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Monday, 06 January 2014 (3047082)
by Tom Martin

CONTROVERSIAL plans to turn a popular beer garden in Hightown into a residential area have been given the go-ahead.

As revealed in The Champion back in September 2013, an application was sent to Sefton Council by a housing firm to transform a large section of the Hightown Hotel garden into three new homes.

It led to a public outcry and seven nearby residents wrote letters to the council to protest against the idea and the local Parish Council has also backed their concerns.

The new homes are feared to increase traffic congestion, lead to a loss of urban greenspace and the building work will mean added noise and disruption.

There are now calls to introduce new speed bumps on School Road in a bid to slow down cars and ease traffic problems.

But the group behind the proposal, Punch Taverns, claim that a large part of the garden will remain untouched and will not be affected by the building works.

A spokesperson the Punch Taverns, said: “A speculative planning application was submitted and we can confirm that permission has been granted.

”We believe that the land  at the Hightown Hotel is currently surplus to requirements and we plan to better utilise the land to benefit the local community whilst retaining a significant portion of the pub's beer garden for customers to enjoy. No action will be taken at this stage.“

When the plans were first revealed last year, the chairman of the Hightown Parish Council, Tim Asbury, voiced his disapproval.

He said: ”I would like to express my concern that we are losing more urban green space to more housing development.“

The council has already approved separate plans for 13 new houses elsewhere in Hightown.

It is feared that it will result in the loss of parking spaces around the Village Green and news of three more homes at the Hightown Hotel has worried local residents.

A Sefton Council report into the three homes, states: ”The proposed development is acceptable in principle and would have no significant detrimental effect on either the character of the street scene, on highway safety or on the amenities of the adjoining residential premises.

“In the absence of all other material planning considerations the granting of planning permission is justified.”


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