Plans to demolish used car dealership for flats thrown out by councillors

A councillor has questioned how many more people can be moved into Leigh while the area has insufficient infrastructure.

Councillor Fay Evans (Con) raised the concerns during a planning meeting held on Wednesday afternoon when councillors unanimously agreed to throw out plans to demolish a used car dealership and replace it with a block of flats.

The planning application was seeking permission to demolish the Bransons Cars showroom on London Road in Leigh and redevelop it into a part three-storey and part four-story flat block comprised of 14 apartments on the upper floors and two commercial units on the ground floor.

Councillor Fay Evans said: “This is similar to a number of other developments along London road, we are developing and building more flats here but we haven’t got the infrastructure.

“We haven’t got the hospitals, we haven’t the GP clinics, we haven’t the education.

“What are we going to stop bringing all these people in when we haven’t the infrastructure to accommodate them?”

It comes shortly after the council received another planning application to redevelop another car showroom into housing, less than half a mile from Bransons.

The owner of Johnsons of Leigh, another car dealership, on the road said earlier this week that used car dealerships are on a “downward spiral” due to rising demand for housing in the area which is pushing up the value of the land.

Bob Johnson, 59, compared the decline in car dealerships on London Road to the gradual loss of high street shops caused by the explosion of major supermarket chains.

Councillors unanimously rejected the plans in line with the recommendations from council officers who said planning permission should be refused due in part to the lack of disabled parking spaces, the lack of amenity space and the building’s “scale and bulk”.

Planning documents submitted by Skarchitects on behalf of the site owner describe the existing business that occupies the site as having a “negative impact on the residential amenity of the neighbours” and says a “downturn in second-hand car sales” has made the business “unviable”.
Bransons Cars declined to comment.

Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter