Planning matters: proposal for 46 flat development on Arrowe Park Road thrown out

By Mark Gorton

19th Aug 2021 | Property of the Week

A plan for 46 retirement flats has been dismissed over concerns it would dominate Arrowe Park Road in Woodchurch.

In November, a similar proposal to build 46 retirement homes there was rejected after Lib Dem councillor Stuart Kelly compared its design to a brick wall.

Although the design of the building has been changed, councillors still had concerns which caused them to turn Magenta Living's application down by six votes to four at this week's Wirral Council Planning Committee.

Cllr Kelly, Cllr Harry Gorman of the Green Party and four Conservatives outvoted four Labour councillors to throw the plan out.

Speaking as a local councillor and not as a member of the committee, Labour councillor Jean Robinson criticised the idea of getting 46 flats into a building of this size.

She said that the plans would have people packed in "like sardines", but added that the building remained of a scale which would dominate the road's character.

While there is no suggestion that the space in each flat does not match up to legal requirements, other councillors agreed that there were too many flats in the application.

Cllr Gorman said the number of flats had not changed since the previously rejected plan, even though it was clear that a more modest scheme could be built.

Speaking on behalf of residents who objected to the application, Nigel Roberts said the proposal failed to respect the existing rhythm and proportion of the properties on the road.

He added that it would dominate the streetscene and had only limited landscaping.

Council officers had recommended that the committee approve the application, given that the plans had the building set back six metres further into the site than in the previous proposal, and substantial work had been done to improve the building's design.

Maria Killick, associate director of Paddock Johnson Partnership, the applicant's agent, also noted that the building was set back further back from Arrowe Park Road and added that the site was ideal for an extra care scheme given its access to transport routes, supermarkets and the nearby hospital.

The company's design and access statement gave further arguments in favour of the proposal.

It read: "The scheme will provide much needed accommodation for the area whilst at the same time [helping] to increase the range of dwelling choices within the area for older people."

The statement added: "The proposed design creates a high quality sustainable residential development, which makes effective use of an existing brownfield site and is considered an improved enhancement of the site when compared to its former use as a pub."

On design, the DAS said: "It is considered that the proposed design will not have a negative impact on the amenities of the neighbouring properties or the overall character of the area."

The proposal was not without support on the committee.

Labour councillor Brian Kenny voted in favour of the plan, saying "major changes" had been made since it was previously refused and they had significantly improved the proposal.

However, the plan was ultimately thrown out with Cllr Kelly's motion arguing that the plan was still out of character with the area due to scale and form winning majority support from the committee.


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