A derelict former industrial site is set to be given a new lease of life as a housing development using Government funds to bring forward stalled schemes.
Up to 151 new homes are earmarked for the former Co-op Bakery site at Newport Lane, Middleport, with a mix of one, two, three and four bedroom properties and houses and flats proposed.
Residents will have access to ultra fast broadband with a minimum speed of one gigabyte per second, as well as electric vehicle charging facilities.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s planning committee was told that many of the previous buildings on the land have been demolished, leaving debris and rubble. The site is in a ‘fairly grim state at the moment”.
The local authority has been awarded just over £9.5 million from the Government’s Marginal Viability Fund to help progress stalled housing schemes in Burslem that would be unable to take place without financial support.
There is a time limit on when this money can be spent, meaning it was important the decision on the Newport Lane site was considered as soon as possible. The deadline for securing planning permission is June 21 and the Government can recover unspent money if housing schemes are not delivered within agreed dates.
Concerns have been raised about a lack of affordable housing or developer contributions to mitigate the impact of the extra homes on local infrastructure, such as health services and education.
But a committee report said: “Despite the conflict with development plan and national policy, the application is recommended for approval subject to conditions. It forms part of a series of major housing applications within Burslem connected with the grant awarded to the city council under the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
“Since the outline planning approval for residential development on this site was granted in 2011, a decade has passed and residential development has not come forward as it is not financially viable. It seems clear that the HIF grant is the best prospect of this site being developed, and without this there is a very real risk that the site will sit derelict as an eyesore in Middleport for potentially many more years.”
Committee members voted unanimously in favour of granting planning permission to Eden Valley Properties Ltd.
Councillor Janine Bridges, who moved the application for approval, said: “It is an intelligent and thoughtful application and it brings a difficult site into good and productive use. The developer has made every effort to future-proof the site.
“It is going to be a really good development in the city.”
Councillor Candi Chetwynd, who seconded the motion, said: “I’m very grateful the company has come to the city to do this for our residents. This is exactly the kind of regeneration we need, especially with the broadband for working from home.
“Also, they are going to make the housing with the right space so people won’t be living in cramped conditions. That’s the number one priority in planning, that people live in adequate accommodation.”