Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Station Area Planning Application Decision Meeting in progress

The planning meeting for the station area redevelopment is currently at lunch. The objectors, applicants and local ward councillors (including myself) have had their say – I reiterated my objections to the scheme, raising concerns about the lack of public open space, and the traffic and parking problems that the large scale of the development would cause.

Members of the planning committee are now going through the various aspects of the plans, questioning officers on the detail of the application, and some sceptical points are being made by the planning committee.

Cllr Hipkin made his usual rant about lack of family homes planned for the development. Usually this is a valid criticism, and one I would support. However in a central business district close to the station, it is difficult to think of an application where this criticism is less appropriate.

There are concerns being raised about the transport effects, and about how sufficient the transport interchange will be. There is also a very good point that the applicants are being expected to foot the lion share of the bill for the station transport exchange, when this is a key bit of public infrastructure that arguably should have much greater contributions from the County Council, the Government, Network Rail and the bus companies. This to my mind is a very important point as commercial viability of the scheme is being used as a reason for requiring the very high density and lack of open space.

But it is still early, and the decision could go either way!

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