Cowdray Catch Up

And so after the Tollgate troubles of two weeks ago, it’s back to basics for the CBC Planning Committee when it next meets at the Town Hall on 3 March.


It’s all about houses, houses, houses around here now.

Which is why the esteemed members of the apolitical Planning Committee will be considering the future development of the Cowdray Centre, and the construction of a proposed 154 new properties.

But first, here’s the back story:

The site was originally a printing factory dating back to 1938. This was later divided into individual business units.

A fire in 2006 led to the majority of the buildings being demolished. It has remained dormant pretty much since.

Some local businesses do still trade on the site, however. They are currently operating on short term leases.

The outline planning application makes it clear that these local traders would be moved aside, should full planning permission for the 154 new businesses be granted in the future.

And this is the slightly technical detail for this particular application: Planning on 3 March will only being considering access to the site. This is not a full on planning application to put up the houses.

But if permission is given to access the site ahead of construction, it would seem pretty pointless to then turn down a future ‘friendly’ application for the accommodation.

Planning is all about a game of second guessing. We found that out last Thursday with the Tollgate decision…

The apolitical Officer recommendation concludes:

“The planning merits of the case are assessed leading to the conclusion that the proposal is acceptable and that a conditional approval is recommended, subject to the completion of a S106 agreement.”

Which means the borough gets in principle some much needed housing, whilst CBC benefits with a perfectly legal and above board payment as part of the process.

A few dissenting voices appear from locals in the report, plus some mild concern about the existing ecology of the area.

Oh – and don’t forget those that have gone before. It seems that the CBC Archeological Officer [WHAT A JOB!] has hinted that layers of Sunny Colch history could be uncovered once the digging starts.

We’re talking ancient burial grounds here, something that you are unlikely to read about when the developer gets round to marketing the new dwellings.

Safe as houses, etc.