accommodate the new homes.
SV is, however, extremely concerned that any housing allowed above the planning inspector’s recommended limit, now at 1,044 dwellings on safeguarded land, taken together with 148 units passed in outline last year for Bradley Hall trading estate, will not be able to be supported even if infrastructure is greatly enhanced.
The SIA document lists necessary improvements to the highways network modelled on 1,000 new homes. However, one of these suggested measures, a new link road between Pepper Lane and Almond Brook Road, has now been downgraded to an estate road by Wigan Council, so will not be part of the package designed to improve the wider road network and so the ability of Standish to accept an increase in traffic is reduced.
Any further uplift on the number of homes would increase the severity of this impact, already categorised as ‘major’ at nearly all of Standish’s key road junctions. Also, some of the bus routes mentioned in SIA have now ceased, affecting sustainable transport options for all residents of Standish.
SV believes that allowing these appeals will render the road network dysfunctional and damage the quality of life of Standish residents.
The impact on air pollution is also of great concern. A ‘citizen science’ study of air pollution in Standish in summer 2014 and winter 2015 found high air pollution linked to exhaust fumes.
A study carried out for a month between January and February 2015 found six sites along two arterial routes into Standish (Preston Road and Almond Brook Road/School Lane) broke EU limits on nitrogen dioxide, with the highest readings near the centre of the village. An increase in traffic from new developments will only increase these unacceptable levels.
SV is also very concerned because all Standish schools are over-subscribed and projected to be so in the future. There is some school capacity in adjoining areas of Wigan, but if new residents send their children to these schools it will harm their ability to integrate into the community. The same is true for healthcare facilities, such the doctors and dentists.
The effect on the landscape of Standish of losing many of its green spaces for housing will be devastating. Many of the new developments are in areas of mature woodland with Tree Preservation Orders, and rich ecologies. More housebuilding will also harm the local population’s ability to use some of these sites for exercise and recreation.
Standish Voice also believes that an increase in the amount of homes allowed for Standish will reduce the deliverability of housing already with outline permission, especially much-needed ‘affordable’ homes, as it will reduce the appetite of developers to build out their sites due to issues of economic viability.
Standish Voice believes future housing provision over and above the Inspector’s recommendations needs to be agreed with the support of the community in a controlled manner and with due regard to the eventual NP.
This is necessary for the successful integration of the new residents within the existing community and to ensure that current residents engage, and have trust in, the planning process.
Letter to Secretary of State
After the planning inspector allowed the appeals for Rectory Lane and Lurdin Lane, Standish Voice wrote to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Gregg Clark.
Here is the letter and the response from his department:
Land to East of Rectory Farm, Rectory Lane, Standish
The Building & Development sub-group of Standish Voice has considered the above development proposals and makes the following comments/observations on the outline planning application:
The Environmental Statement submitted with the application contains a number of inaccuracies that we believe should be corrected so as not to mislead the Planning Committee
Clause 2.17 states that Standish is a town – it is not. It is a village and we are striving to maintain the distinctive identity of the village.
Clause 3.2 states that Wigan’s Core Strategy allows for 1000 new dwellings in the Standish area. Wigan Council has already approved full or outline planning approval for 1,428 new dwellings, which greatly exceeds the number of new homes recommended for the area by the Planning Inspector. Standish does not require even more executive style family homes and this application should be rejected in full.
Clause 3.3 states that Wigan’s Core Strategy does not have a deliverable 5-year supply of new homes. It certainly does now with the approval of an additional 1,428 new homes. The development off Langham Road is not required and does not address the needs of the local community. The adverse effects of this development (loss of green space, noise pollution, carbon monoxide pollution, increased danger to pedestrians and children) greatly outweigh the benefits of this development (Developer profit).
Clause 3.4 is incorrect. There is no immediate need for more executive homes in Standish.
Clause 3.5 is a completely false statement. There is no shortfall of new housing proposals in Standish. Sites already approved in outline or in full include:
A/15/81209/MAJOR Land south of Pepper Lane 300 dwellings A/15/80981/RMMAJ Land to north & south of Rectory Lane 250 dwellings A/15/80625/RMMAJ Land to north of Rectory Lane 150 dwellings A/15/80529/MAJOR Cat I’th Window Farm 298 dwelling A/15/81740/OUTMES Land east of Rectory Farm, Rectory Lane 128 dwellings A/15/00001/REF Land at Lurdin Lane & Chorley Road 110 dwellings A/14/79462 Land north of Old Pepper Lane 39 dwellings A/13/77974 Land at Bradley Hall Trading Estate 148 dwellings
Clause 4.7 refers to Standish as a town. It is not. We are determined to retain our village identity.
Clause 6.7 claims that the submitted transport assessment has used the latest information. Which Census information was used?
Clause 6.9. We fully dispute the conclusion reached in the statement that it is demonstrated the proposed development will not have any significant adverse impact on congestion and safety. This development will add to the already high levels of pollution and will add to the severe congestion experienced in the village at peak periods, and at the M6 motorway junction 27. This additional extension to the Cat I’th Window site will increase danger levels within this new estate, and will increase waiting times for new and existing residents.
Clause 7.3. We fully dispute this development will have a positive benefit to the provision of housing mix. The predominant house type is executive family housing. This does not meet the needs of the current residents of Standish, who need a greater provision of retirement properties or smaller homes and bungalows. There are already too many executive houses in Standish.
In conclusion, we object most strongly to this planning application on the simple grounds that the proposed development is unnecessary in terms of meeting the 5-year deliverable supply as required by Wigan Council’s Core Strategy. It does not provide the type and mix of housing that is needed by the local community, and it is a loss of valuable open green space in Standish.
Please acknowledge receipt of these comments.
Allan Foster Standish Voice (Thematic Lead for Buildings and Development).