Five-year-old application to redevelop Littleborough mill site to be heard at planning meeting

Date published: 07 March 2018

A five-year-old application to build 26 dwellings on the site of Rakewood Lower Mill in Littleborough is to be heard before the Planning and Licensing Committee on Thursday (15 March).

The application, itself a resubmission, proposes 26 homes on the mill site, a high-profile Grade I locally listed building within the Rakewood Conservation Area, including the conversion of the weaving shed and boiler house whilst retaining the chimney and demolishing the brick weaving shed and brick textile mill. This includes 13 dwellings within the courtyard.

Over 40 complaints were originally submitted between August 2013, when the application was validated, and March 2017.

Local residents say they hadn’t been informed that the application is being heard next week.

In 2014, residents objected to plans to approve property development on the site of the derelict mill, a decision which was quashed.

In January 2014, the Licencing and Regulatory Committee resolved that it was minded to grant planning permission for the application subject to the application being referred to the Secretary of State and the completion of a section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to secure the completion of the repairs and conversion of the weaving shed and boiler house, linked to the timing of the phased occupation of the enabling development and a contribution to provide a passing bay along Rakewood Road.

The Secretary of State was not minded to call in the application: the S106 was completed and the decision was issued. Local residents challenged the decision on the grounds that members were incorrectly advised, including as to their duties under S66 and S72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

In addition, 'incorrect weight was afforded to enabling development’ and the officer reports 'failed to accurately convey' the advice provided by the council’s Conservation and Design team. The council conceded on the ground that the Conservation Officers report was incorrectly summarised. The decision was therefore quashed and as such, the council says it is necessary to re-take the decision.

Council officers have now recommended that the committee grants planning permission subject to referral to the Secretary of State and the completion of a similar planning obligation under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

If the Secretary of State is not minded to 'call in' the application for determination, and following the completion of an agreement between the Council and the applicant pursuant to section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act to secure the above, the release of the decision notice be deferred and delegated to the Assistant Director (Planning and Development).

Comments, including objections can still be logged via the council’s planning portal.

The Planning and Licensing Committee will take place at 6.15pm at Number One Riverside, Rochdale on Thursday 15 March.

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