A planning application (ref. 02F/2634) has been submitted to build a three-storey block of private flats on the site of the petrol station and adjoining EHW contractors' depot in Belle Vale Road. This proposal has aroused a great deal of controversy in the village and has, we understand, resulted in a large number of objections from local residents concerned about the visual and traffic impact. The Society's Committee has studied the plans and discussed them at some length. These are our views, as submitted to the Council's Planning Department:

  • We feel that residential redevelopment of this site is appropriate. The present buildings on the site are unattractive, and the existing land uses potentially attract heavy vehicles which would not otherwise be permitted to use Belle Vale Road owing to the 'access only' weight restriction.

  • We are impressed with the application drawings and with the care which has obviously been taken in the preparation of the scheme. We welcome the choice of materials and the multi-gabled design, which is very much in the 'Gateacre tradition'. While we would have preferred a two-storey building, we feel that the use of dormer windows as proposed will greatly reduce the adverse impact which the development might otherwise have had.

  • There will be a relatively short distance between the back-of-pavement line and the front wall of the flats. We feel that the building may appear over-dominant as a result, and would suggest that it be moved back say another 2 to 3 metres from the Belle Vale Road boundary.

  • We regret the loss of a highway tree to make way for the vehicular access. We feel that setting the building further back would mitigate this loss by allowing more planting of trees and shrubs in the front garden area of the flats. We also hope that a replacement highway tree will be provided between the vehicular access and the former railway bridge.

  • While the flats at the front of the building will have a pleasant view across public open space, those at the rear will, it seems, look out on a large and fairly bleak car park. We understand that the Council requires 1.5 parking spaces to be provided per flat. If this is unavoidable, then we would suggest that the number of flats be reduced so as to permit the provision of more amenity space and less tarmac around the building.

Although the official deadline for objections was 14th October, it is unlikely that a decision on the application will be made before mid-November. So if you wish to submit your own comments, please write as soon as possible to Ms C. Bates, Development Control Division, Millennium House, 60 Victoria Street, Liverpool L1 6JF. (To inspect the plans at Millennium House, phone Ms Bates beforehand on 0151-233 5647 to check that they are still available).

The future of Belle Vale Road? Main elevation of the proposed flats.
Image kindly supplied by the architects: The Ratcliff Partnership, Manchester,
on behalf of the applicant Mr Alan Roberts (Gateacre Village Developments Ltd).

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