Update courtesy Viv Lockwood of Banner Cross Neighbourhood Group

Baldwin’s Omega development – conclusion

The Planning Committee of the Council met yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon to hear the application to develop the Baldwin’s Omega site. Following representations from residents and a Planning Officer hired by the neighbourhood group from around the area, the Planning Committee approved the application with a number of conditions. These conditions do not, however, affect the substance of the proposals but only with its implementation. (see attachment)

This is therefore the end of this unfortunate saga. There is no real scope for taking the matter further through a legal process as the outcome would be the same.

The resident group fought a very effective campaign and they were well represented in the hearing. At stages throughout the development proposals they had the developers on the back foot and caused them to pause, a disturbance to their plans which clearly infuriated them. Errors they made along the way were pounced on and the council’s Planning Department clearly knew they had some very articulate people to deal with. At the same time, it is undeniable that the council, like all councils, is under intense pressure from government to find brown-field sites for new housing developments.

However, for whatever reason the decision went against them and the development will now go ahead. None of the objections have been disproved; the blocks of flats will still be overbearing and the sole access point to the site will remain hazardous. It is an over-development and in a fair world should not have been allowed. But planning law is a minefield and on this occasion it became apparent that despite the questions raised at the hearing from councillors there was not sufficient support amongst them to refuse the application and the final vote was something in the order of 4 to 6 in favour.