Steelworks housing development knocked-back by Corby Council

A second bid to develop the former Gate One at Tata Steel in Corby has been turned down by the town’s planning committee.

Friday, 6th September 2019, 6:00 am
The Corby Council development contol committee meeting at the council chamber NNL-190509-143026005

Councillors met on Tuesday to discuss a revised bid by local developer MPB to build homes at the vacant brownfield site in the shadow of the steelworks in Weldon Road.

A previous application was turned down at the end of last year - a decision against which MPB have appealed - before this second blueprint was called in by planners to be considered earlier this week.

But again, Corby Council decided that the 90-home scheme was inappropriate for the site which is close to the sewage works and sandwiched between the busy Weldon Road and a number of 24-hour industries.

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Edward Oteng, Corby Council head of planning NNL-190509-142913005

Councillors were told by their planning officers that they had worries over the location of the scheme and a planned youth football pitch next to the road.

They said that it was an isolated plot with no residential neighbours and did not have good waking links to the town centre or other facilities.

They were also concerned that there was not enough car parking or amenity space for residents.

Planners also told the meeting that they did not believe that there was an issue with their five-year land housing supply, as reported by the recent Gladman Homes planning appeal inspector, and that the use of the site for housing meant that it would never again be able to be used for employment.

Deer Park CGI

Dozens of comments in support of the application had been received by the council in advance of the meeting including from East Lloyds T&R Association. Objections had been received from Tata and BOC who were worried that the nature of their business would be affected by having a housing estate next door.

Addressing the meeting, Simon Machen, Director of Planning at MPB said: “We are committed to creating a sustainable scheme that will benefit this town.

“It will provide much-needed new homes for the people on your council house waiting list and in temporary accommodation.

“This has been a vacant site for 20 years.

“Your own employment review in 2018 made it clear this site is not needed.

“This will help to safeguard your villages.

“You don’t have a five year land supply and for your officers to suggest that is ludicrous.”

Mr Machen said that a precedent had been set for housing on the site because the two existing office blocks were already being converted for apartments.

Questioning this, Councillor Anthony Dady asked planning officers why permission had been given for the tower blocks to become flats. Government rules currently allow office accomodation to be used for residential schemes without planing permission.

Head of Planning Edward Oteng said: “There’s no such thing as precedent in planning.

“The prior approval that they have got is somewhat erroneous.

“I don’t want to rehearse the arguments about why the applicant got this by default in public.”

Cllr Kevin Watt said: “I think it’s quite clear this is an industrial site, not a residential site.

“It’s in the smelly zone and it’s in the noisy zone.”

Cllr Bob Eyles said that he had concerns over access through the scheme to the Tata site for emergecny vehicles and for the safety of people walking down busy Weldon Road from the site to town.

Members voted against the scheme and it was tiurned town.

The applicant has already launched an appeal against the council’s decision to reject their first application last year.