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Units plan in Walsall set for planning inspectorate

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | News | Published:

A frustrated developer who complained about the time Walsall Council took to make a decision on an application made a last-ditch bid to avoid the issue going to Government inspectors, it has emerged.

An aerial view of the former Jack Allen Holdings site in Middlemore Lane, Aldridge

The authority’s planning committee discussed the proposal to build two new commercial units at the former Jack Allen Holdings site in Middlemore Lane, Aldridge at a meeting on Thursday.

Lichfield-based real estate firm PSST LLP submitted a plan to build the units in October 2018 but lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate citing the reason that the authority has “failed to give notice of its decision within the appropriate period (usually eight weeks) on an application for permission or approval”.

But officers told committee members that they were unable to support the application due to a lack of information addressing concerns over vehicle access and the presence of a mine shaft under where one of the units would be built.

Members agreed to determine that they would have refused the application as a result of these concerns had it not gone to the planning inspectorate.

Planning officer Alison Ives said that the applicants contacted them, after the committee report was published, saying they wanted to work ‘proactively’ with the authority to progress the development.

She said: “We can’t negotiate with them. We can’t determine whether or not that access can accommodate vehicles coming in and out of the site in a safe manner.

“Without knowing the access is suitable, we can’t determine whether the scale and size of the building can be accommodated.

“The key reason for refusal is that they haven’t addressed at the moment is that there is a coal mine under unit one. Because they are asking for layout and scale, we can’t determine that because of the mine shaft.

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They have also come in this afternoon and the agent said he didn’t want to speak on the report but said ‘now consultee responses are detailed in the report, we wish to work constructively to address the identified issues so that the council’s policy objectives can be realised.

"We are hopeful that a positive solution can be agreed so that the outline application can be re-submitted and consideration can be given for withdrawing the current 90-day non-determination appeal."

She added: "Any negotiation is with the planning inspectorate now. In principle, yes, we are supportive of industrial units on the site. But we can’t support this scheme as it stands."

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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