St Helens Eyesore Plans Shelved

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 6:38pm

By Kenny Lomas - Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to flatten an eyesore located on one of the main gateways into St Helens to make way for 150 affordable homes have been withdrawn.

In January, housing association Torus submitted a planning application to redevelop the site, which is off Laffak Road at Carr Mill, near to the East Lancs.

The brownfield site includes the former Carr Mill Cafe, which has stood empty for decades, and the vacant former United Footwear and petrol station.

The re-development scheme proposed 150 homes, including 57 houses, 92 apartments – in two, three and four storey blocks – and one bungalow.

Fifty of the apartments would have been designed for over 55s.

The development bid also said there remains ambitions for the proposed Carr Mill railway station, which has never got off ground despite being discussed at various times over the past two decades.

However, Torus has now withdrawn the plans, saying it intends to submit a fresh planning application for the site in the New Year.

A spokesman for Torus said: “Following discussions with the planning department we have withdrawn our original proposals.

“We are now working on revised options for consultation with planning officers with a view to submitting a planning application in the New Year.”

Plans to redevelop the site, which has long been a source of frustration for residents, were initially welcomed by the public.

However, a significant number of objections were received from residents during the planning process.

Such was their concerns, a meeting was held between residents, councillors and the Labour MP for St Helens North at the time, Conor McGinn.

Issues raised included the density of the flats, proximity to the East Lancs, potential noise generated and traffic concerns.

The council has continued to receive objections up until last week.

One resident claimed the traffic on Carr Mill road as a result of the “ugly” development would be “horrendous”.

Torus previously said the plans had been developed in response “extensive planning brief” for the site issued by St Helens Council.

Previous attempts had been drawn up by KFC to draw up a planning application for the site were blocked because of the council’s policy of not allowing takeaways near to schools.

Ward councillors have welcomed the interest in the site but said previously they wanted to make sure this was the “right development for the area”.

Labour’s Paul Lynch said told the Local Democracy Reporting Service he believed the plans were “substandard quality” and claimed the plans did not adhere to local planning policy.

The Moss Bank councillor also accused Torus of poorly engaging with residents, who received letters from the housing association informing them of the plans.

Cllr Lynch said: “It is disappointing that Torus didn’t take this project seriously enough to engage with the public or bother drafting it in line with council policy.

“In the last year they have had to redo their homework many times and have now just given up.

“The local community is clear – they’re not against development of this site, but they want development that works with the local community to make a better area for all.”

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