Another office to become housing - without planning consent

54 flats are to be created from an office building in the middle of the Peartree industrial area under the government's controversial policy of allowing conversion of offices without consent. Meanwhile the council does nothing to stop it.

LibDem councillor Rachel Basch, who sits on the council's Development Management committee objects.

"WGC of all places is supposed to be planned, with different zones for housing, offices, industrial etc. This flies in the face of that. I am not able to see the detail such as what it will look like, because it is thought to have deemed consent to convert. Nor am I or any other councillor allowed to comment, such as only planning 21 parking spaces for 54 flats. It is a totally unsuitable place for families, next to a warehouse and a plant hire company, for example, with no play or amenity space.

"And there will be no money towards education, traffic infrastructure, leisure or anything else. A licence to print money. And if it keeps going on, the council will have to create new employment areas in the Green Belt to make up for those lost in the town - what a nonsense" she says.

Yet the council could pass what is called an "Article 4" direction so that in future, consent would be needed from the council. "Yet again, they talk but don't act. The idea has been kicking around for several years - what we need is action now" says Rachel.

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