Homes plan for former Conservative club site

THE SITE of a former Conservative club will be transformed into 24 apartments if planning permission is granted.

Applicant Watson Homes has been backed by housing provider Jigsaw, who will own and manage it.

If approved, the scheme would see affordable housing – one-bedroomed properties – built on the land on Vernon Street, Ashton, which is currently vacant, in a block designed to ‘reflect a cotton mill typology that would have been prevalent in the wider area during the 19th and 20th centuries’.

But a crime survey has pointed out security must be high because figures in the area, with vehicle crime 90 per cent higher than the average for England and Wales.

Greater Manchester Police told Watson Homes: “A robust access control system should be in place to allow residents to vet visitors to apartment blocks before allowing them access.

The site of the former Conservative Club

“Consideration could also be given to ‘airlock’ lobby system, which features a secondary entrance door that only releases when the external door has closed, reducing the opportunities for tailgating unnoticed.

“All private spaces to the sides/rears of the building should be robustly enclosed, particularly where adjacent to publicly accessible space, to deter unauthorised access.

“It is essential that the development is designed so that resident’s vehicles are secured and overlooked.

“Ideally, any surface communal parking areas serving apartments or groups of houses should be located directly in front of the dwellings they serve, clearly separated from the streets or any areas of adjacent open space/pedestrian routes.

“Any side, rear, undercroft or basement communal parking areas must be secured with automatic gates/shutters to prevent unauthorised access to where hidden doors, windows and parked vehicles could be attacked unseen.”

The Hurst Knoll area of Ashton is seen as a crime hotspot, with the survey finding the rate of domestic burglaries is also 51 per cent higher than the rate for England and Wales.Woundings are 45 per cent higher and criminal damage 26 per cent higher – although it is nine per cent lower than the rest of Tameside.

The land on Vernon Street was the site of a bowling club but outline planning permission was granted in 2005 for 24 apartments.

It was resubmitted and reapproved in 2017 before a redesign was given the go ahead a year later.

As that has now expired, this application seeks to re-establish the principle of development with a similar building on the same footprint.

And Jigsaw, which is working with Watson Homes, believes it can help the area develop and calm crime issues.

Development manager Richard King said: “Jigsaw Homes Tameside can confirm our interest and commitment to seeing this scheme delivered to help provide an 100 per cent affordable housing scheme, which will contribute towards the much needed affordable housing provision within Tameside.

“The application site sits within Jigsaw Homes Tameside area of operation and has been brought to us as a land and build package.

“We are currently working with Watson Construction on a number of opportunities and given their reputation and excellent track record, we are confident that they shall be able to respond to our requirements and specification.

“We have secured the initial support of Tameside Council head of housing, Patrick Nolan, who has confirmed supported for our bid for grant funded allocation from Homes England.

“Jigsaw Homes is keen to promote partnership working and is excited about the prospect of working alongside Watson Construction.

“We will have an active involvement on all aspects of the project including design, layout, planning promotion and through to delivery and handover of all units to our management teams.

“The proposed development will be owned and managed by Jigsaw Homes Tameside. The final proposals will be reviewed to ensure good quality urban sustainable design, to help reduce potential anti-social behaviour and contribute to achieving cohesive communities.”

Tameside Council’s Speakers Panel (Planning) committee will decide whether to grant or refuse planning permission.

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