Still no agreement with last remaining house owner in terrace earmarked for demolition
The developer behind a scheme to demolish twelve terraced houses on Gloucester Road in order to provide more car storage space for the nearby Drive Vauxhall garage has asked South Gloucestershire Council for more time to complete a legal agreement required by a condition attached to planning permission granted in July.
Developer RPF Limited says it is unable to complete the S106 agreement requiring it to contribute £20,000 to road improvements because it doesn’t yet have ownership of the complete site.
The situation has arisen because the firm has still not managed to acquire one of the houses – the mid-terraced property at no. 34 Gloucester Road, which fronts onto the slip road that leads from the A38 southbound to the Gypsy Patch Lane junction underneath the Royal Mail flyover.
The Evening Post reported in November 2011 that the owner (and resident) of the property had, over the years, rejected a number of offers from RPF but the paper said he was “close to agreeing a deal”.
The developer’s agent has recently told the Council that progress is being made on the acquisition of no. 34, emphasising that the applicants “have been very careful to not place any undue pressure” on the property owner.
With the S106 agreement remaining unsigned, the applicant has now asked for an extension until 30th April 2012 and Council officers say they are minded to allow this, “given that this would allow the removal of these now vandalised dilapidated dwellings”. However, the matter would have to be debated by a planning committee should any Council member decide to “call in” the officer decision by this Thursday (12th January).
The current planning application for the site is the third within the space of three years (see our Planning Applications of Note page for details).
The first application, in 2008, was for the demolition of nine of the twelve houses in the two terraces on the site. This would have seen the “troublesome” no. 34 left standing, flanked by one other house on either side and surrounded by the new car storage area. This application was refused by the Council in July 2008.
A second application, in 2009, sought permission to demolish six of the houses – those in the terrace furthest away from Drive Vauxhall. This was refused by the Council in October 2009 and a subsequent appeal by the applicant was rejected by a planning inspector in September 2010.
Evidence submitted with the current application states that Drive Vauxhall needs to expand its site due to the loss of its previous storage compound (required by Rolls Royce for its new entrance) and the loss of a further off-site compound near Emersons Green.
The dealership also says that the future of its one remaining compound is uncertain as it is used on a short-term rolling lease.
The closure of regional depots by Vauxhall Motors means that more new cars now need to be stored at dealerships and this has placed intense pressure on the existing parking to the point where gangway parking is the norm and cars have to be stored as far away as Weston-super-Mare, it is claimed.
Patchway Town Council objected to the current application during the initial consultation phase in April 2012, saying:
“With the forthcoming housing development in Charlton Hayes on the opposite side of the A38 as well as other houses north of the site in Gloucester Road, this area should not be considered as an industrial area as is suggested in the application and that change of use is not appropriate.”
“The Council considers that this site is a gateway to Patchway and that the housing should be refurbished and occupied.”
It is not clear whether the owner of no. 34 is still living at the property. The three windows that face the A38 are screened by shabby-looking venetian blinds although the front garden looks as though it has been recently tended.