|20 September 2021
Angela Barton in her letter in last week’s edition of the Indie asks if residents and the Council noticed whether the plans for the station goods yard involved closing the ramp which provides the only step-free access from the east side of town to the town centre and incidentally, also to the station itself.
I am writing to assure your readers that the Civic Federation certainly did, and pointed this out to the Council in our comments on the planning application in December 2017. We raised it again at the public meeting in March 2018 at which planning permission was granted, but officers assured the development management committee that they were confident that an alternative would be found. Since we have seen no sign of an alternative we have been raising the issue with the Council’s planning department at regular intervals ever since, without receiving a satisfactory response.
We understand that the provision of an office block was something required by the Council as planning authority. Given the impact of the Covid pandemic on the demand for commercial property, the continued suitability and viability of this part of the development must be open to question and there is no guarantee that the developers will ever build it. If the planning permission were to be amended to remove this part of the development from it, that would also resolve the access problem. Perhaps the Council could encourage the developers to submit a revised planning application to enable them to take the office block out.