Express & Star

Apartment plans passed for Cannock social club car park

Fresh plans have been approved to build flats on a Cannock social club’s former car park – and the developer will not have to pay towards providing affordable homes elsewhere in the district.

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Cannock Ex-Servicemen’s Club. Photo: Google

Cannock Chase Council’s planning committee first gave the green light for 12 apartments on land at Cannock Ex-Servicemen’s Club in 2020, subject to conditions including a financial contribution towards affordable housing provision.

The application returned to the committee in early 2021 after the applicant said the development would not be viable with the affordable housing requirement. The plans were again approved, but this time without the financial contribution being needed.

On Wednesday, a new application for the site was presented to the committee.

A report said: “For clarity, the previous application was submitted in outline with layout and access only.

“Since this permission was granted, the applicant has reconsidered the layout of the site. For ease, the applicant has submitted a new full application instead of seeking to amend the extant outline permission and then submit a subsequent Reserved Matters (application).”

Committee members heard that housing developments of 10 to 14 properties would normally mean a financial contribution being paid towards providing affordable homes in the district. But the plans for the Walsall Road site continued to be deemed “unviable” if this Section 106 requirement was imposed.

Instead a condition was proposed that the council could review the viability assessment if the development had not taken place and there was a change in market conditions. Committee members agreed to approve the application.

Two three-storey blocks, each containing six two-bedroom apartments are proposed as well as 18 parking spaces. The land is no longer needed by the club but a parking area for members and visitors will be retained.

Committee member Councillor Alan Pearson said: “I’m a member of the club and most of the car park is never used. This is a piece of land doing nothing at all.

“I have no problem with this development. It’s wasted land.”

But Councillor Paul Fisher said: “What concerns me is we had a massive debate on Section 106 contributions and a plethora of applicants saying they couldn’t afford it. I hope this doesn’t happen again and encourage more builders to go down that avenue.”