Controversial plans for the former shop have been given the go-ahead
A former Co-op building in Shavington will be turned into supported living accommodation after the controversial plans were given the go-ahead. The vacant store on the corner of Rope Lane and Main Road will be reconfigured to provide seven residential units to house adults with either learning disabilities or mental health disabilities.
The building has been vacant since the Co-op moved out of the site around three years ago. The grocery store chain took over a larger building just down the road on Rope Lane.
A statement by Signature Housing Group, which submitted the planning application, reads: “The proposals involve the conversion of an existing redundant building to provide supported living for vulnerable adults. The scheme provides 7 x 1 bed (single occupancy) units along with office, therapy room and communal space, parking, cycle parking and pedestrian access.”
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“The site is in a sustainable location and comprises brownfield land. It provides for the needs of a particularly vulnerable group within the community.
“The provision of the facility meets a number of the policies and objectives set out in the Local Plan and in National Planning Policy including achieving sustainable development, boosting the supply of homes, utilising brownfield land, providing mixed developments, providing for the needs of vulnerable members of the community, social inclusion and other policy objectives.”
The plans have been in the pipeline for around two years and have caused outrage in the area. The initial plan was to demolish the building and create another structure with 10 supported living units but this was refused by Cheshire East Council after locals argued that the Edwardian building was ‘part of the fabric’ of the community.
The new proposal, which was approved by the authority earlier this month, has also received a strong backlash from neighbouring residents. Many questioned whether the building would be suitable for the new residents as well as the impact on parking and on traffic at the busy junction.
One resident said: “My main concern is the dramatic affect parking from visitors and staff will have on the neighbourhood. The car park is totally inadequate for the numbers of residents.
“There is no outdoor space for the residents to socialise and apart from the leisure centre on Rope Lane there are no facilities within the village for the proposed age group.
“By allowing this application you are going against the Neighbourhood Plan which stated the need for accommodation for elderly people. I am concerned regarding the renovating of the property, as my house which was built in 1893 shakes when heavy lorries pass along Main Road.
“The double yellow lines and single yellow lines surrounding 1 Rope Lane are very faint, and due to a pole knocked down by a Co-op lorry years ago next to the car park the single yellow line outside 117 Main Road cannot be enforced. To help the elderly residents across the road in Barons Road, I think double yellow lines should be placed there or residents-only parking.”
The planning officer’s report stated that the proposal is ‘considered to be neutral’ in terms of its impact on ecology, design, heritage, amenity and flood risk.
The report added: “The proposal would result in lower end of less than significant harm to the existing non designated heritage asset however this minor harm is considered to be outweighed by the public benefits by providing specialist accommodation and by allowing the retention of the existing building and for it to be retained in a viable optimum use.
“The proposal would provide positive benefits such as the economic sustainability roles by providing employment in the locality during conversion works, employment from the use and social role by providing specialist accommodation in a sustainable location.
“The dis-benefit would be the loss of the existing shop, however as noted above in the report, the shop has been market with no interest other than residential suggesting it is not viable for its initial use. There is also no loss of a community facility in any case given that the shop has relocated elsewhere in the village.
“The proposal would provide an area of private amenity space measuring just 30sqm. Whilst this is a relatively small space it would at least provide an area for outdoor seating and clothes drying. There is also a shared communal area inside the building, private living/dining room for each unit and some access to the open countryside locally.
“There is also a slight shortfall of parking spaces by two, however given the use it is not anticipated that all residents would drive and condition limiting the use would further limit potential parking overspill, there are also parking restrictions on street and the proposed use would be less intensive than the existing use in so far as parking demand is considered.
“Therefore on balance the benefits of the scheme are considered to outweigh the dis-benefits and therefore the proposal would constitute sustainable development and there are no material considerations which indicate otherwise.”