Councillors approve homes for Underwood Square in Leigh despite fears about overcrowding

After four previous planning applications were thrown out by the council, a developer has finally been granted planning permission to build on Underwood Square in Leigh.

Councillors met on Wednesday afternoon to discuss granting planning permission for the detached properties in Leigh and voted in favour, explaining the developer had addressed all the problems previously raised with other applications.

It came after one resident warned the committee that the homes would result in overdevelopment of the area.

“The original 2017 scheme for four detached homes was refused because it represented a cramped form of development and over-development of the land,” he said.

“The increased scale of this development is directly in conflict with the rationale for the previous reject. The rationale for the first refusal was the layout and design of parking areas would cause material harm to the unique and distinctive character of the area and was a symptom of the proposed over-development of the site.

“This amended proposal does nothing to address the over-development.”

The land takes up the majority of the west side of Underwood Square and was occupied by a single house until it was demolished in 2017.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, the council received 23 letters of objection from residents and a petition signed by 60 residents.

At the last development committee councillors threw out a separate plan from the same developer to build a single house close to the proposed four homes because councillors believed it would be “materially harmful” to the wider surroundings.

Councillor Carole Mulroney (LibDem), who represents Leigh, said: “We’ve been here time and time and time again.

“Last month I supported a refusal as the plan was out of character. But I have to put a planning head on now as we’ve been through virtually every run of this site and it is with regret that we’ve got to a stage where applicant has covered all issues we raised in previous refusals and when we get to that point, I cannot find a reason for refusal.

“I do say it with regret but I have to look at this with a planning head.”

Councillor David Garston (Con) added: “I support what Cllr Mulroney just said. We’ve carefully considered this site over a number of meetings but I think something’s got to happen that’s right, it’s got to be better than an empty site.

“I know it’s difficult with parking but that’s the situation with the whole town unfortunately.”

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter