Decision due on controversial over-55s apartments for former restaurant site

Planners are expected to give the green light tomorrow to a controversial flats development on the site of a former Indian restaurant, despite a barrage of objections from locals.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 10:09 am

Preston's biggest social housing landlord wants to build two blocks containing 52 affordable apartments for people aged over 55 on land where A Touch of Spice - once the Golden Ball pub - stood in the centre of Broughton village.

The Community Gateway Association scheme has been opposed by the parish council and also local city councillor Ron Woollam, as well as attracting 67 objections from villagers.

But a slightly modified planning application is still likely to be approved when it goes before Preston's planning committee.

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The former Touch of Spice at Broughton traffic lights.

The project includes two three-storey blocks - one of 17 apartments and the other comprising 35 - on the now vacant site adjacent to Broughton's main crossroads.

The restaurant, which previously housed the Gate of Bengal and Bay Tree restaurants, was controversially demolished almost two years ago after the owners of A Touch of Spice closed their restaurant after 12 years.

Villagers wanted the historic building - there was a Golden Ball pub there as long ago as 1787 - to be preserved, but were unable to prevent it being pulled down.

Two apartment blocks on the site were given approval in June 2020 after the developers re-submitted an application which had previously been turned down in January 2019.

The former Golden Ball pub was demolished almost two years ago.

But now CGA and builders Aurum Homes Ltd have made another amended application to alter the classification of the premises from a residential care facility to sheltered accommodation offering retirement living.

A planning report to be submitted to the committee on Thursday will say: "The applicant points out they are not a care provider and do not intend to utilise the facility as a residential car facility.

"Rather they wish to provide residential accommodation which may include shared facilities, but not necessarily support or care facilities."

The apartments are aimed at enabling residents to live independently and "could use 24-hour alarm assistance." The flats will be restricted to the over-55s and all 52 properties will be affordable housing.

Objections from locals include claims that the buildings will have an "overbearing" impact on neighbouring properties and will result in a loss of privacy. Some said the flats were "inappropriate" for the village due to size, scale and massing.

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