The Gateacre Society's objection letter (contd)
11. While regarding the new plans as an improvement on those previously submitted, we feel that the number of new dwelling units proposed is still excessive. As pointed out in our previous submission, the City Council is currently advocating densities of between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare. (Policy Statement H7 of the 'New Housing Development' SPD, July 2005, specifies this density range for areas 'outside the City Centre and areas well served by public transport' - and Gateacre Village, which has no direct bus service to central Liverpool, is clearly not an area well served by public transport). On our calculation - based on a site area, measured from the latest submitted layout plan, of about 0.26 hectares - this density range implies a total of between 8 and 13 dwellings, rather than the 23 for which planning permission is being sought. Even if Blocks 2 and 3 were reduced to two storeys in height, and the number of apartments in the Brew House was reduced to 8 (by eliminating the tiny and dungeon-like'Apartment 02'), then the total number of dwellings on the site would still be 19 - and the proposed car parking provision would still be inadequate.
12. As mentioned in our previous submission, we see no reason why an attractive and profitable development could not be designed based on 'character' two-storey houses. This would be more in keeping with the Conservation Area and would minimise the problems of traffic, overlooking and overshadowing. Your own professional advisers will no doubt have their own views on the compatibility of the scheme with the Housing Market Renewal Initiative. While finding it difficult to judge the impact which a 'niche' development such as this will have on the inner-city housing market, we do feel that the long-term conservation of the Listed brewhouse - which provides the main justification for the scheme under the terms of the HMRI policy - is more likely if an attractive residential environment is created alongside it. We are not convinced that an apartment development of the type proposed is the answer. There would appear, at the present time, to be an over-supply of apartments in Gateacre - a high proportion of the flas in Woodholme Court (Belle Vale Road), St Stephen's Court (Halewood Road) and Woodsome Park (Halewood Road) currently being for sale - and these existing developments would appear to have a more attractive outlook than the new-build blocks proposed for the Cleggs site. A 'mews-style' development - ideally designed with elderly residents in mind - would, we feel, be more in keeping with the area, more saleable, and less likely to cause traffic and parking problems.
13. Finally, we are concerned that the piece of land on the corner of Sandfield Road and Lower Sandfield - which was shown as residents' parking space on the previous planning application - is indicated on the current drawings as a 'Future Development Site'. We cannot envisage what kind of development would be appropriate here, but feel that it is important to identify its use now rather than at a later stage. Perhaps the legal agreement which we have suggested could include the dedication of this land as a public 'passing place' to ease the movement of vehicles in Sandfield Road.
Please would you acknowledge receipt of this email, and notify me of any revised drawings which may be received in relation to this application. Please would you also notify me of the date of any Planning Committee meeting at which it is to be discussed, and of your decision in due course.
(Environment Secretary, The Gateacre Society)