Plans to replace a long-vacant pub with a new five-storey apartment block have been backed – despite concerns tenants will not have enough parking spaces.
The Woodman Inn, in Hazel Grove, looks set to be knocked down after local councillors recommended the scheme for approval.
The former London Road hostelry has fallen into dilapidation, having stood empty for nearly 10 years, becoming something of an eyesore.
In its place would be 32 ‘high-quality’ one and two-bedroom apartments.
The ‘affordable’ flats would be available for social rent through Stockport Homes.
Proposals include 12 parking spaces for tenants – which meets the council’s ‘maximum standards’ – and a further 40 bike stands.
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A travel plan submitted with the application also sets out plans to provide residents with free membership to a car club for 12 months.
Elliott Bullock told a Stepping Hill area committee meeting the scheme represented an ‘opportunity for regeneration.’
Speaking on behalf of applicant Kirkland Developments, he added that it would increase housing choice in an area of identified need, while boosting the ‘vitality and connectivity’ of the district centre.
The scheme was broadly welcomed by councillors, despite some concerns over tenants’ parking, traffic and the height of the apartment block.
Coun Wendy Meikle said: “This building has been empty for quite a long time. It’s been mentioned 10 years but it seems a lot longer.
“It’s been used as a billboard, a free billboard, advertising the concerts that used to be on before lockdown.”
Unlike some of her colleagues she did not have concerns over parking – noting that earlier in the meeting councillors had complained about traffic on the A6.
“It’s on a bus network, there’s a train station nearby, so I won’t go with that one,” she said.
Despite having concerns over a ‘lack of amenity space’ she added: “I’m pleased to see the social housing – 32 affordable units and it’s about time something was done with that building.”
Coun John Wright also welcomed the proposals, but was not as sanguine as Coun Meikle over the parking issue.
He said: “I agree it does need something doing with it – it’s a bit of a scruffy mess at the moment.
“I’m sure this development will be an addition to the area – as we all know we have a housing under-supply at the moment.”
However, Coun Wright said that, with a ‘potential mismatch of 30-odd cars’ he was unable to convince himself the spaces provided would be adequate.
“It just seems that we are granting all these planning permissions when we know there isn’t enough parking,” he added.
Committee chair Coun Paul Ankers shared his ‘serious reservations’ over parking provision.
“Coun Wright is bang-on about parking. It feels like cloud-cuckoo land to say there’s going to be such a lack of need for cars in this facility,” he said.
“Cars have taken over, to say people are going to be using bikes predominantly is not true.
“The argument there is for a local development framework and setting a local plan. That’s where we will fix this, rather than, unfortunately us being kicked in the teeth on planning applications like this.”
He also voiced concerns over the height of the proposed block, adding: “I’m glad of the site being in use, but there are plenty of misgivings about the application.”
A slightly larger version of the scheme – featuring 34 homes – was withdrawn last year.
Stockport council’s planning and highways committee next meets on March 25.