Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Last night's Planning & Environment Committee

Last night's meeting of the Planning & Environment committee was fraught with a controversial application for a hand car wash at the Rose & Crown pub in Stirchley to be considered.

The application had been before the parish council before and was rejected because of concerns about noise and pollution from the waste water entering the lake adjacent to the site.  Telford & Wrekin plans board approved the application (as they do) with conditions stating that drainage works had to be carried out to prevent pollution of the lake and restrictions on the number of cars and operating hours.  The previous applicant failed to complete the planning process for personal reasons and the consent was withdrawn but the owner of the pub had the drainage work completed anyway and has now applied for the permission himself.

Because Telford & Wrekin plans board routinely ignore parish councils on planning matter, believing that they know best on all occasions the parish council's planning committee is more of a damage limitation exercise than a safety valve.  With that in mind I questioned the landlord of the pub extensively after listening to the objections and proposed agreeing to the application with two conditions: that Telford & Wrekin Council inspect the drainage works carried out to ensure that they are adequate and that Telford & Wrekin Council undertake to address the parking problems on Northwood Terrace.  This motion was agreed by the committee.

The objections, in a nutshell, were that there was a danger of waste water leaking into the lake and polluting the water, the noise nuisance and the pre-existing parking problems in Northwood Terrace.  The applicant said that drainage works had been carried out by professionals and on their advice a sediment trap had been fitted and the drains connected to a foul sewer.  I was personally satisfied that the hours of operation (9-6 Mon-Sat and 10-4 Sun & bank holidays) were reasonable for a moderately noisy operation and that the amount of noise created by 15 cars on a weekday and 25 cars on a weekend was unlikely to create much in the way of a nuisance - there is an alleyway running down the side of my house used all hours of the day, you quickly become used to any noise!

I did observe inappropriate parking on Northwood Terrace myself on Sunday but the car park was closed for a bonfire and fireworks so it wasn't a normal day.  The landlord of the pub told us that the pub car park would lose 6 spaces for the hand car wash and that the car park comes within 6 spaces of being full maybe once a month so there is theoretically no reason why cars should be parking on Northwood Terrace.  He also said that he regularly confronts patrons parking on Northwood Terrace.  The official status of Northwood Terrace is an adopted, unmade bridleway with vehicle access for residents so it is Telford & Wrekin Council's responsibility to deal with parking and access problems.