WGC LibDems slam proposed increase in size of Shredded Wheat development
Local LibDem councillors are utterly appalled by the proposed increase in the number of flats to be built on the former Shredded Wheat site which will increase the height of the development from 8 to 11 or even 12 storeys.
The release of the revised plans has met universal disbelief. How on earth must the spirits of the town’s founders be looking down on their Garden City as the council’s planners destroy it in its centennial year? And the developers now say building will not be completed until 2030 – when originally we were told this could be ready by 2020!
Malcolm Cowan, our Group Leader on the council says “This cannot be thought of as what a Garden City is about – more like a ‘mini-Manhattan’. The supposed centrepiece of the development, our historic (and listed) grain silos, will be dwarfed and hidden from view. Not so much the Wheat Quarter as Hidden History!
“The massive increase in the number of homes is still not delivering enough available at a social rent, even if it nominally meets the ‘affordable homes’ criteria that our MP snuck in when he was Housing Minister. We all know how unaffordable these are to our young people who are being forced to move away. Parking provision is being cut and it is hard to know where people will get access to a GP surgery when the only one nearby is so under stress, or where children will get educated when the planned new 3-form Peartree school already has its places taken by other developments nearby.
“Additionally, we are now seeing the height being used to try to justify more tall blocks nearby such as Bridge Road East. The council must turn round and say enough is enough.”
County Councillor Nigel Quinton sees more to this than just a developer seeking to maximise profits: “It seems to me, and this is backed up by various remarks from officers at discussions of the Local Plan, that the Council may well have actively encouraged the developers to increase the number of homes they can cram onto this site and others in Peartree, so that they can get their ill-conceived Local Plan past the Government Inspector. Rather than entertaining additional homes here, they should be piling pressure on the developers to get on and build what was approved 18 months ago.”