Plans to create an affordable housing development on greenfield land near Peasley Cross Hospital have been approved.
The applicant, Tyson Construction, has drawn up plans to build 12, two-bedroom cottage apartments, four, two-bedroom homes and 16, three-bedroom homes.
The proposed development will comprise a 100 per cent affordable rent scheme. Knowsley Housing Trust is the registered social housing provider.
This land is within the Peasley Cross Hospital site, although it is owned by Homes England, which will be funding the scheme.
Subsequently, occupiers will have an automatic right to acquire the property.
The application site is approximately 1.51ha in size and is largely overgrown with shrubs and grassland, with a number of trees around the site. While the land is greenfield, it has been allocated for residential development by St Helens Council since 1998.
Planning documents state the site is bordered by a wall to the north, beyond which is Peasley Cross Hospital, which is situated on a lower ground level.
To the west of the site, beyond woodlands, are light industrial units. The south and east boundaries of the site are near the rear gardens of properties along Marshalls Cross Road and Broadgate Avenue.
St Helens Council’s planning committee heard the application on Tuesday night.
The council received six letters of objection concerning the plans, dealing with issues such as the impact on the highways and the loss of existing landscaping and habitat.
Melanie Hale, the council’s service manager for development and building control, said planning officers believe the development would comply with local and national planning policy.
Ms Hale said: “Although the development is proposed for a greenfield site, it is in the urban area, it is in a sustainable location and it would bring forward a site that’s been allocated for housing for a very long time.
“Matters of drainage, highways, design, appearance are acceptable, and we believe it complies with the relevant prism of the development plan and is a sustainable development.”
Officers recommended that planning permission be granted, subject to numerous conditions.
The plans were welcomed by Gill Neal, Independents councillor for Windle.
Coun Neal said: “I think it’s a really positive regeneration of an area that is particularly run down. Very sympathetic style of housing.
“I like the way it’s retained that green space as well, so I would be in support of the application and would move to support it.”
Labour’s Seve Gomez-Aspron, chairman of the planning committee, said the scheme will help address a shortage in smaller, two-bedroom properties, within St Helens.
“It’s a mix of exactly what we need,” Coun Gomez-Aspron said. “The housing stock is short of two-bed, smaller places.
“The majority of Helenas and other housing associations consist of big, three-bedroom stuff.
“Now if you only need two bedrooms and you’re hit by that bedroom tax, you’ve got nowhere to go at the minute other than pay it.
“So, it’s only right that we encourage more of that type of stock to be built to help people not be forced down a route where they pay the bedroom tax.”
Planning permission was unanimously approved, subject to conditions, following a vote.