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Homes plan for former Cannock social club rejected again

By Kerry Ashdown | Cannock | News | Published:

Plans to turn the site of a former Cannock social club into a house of multiple occupancy have been rejected by councillors a second time.

The former Royal British Legion club. Photo: Google

Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee reached an impasse when it considered the latest proposals for the former Royal British Legion Club, in Stafford Road, last month.

But on Wednesdaycouncillors refused permission for an 18-bedroom house of multiple occupancy (HMO) to be built on the site.

Plans for a three-storey 24-bedroom HMO were rejected by Cannock Chase Council in December 2018 because of concerns about lack of parking and the size and size of the redevelopment being out of keeping with other buildings in the area.

An appeal was lodged against the decision and dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate for design reasons.

A fresh application was put forward for a two-storey building, with the number of bedrooms reduced by six and additional kitchen facilities.

But concerns remained about the lack of parking, over development of the site and antisocial behaviour.

Resident Bob Borg, who spoke against the application at Wednesday’s virtual meeting, said: “This site would be totally overdeveloped. This building is going to attract the wrong kind of people – we have got to live with this. We have enough problems at the moment in the area.

“One councillor said we need affordable housing. We do – but not this kind.”

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Julian Raxter, who spoke in support of the application at the previous meeting, said that residents would be living close to public transport links including the town’s bus station and there had been no objections from the county’s highways authority.

Divide

“This is an opportunity to redevelop a derelict town centre site that would support the council’s own town centre regeneration scheme,” he added.

The plans continued to divide opinion among committee members, with Councillor Paul Woodhead calling for the application to be approved.

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“I see no planning reason to decline this”, he said. “If we did decline it, it would likely be overturned on appeal.”

Councillor Alan Pearson said: “We can’t be seen to leave buildings derelict in the town centre. Something has to be done with them or it leaves them open to anti-social behaviour”.

But a proposal to approve the application was defeated by six votes to four. A second proposal put forward to refuse permission won by seven votes to three.

Councillor Paul Fisher said: “I think it’s overdeveloped by putting 18 bedrooms in the building. The size of some of the rooms barely meets the requirements of a HMO based on single occupancy.”

“Parking in the street isn’t going to go down well with residents and we have a duty to the residents that are going to be there to give something that fits in with their lifestyle.”

Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald added: “I am quite concerned about the fact there is no parking there. I think that is a real problem.”

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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