In early February, local residents received letters from the City Council inviting their comments on a revised planning application - ref.06F/0294 - for the former Gateacre Brewery/Cleggs Felt Factory site at the bottom of Gateacre Brow. (The Council's website indicates that these 'neighbour notification' letters were also sent to the bronze bust of Queen Victoria and to the Wilson Memorial Fountain, but we doubt whether either of them will have responded!).

The previous application - withdrawn last June - was for 21 new-build apartments and 2 new town-houses, in addition to 9 apartments created within the Grade II Listed brewery building. In our objection to that proposal, we suggested that the number of units should be greatly reduced, because of the difficulty of accessing the development, the shortage of on-site parking space, and the excessive height and bulk of the proposed new buildings. We also objected to the materials proposed for the apartment blocks, which included 'stacked slate' walls and steel-mesh screens.

The current application is for 13 new-build and 9 converted apartments. Having carefully considered these revised plans at our February Committee meeting, we have once again objected to the scale of the development - which exceeds the Council's density guidelines, and which we feel will harm the setting of the Listed Building - and to the inadequate parking provision (still only 22 spaces for the 22 proposed flats). While welcoming the use of sandstone panels and oak window frames in the new three-storey blocks, we have criticised the choice of copper and zinc for the roofs and 'Cor-ten' (i.e. rust-coloured steel slabs) for some of the walls. We have also, once again, drawn the Planners' attention to the traffic problems of Sandfield Road. This narrow road will be the sole exit from the site, though the new plans do show cars entering direct from Gateacre Brow.

We cannot understand why an all-apartment development is being proposed, when there are so many vacant flats in the Gateacre area at the present time. A 'mews-style' development of two-storey houses would, we feel, be much more in keeping with the Conservation Area.

We know that a large number of local residents have also sent in letters of objection - and we await the Council's decision with interest.

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