Developers behind controversial plans for a student housing scheme at the Grade II listed Galgate Mill have won a planning appeal to allow their scheme to go ahead.
City councillors had rejected the proposals last summer, despite several Galgate residents speaking at the planning meeting in favour of the scheme, which will see 107 student flats developed at the historic mill, along with leisure facilities, a cafe and a museum.
But a Planning Inspector has overturned the decision on appeal.
Ayub and Rosemin Hussain of UK Mills Ltd said: “After a long two-and-a-half year planning battle, we are pleased to share with our supporters and well wishers that full planning permission has been granted through appeal for the mill to be restored and converted.
“Imtayaz Patel our director of finance and co-owner, has been keeping a close eye on viability of the project and has expressed his concerns over the last few months. However, we are driven by our passion to save the historic mill and will continue to do all we can to ensure Galgate Mill is restored and brought back into use.
“We would like to thank the previous owners of the mill, Mr and Mrs McIntosh, and all those that have supported us through our difficult turbulent journey.
“Full credit also goes to our team of experts for the success, they have all shared with us our passion for the mill.
“We thank our architect Ashfaq Patel, Daniel Gallagher our public consultant, our very valued heritage experts Anthony Pilling and Ian Miller, Louise Wilkie our structural engineer of Victoria Design Group Ltd, our highly accomplished highway consultant Petros Price of Modal Group Ltd, and finally our formidable barrister Sarah Clover of Kings Chambers, Birmingham.
“We are now hoping that we can reconcile with Lancaster City Council, draw a line under past events and work together so that we can begin to restore this very important historical asset we can all be proud of.”
Coun Roger Sherlock, chairman of the city council’s planning committee, said: “In reaching his decision to allow the appeal, the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspector still confirmed that the proposal would fail to preserve the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building and it would not accord with the required standards of accommodation set out in the development plan.
“The inspector’s decision to relax the internal standards will, in our opinion, lead to dimly-lit and oppressive rooms for students. We also disagree with the inspector’s conclusions regarding highway safety and we maintain our position that 107 student units and ancillary uses will lead to indiscriminate car parking throughout Galgate.
“We believe that these matters justified refusing planning permission, and whilst we respect that the inspector has taken a different view and that as a consequence we will endeavour to work with the developer, we believe that this scheme is still flawed for the reasons we have set out.”