Yet another planning application for Unsworth Smile Clinic

Unsworth residents who live in and around Unsworth Pole may wish to be informed that the Unsworth Smile Clinic located at 57 Parr Lane have submitted yet another planning application. The last application I blogged about here in November 2016 has been withdrawn by the applicant and re-submitted under a new application number 61048.

This means if you submitted comments (either for or against) to the previous application during November and December, you will need to do so again before the 14th February.

Important changes to the design have been made to the proposed third floor extension (the materials now comprising of steel structure, with metal cladding and more glazing than in the previous application).

The new application also includes an updated Design and Access Statement which attempts to address some of the objections that have been raised on the previous THREE applications. I summarise these below:

Parking

The Design and Access Statement acknowledges the lack of parking and attempts to mitigate this major shortcoming by stating “that many of our patients are local. They don’t necessarily have cars.” and goes on to explain the dental clinic is on a bus route. The document also states that patient numbers “will not increase”.

Design/size/impact on views

With the design of the third floor being fundamentally changed compared to the previous application, it is assumed that the applicants realised the previous design was as ugly as sin. A monstrosity that no-one who lives opposite would wish to look at every day out of their front window. The new Design and Access Statement declares “The development contributes positive impacts on the character, business and views of the area.” and other lofty declarations such as “designed to have a positive effect on neighbouring properties and improve the street scene of the Parr Lane” as well as the equally arguable “this proposal does not have any adverse effects on the amenity of neighbouring properties.”

While I admit, the new design is an improvement on the previous November application, I am afraid I do not share the architects enthusiasm for a metal and glass box rising high into the Unsworth sky.

It is worth noting, however, that this time around the applicant has sought pre-application guidance from a Bury Council planning officer and the application form details the following from the planning officer “The proposed extension of light weight steel structure with metal cladding panels and aluminium windows are acceptable in principle.”

Accessibility

At present, the clinic does not have a customer lift. This was one of the driving forces for the, now abandoned, application forms to convert a house into a new, larger clinic. Once it became clear that the residential property was never likely to receive approval, the plans moved back to the existing site. Unfortunately, the new plans still do not contain any plans for a lift. Access for wheelchair users and parents with prams/buggies will be even more difficult than the applicant has already accepted (in prior applications).

In my view, if the Council’s planning panel approve this application as it stands, it is tantamount to saying that the Council is perfectly fine with non-DDA compliant businesses and health services. What kind of message is the Council sending if we do not insist upon equal and easy access for all.

I will shortly be writing to as many local residents as possible to make them aware of the new/re-submitted planning application and invite you to make your views known, either on the planning portal, on my blog comments or by email to steve@stevemiddleton.net

 

Second floor extension to form three storey building – 57 Parr Lane, Bury, BL9 8JR

Ref. No: 61048 | Received date: Mon 23 Jan 2017 | Status: Application registered | Case Type: Planning Application