Car dealership to be demolished for £50m flats in Eccles
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A resident objecting to plans for a £50million block of apartments in Eccles town centre has accused councillors who approved the scheme of ‘having pound signs in their eyes’.
The 25-storey block of apartments is to be built for rent on the footprint of the former Vauxhall dealership on the corner plot between Peel Street and Albert Street.
The derelict former car showroom now will be demolished to make way for the 256-home development which also includes six townhouses.
The application from Silverlane Developments (NW) Ltd was approved in the face of more than 20 objections from nearby residents. including Szuhel Lee.
IT consultant Mr Lee, 49, voiced his objections to the scheme at Salford’s planning and transportation regulatory panel on Thursday 6 October.
The scheme is the second to be approved in the heart of Eccles in the last three years. Another scheme – also valued at £50m – was approved for nearby Church Street in 2019 and work is now underway on that site.
However, Mr Lee told councillors there was ‘no green space’ in the Eccles area for local people and he said the other residents wanted the site converted to open land.
Coun Mike McCusker, who represents the Eccles ward, said: “We’ve all seen what’s happened to town centres throughout the country as a result of changing shopping habits and in the case of Eccles the impact of the Trafford Centre.
“The potential that Eccles town centre has is no secret. There stands to be an extra 500 homes, if you include the Church Street development, and that’s a game changer.”
And he hailed the town’s transport links saying: “It has access to trams, trains and it’s right next to the M602. You couldn’t find a better place.”
After the meeting, Mr Lee said that he was bitterly disappointed by the decision.
“When the developer started talking about £50m being spent on Albert Street and another £50m being spent in Chruch Street, they [the councillors] just had pound signs in their eyes,” he said.
The Albert Street site will be accessed off Peel Street and the development would provide 27 parking spaces with four disabled bays and six electric vehicle charging bays as well as three motorcycle parking spaces and internal cycle parking for 170 bikes, plus internal storage for two bikes per townhouse.
Other objectors wrote in citing the potential increase of congestion around the site during rush hour.
One said: “The development would increase the volume of traffic on the ‘triangle’ surrounding the development, leading to issues including pedestrian and road user safety and pollution levels.
“Access and exiting from the site and surrounding property are currently dangerous due to speeding and heavy vehicles, which the development worsen and so restrict quick access of emergency vehicles.”
Another said ‘the lack of car parking provided’ by the development would result in ‘overspill parking’ onto neighbouring streets, which would be compounded by existing development within the area.
They went on: “Furthermore, the development would not cater for visitors and the public transport offering within Eccles is not strong enough to compensate for the lack of parking.”
One of the objectors pointed to the ‘detrimental impact upon local services, like the NHS, utilities, education’ and fears of antisocial behaviour and another said the development would result in ‘overlooking’ and the loss of privacy of neighbouring property.
However, in a report to the panel, officers said that according to national planning policy planning decisions ‘should support the role that town centres play at the heart of local communities by taking a positive approach to their growth and management’.
It went on: “[The proposal] would provide a compliant mix of types and sizes [of homes] on the edge of the town centre.
“The proposed tenure of build-to-rent would be the subject of a Section 106 agreement to ensure the appropriate quality of provision. With this clause in place, the proposed development would be an appropriate use of this brownfield site.”