Plans to build a hand car wash and valet service on a previously developed site on Alderley Road have been refused by the Northern Planning Committee despite the planning officer recommending them for approval.
The applicant was seeking permission for a change of use of the former petrol filling station to build two car wash bays, with both bays consisting of a spraying area and a valeting area.
Given concerns raised by the Environmental Protection Officer regarding the operation of the proposed facilities on Sundays, the Committee Report had initially recommended that approval be granted on a two year temporary basis to enable the Local Planning Authority to monitor and re-assess the impact of the hand car wash after two years of it being operational.
However, prior to the Strategic Planning Board Meeting on Wednesday, 12th July, the applicant confirmed that a condition restricting operating hours from 9am to 6pm Monday to Saturday, with no working on Sundays, would now be acceptable.
As a result, the planning officer recommend that planning application be approved "Subject to a condition being imposed controlling the operation of the premises to these hours, it is therefore considered that a temporary approval would no longer be justified or necessary in this case. This is given the supporting information provided by the noise assessment which includes background noise measurements having been undertaken on the morning of Saturday 15th October 2016 between 08:00 and 11:00, when road traffic volume and therefore road traffic noise levels are lower than weekdays.
Adding "The Environmental Protection Officer concurs with the findings of the noise impact assessment (NIA) that noise levels arising from the operation of the proposed facilities (Monday - Saturday) will be below existing background noise levels arising from road traffic, and therefore would not result in any unacceptable noise impact at the nearest dwellings."
However, members of the Northern Planning Committee refused planning permission with ten members voting against, whilst two voted in favour, on the grounds that it would have a detrimental impact on - the character of the area; the Kings Arms' outside seating area; the general enjoyment of the pub's customers and this gateway site into Wilmslow, instead of enhancing the area.
Councillor Rod Menlove spoke at the planning meeting against the proposed development stating it would have an unacceptable impact on the character of the area, living conditions of neighbouring properties, highway conditions and all other matters of public interest.
He said "You have only to look at the jet wash car wash just north of Handforth to see what this proposal would look like. It's a hard working environment, fronting a main road junction and is ugly or in planning speak is 'visually detrimental'. It belongs on a trading estate. Comparisons with Mobberley, that is well set back from the road, are invalid. Yes, this site is between a pub and a builders' yard but they are neat and tidy. This would be a discordant and unacceptable feature."
Speaking about the impact on neighbouring properties,he said "The report takes no account of potential impact on the closest residences. These are in Knutsford Road immediately behind the site and share a common boundary. Much closer than Paxford Place. The impact on the pub is hardly considered and no account is taken of the pub outdoor seating area. Realistic assessment of jet wash noise, valet vacuuming noise, idling engine noise and pollution, spray travel in all directions is noticeably lacking."
Cllr Menlove then spoke about the highway conditions saying "Alderley Road is a busy road adjacent to a busy junction roundabout. Those members who went on the site visit will recollect that they had to wait for the traffic to clear before they could exit: and that was at 10.00am on a quiet Friday going northbound.
"Southbound traffic travels at speed in to Alderley Road and Knutsford Road making exit difficult at the roundabout for the northbound traffic. This is a bottleneck and if anything is needed it is road design improvements. It definitely is not a car wash to add to congestion."
This application is a resubmission (of application 16/3309M) which was withdrawn prior to determination in September 2016 due to the need to address concerns relating to highway safety and lack of information regarding noise impact and land contamination.
Wilmslow Town Council felt the revised application did not address their earlier concerns and objected on the grounds of the likely impact on the highway caused by vehicles queueing to access the facility, concerns over the adequacy of the drains and treatment of waste water from the car wash, the impact on the surrounding businesses and residential properties and the visual impact on the character of this high quality residential area.
Forty five letters of objections from local residents were also received.