Historian's mosaic plan left in pieces
10th July 2010
Red tape has forced a Northwich man to abandon his
plans to commemorate the town rich history. Stuart Hogg, the former
president of Northwich and District Heritage Society, wanted to
install mosaic panels along the side of Marks and Spencer, in Leicester
Street, but council bureaucracy has stifled his efforts.
He said: “Instead of the four wall-mounted panels for which
we sought planning permission, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s
(CWAC) planning department seems to think we wish to build a new
estate and requires information about raw sewage, effluent outfall,
etc. – all too time-consuming and stressful.”
Picture: Nick Jones n102835
Stuart had the support of Marks and Spencer, British Waterways,
Brunner Mond and CWAC itself, in the form of sponsorship, to have
replicas made of the panels currently at Northwich's Somerfield
He submitted his application to install the panels in mid June,
including pictures of the mosaics and their measurements and a photograph
of the planned location.
He was told it was an invalid application because it did not include
four copies of the location plan at the correct scale, with the
application site shown clearly with a red line, four copies of a
block plan of the site, four copies of detailed drawings of existing
elevations or four copies of detailed drawings of planned elevations.
Stuart said: “I think it was a good idea that’s fallen
through. I couldn’t do it any more because it was doing my
head in. It wasn’t the right scale with red lines and blue
lines, there wasn’t a plan of the M&S site – why
is it needed? It’s just one wall. It’s crazy.”
A CWAC spokesman said: “These are standard requirements,
set nationally, for every planning application, whether it be for
a mosaic or a major housing planning application.”
UPDATE 4TH AUGUST 2010
Council finally gives go-ahead for Stuart's mosaic
MOSAIC panels have been given the go ahead in a U-turn by Cheshire
West and Chester Council (CWAC).
Stuart Hogg, former president of Northwich and District Heritage
Society, thought red tape had forced him to abandon his plans to
install heritage artwork along the side of Marks and Spencer, in
He was originally told by CWAC’s planning department that
his application to install the panels was invalid because it did
not include four copies of the location plan at the correct scale,
with the application site shown clearly with a red line, four copies
of a block plan of the site, four copies of detailed drawings of
existing elevations or four copies of detailed drawings of planned
But after the issue was featured in the Guardian, CWAC has agreed
that planning permission is not needed.
In a letter to Stuart, Iwan Hughes, CWAC’s area planning
manager for the north and east, said: “On reflection it is
clear that the mosaic panels will form a very small part of the
side elevation of the Marks and Spencer building and that they do
not constitute advertisements.
“Also, having regard to the fact that no building operation
will take place to install the panels, I am comfortable in being
able to confirm to you that the proposals can be classed as ‘de
minimis’, which means that a planning permission would not
be required in this instance.”
Stuart has the support of Marks and Spencer, British Waterways,
Brunner Mond and CWAC itself in the form of sponsorship and is keen
to move on with the project.
He said: “We’re back to the straight and narrow now,
as it were. I thought the letter was very good of him – at
least they have had the decency to admit they were wrong and say
sorry so we can press on, but they should have done that in the
first place. It caused a great deal of unnecessary delay and stress”.
The panels, which will be replicas of those at Somerfield, should
be put up within two to three months.