Preston apartment block plan scrapped for former car sales site over fire safety

Revised plans for an affordable housing estate in Preston have been given the green light after proposals for an apartment block were dropped over fire safety fears.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:29 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 7:32 pm

It had been planned to build a total of 73 properties on the site of the former Perrys Motor Village on Blackpool Road in Ribbleton – 30 of which were set to be apartments within a three-storey building.

However, as the Post revealed in August, the firm behind the application made a last-minute request for Preston City Council’s planning committee to defer its decision on the development – because of the difficulty in finding a registered provider (RP) prepared to operate a property of that size.

Members heard that concerns had been raised “in the wake of the Grenfell fire” – and were told that it was likely that the top floor of the block would be removed as a result. But when a redesigned proposal was brought back before the committee this week, it emerged that the apartment element of the scheme had been scrapped altogether and replaced with maisonettes.

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The now flattened site of what was once Perrys Motor Village on Blackpool Road

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Councillors unanimously approved the smaller development, which will now deliver 55 dwellings on land which has lain derelict since the car sales business relocated in 2016.

Committee member Jennifer Mein said that it was “fantastic that something is actually going to be built there after all these years”.

“It’s not a pretty entrance to Preston and it is a very busy road, so it will be good to see houses for families there,” she added.

The triangular-shaped plot will eventually be occupied by 24 two-bedroom houses, 15 three-bedroom properties and 16 one-bedroom maisonettes.

While all of the homes will fall into the affordable category, the tenure split between those available for sale and for those up for rent will not be known until an RP has been appointed – but at least 12 of them will be for affordable rent in order to accord with a Central Lancashire-wide policy requirement.

Planning case officer Robert Major said it was a “big positive” that pedestrian-only access from the estate to Emerson Road had been secured. However, the meeting heard that attempts to incorporate a patch of land on that road within the proposed development had been unsuccessful.

Committee chair Peter Moss praised the overall plan – by MCI Developments Limited SDG (Preston) Limited – for being on a “brownfield site, [in] a sustainable location and 100 percent affordable”.

“It’s easy to [develop] a green field, but these are the sites that are far more difficult to bring forward,” he said.

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