Council applies to demolish Goods Shed – despite 73per cent opposition

A TOTAL of 73 per cent of people who took part in Cheshire West and Chester Council’s consultation on Frodsham’s Goods Shed are opposed to its demolition.
But the council has gone ahead with its application – to itself – to demolish the building to make way for additional car park.
A summary of the response was as follows:
Fifty five per cent were in favour of redevelopment of the shed, 29 per cent recognised the need for more parking places, 24 per cent preferred the relocation of the waste/recycling centre, 19 per cent commented on the history and heritage of the shed, 10 per cent were concerned about the additional traffic more parking places would cause, 10 per cent wanted other methods of transport to be considered and eight per cent stated that the shed had become an “eyesore”
Michael Lester, CW&C’s parking project manager, said a number of the responses against the proposal to demolish the goods shed expressed a preference for the development of the building for community or station use.
“There has previously been strong local support for the building to be re-purposed and this was explored in 2015 by the Frodsham Foundation. Unfortunately, an application for Heritage Lottery Funding for the £1.3 million project was unsuccessful and the Foundation has since been dissolved.  There is no other source of funding available for the council to progress this option.  A proposal for an alternative use of the site from a third party is, however, being considered.
“The council must formally apply for and obtain permission to demolish the building and a Traffic Statement must be provided as part of the application.  The Traffic Statement would need to include a survey of current usage, predict future usage linked to the provision of additional parking, identify the impact any additional use would have and provide expert opinion on the highway systems ability to cope with it.
“The council’s Parking Strategy aims to meet the anticipated increase in demand for parking in Frodsham but also sets out methods of improving management of the current provision. By introducing modest charges to central car parks, including at the station, and time limited restrictions on-street, more parking will become available with the result that fewer drivers will be searching for parking spaces, therefore cutting down on congestion levels.”
Alternative sites for the recyclinghave been considered and deemed not viable for over 15 years, by both Cheshire County Council and Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council. All have either been considered unsuitable or inappropriate for a waste facility. The Waste Local Plan update, which was completed last year, was also unable to find an alternative suitable site.
Even if an alternative site was identified there is no current budget available to enable relocation. A new site, which would have to be developed under new waste and environmental regulations could cost £1.5 to £2.5 million depending on its scale, location and the ground works required.
Mr Lester added that the the car park was already at capacity on a daily basis and the increased demand from additional rail services and the reintroduction of the Halton Curve required immediate action to increase parking provision.
“Some of the responses in favour of the proposal have been from local residents who themselves have experienced difficulties parking in the town centre. Increasing the parking space available will help those living in and visiting Frodsham by car as well as those commuting from it.
“Taking all factors into consideration, and particularly the pressing need for additional parking space, the council has submitted an application to demolish the shed. The application process will provide the opportunity for the various issues to be explored and for those opposed to the demolition to object during the statutory consultation period.
“I would stress that, notwithstanding the decision to submit an application, a final decision on whether or not to proceed, including in the event that permission is granted, will only be made following a planning committee hearing.

Picture: The vision for the Goods Shed as prepared by the former Frodsham Foundation.

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