Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Statement to council committee on Elizabeth Shaw Factory and surrounding land

Former Elizabeth Shaw Factory and surrounding land

Statement about planning application number: 08/03862/F,
submitted to council and which I hope to read out at the planning committee meeting Weds 18 Feb:

I currently have a complaint lodged with the Local Government Ombudsman (ref 08 013 849/LMP) which relates directly to this planning application and a number of other issues. Its been with an investigator for a month or so now. I will be in discussions with the investigator over the coming weeks and have asked them to look at several issues relating to this application.

Given that the LGO process is ongoing and involves both broad matters about policy and procedures not being followed and matters specific to the planning application it would in my view be inappropriate for the committee to proceed further with considering this application at this stage, unless you are minded to refuse permission. It forms a very important part of the context. If further details of my LGO complaint are required during any delay I will supply them.
Update (25 Feb) - Received official confirmation in writing that the committee has deferred finally deciding on this issue probably until 1 April (no joke) - but only on the grounds that they await the successful completion of a legal (S106) agreement, the terms of which had not been finalised at the time of the meeting. Unfortuneately this will be the only matter they will discuss from now (unless something striking happens during Feb/March) as they are minded to approve the application. Not sure what effect, if any, the change of administration following Helen Holland's resignation will have. I will know more about the LGO complaint before the committee next meets I hope but it seems unlikely that the committee will take any notice - even if the decision is very damning!!


  1. Your command of the facts and the force of your argument are overwhelmingly convincing Anon.

  2. Glen - What do you think will happen to this factory site in Greenbank should the council refuse the current application causing the developer to pull out?

  3. Anon - the developers and designers talk very fondly of the concept so I dont think they would pull out altogether. They are much more likely to modify their design a bit and go back to the council. Staying within the current footprint would still give a very nice and viable development. Like most people I dont want them to pull out altogether but I do want to see local people get what they have called for in the consultation whose results have just gone public on the council website.

  4. That sounds a bit naive though Glen. What would you rather have happen - the loss of the land adjacent to the cycle path to make up part of what appears to be a high quality development or the loss of the opportunity to develop this factory site altogether. And, by that i really mean the chance to retain the factory buildings on site through good urban development. With the difficulty developers are having in the current climate in obtaining funding I'd suggest that the reality of the situation is one of the above 2 scenarios. If the people funding this scheme think that it's viability is compromised by reducing it's scope they won't fund it & it won't happen. In the current climate no other developers are likely to come forward, especially with the knowledge that the council are kowtowing to a hostile & vocal minority. Seriously Glen, you've been very vocal in opposition to this so you need to think about what might happen - what if the developers pull out??? is that not worse than losing a little bit of hedgerow??? Is the current proposal really as bad as you're making out or do you think you may have lost a bit of perspective here??

  5. Anon - I think my assessment is realistic. What is this 'vocal minority' rubbish you spout - the recently published council consultation shows a large majority want what I want!! The viability of the project is not compromised by having to slightly change it - its a better development for a slight change!

    Developers may well want to give the impression that they must get all they want or they will/might pull out - this is manipulative and playing to fears and should not be given in to. If a project is valuable and they are committed to it then it will happen. Developers have said this project is a about participation and community, so lets see the community get what they want.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.