Proposals to build 362 apartments as part of Warrington’s Northern Quarter are due to be discussed next week following deferral at last month’s planning committee, after the scheme’s developer argued it would unviable to provide affordable homes on the site.
The plans by developer Palmus are for 263 one-bedroom apartments, 98 two-beds, eight two-bed duplexes and three four-bed duplexes on a site bordered by Winwick Street and John Street. All the homes in the eight storey building will be available for private rent.
It also includes 6,300 sq ft of retail and leisure space, as well as a nine-storey car park of nearly 800 spaces. The land for the development is partly owned by Warrington Council.
Designed by Triangle Architects with Lichfields as planner, the proposals were first due to be approved by Warrington’s development management committee on 26 April, but a decision was deferred to allow the developer to provide further viability information to the council.
To be compliant with Warrington’s planning policy, the scheme would need to class 20% of its homes as affordable, and the developer would have to provide a £279,000 contribution towards healthcare as well as more than £230,000 towards sport facilities.
However, following an independently-reviewed viability assessment, the developer has argued the scheme would not be viable with this level of contribution and has instead offered to pay £75,000 towards a travel plan for the site.
Following the viability assessment, the scheme has again been recommended for approval by council planners, who said it would “deliver a key aspect” of the town’s Northern Quarter, which forms part of a wider regeneration of the town.
“The applicant’s statement that the provision of policy compliant contributions would make the scheme unviable has been tested independently and is considered acceptable,” said the planners’ report.
“This is because it is a brownfield and vacant site and bringing it back into use and introducing a significant number of residential units into the town centre is part of the authority’s wider growth and regeneration aspirations”.
The plans have been recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement, and are due to be discussed by Warrington’s development management committee on 16 May.