Campaigners frustrated as 2-4 Chester Road towers are not ‘called in’

Their disappointment is recognised but it won’t sweeten the pill for Castlefield campaigners.

Fiona Hobbs, on behalf of Sajiv David, the Secretary for State for Communities and Local Government, has written to those objecting to the towers at 2-4 Chester Road.

‘I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and I understand that there will be great disappointment as a result,’ she says. ‘It is however, now for Manchester City Council to determine this application.’

This follows an application to ‘call-in’ the granting of permission to build towers which for many Mancunians will severely damage a premier British heritage area. Calling-in the proposal would have led to top-level scrutiny at a national level of plans for two residential apartment buildings with a gym, landscaped terrace and swimming pool plus new public realm.

The frustration of those in Castlefield, who ran an intelligent and compelling campaign, featured in this article on Confidential. 

The Government believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible

Sarah Ramsbottom of Castlefield Estates told Confidential, “We believe there has been a clear breach of planning law here as the Conservation Area principle of whether a scheme ‘preserves or enhances the conservation area’ was ignored.”

It’s now been ignored at national level.

Fiona Hobbs also writes, ‘The Secretary of State has carefully considered this case against call-in policy. This makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively. The Government is committed to give more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believes planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.’

Campaigners, and not just those in Castlefield, will smile wryly at the idea of Manchester being given more power over making planning decisions. The city seems to have quite enough already as it ploughs through objection after objection over recent buildings and developments.