A controversial planning application to build a four-storey student accommodation block on a derelict site in Derby has been rejected by city councillors, despite being recommended for approval by officers.
The 59-room scheme fronting on Uttoxeter Old Road and the corners of Slack Lane and Etwall Street came under fire from some of the councillors on the planning control committee earlier tonight.
They met virtually and, in particular, criticised a lack of parking in the area and the height and scale of the proposed building.
Councillor Adrian Pegg had brought the application to the committee and had three minutes to explain why he was supporting local residents, who were also critical of the proposed scheme.
He said: “The site could be contaminated and it has been suggested that building this block would free up local terraced houses for families to move in, when there is no evidence for this.
“It states in the application that it may not be financially viable so what will the developers do then to make it work?
“It is time residents’ concerns were listened to.”
Committee member Councillor Paul Pegg said the development was “unacceptable”.
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He added: “This is major junction with a lot of traffic. Etwall Street is already congested with consultation on the issue of parking permits.
“It is too high, too big and totally out of character with the area. I am also concerned that if the project was started, that it would ever be completed.”
But Councillor Mike Carr said he disagreed and thought it was a “really nice looking building” and Councillor Lucy Care added: “I think it will be an asset to the area and would tidy up a scruffy and uninspiring site which currently as advertising hoardings on it.”
A vote left the situation deadlocked with four votes in favour of the development, four against and one abstention.
Chairman Shiraz Khan, who said the application could have been two-storeys with parking underneath but, as it was, would severely impact the lives of people already living in the area, used his casting vote to reject the application.
The design statement said that the accommodation would be in 12 apartments, with five parking bays and a disabled space. It also included a 12-space cycle store.
Residents’ objections included concerns over a lack of publicity for the local area and an opportunity for people to meet because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A history of the site provided by the developers indicated that buildings did not appear on it until around 1948 and they remained there until about 1992.
During much of that time it was run and operated by Mackworth Dairy but has been derelict since that time.