THE resubmitted plans seeking permission to create a restaurant on an "eyesore" unused site near to a village railway station have been decided on by the council.

Permission has been granted for the proposed restaurant near to Rainhill station after issues over the initial plans' potential to cause harm the area's heritage assets were addressed.

Initial proposals for an eatery on land next to the train station were refused by St Helens Council in March this year due to the "harm" which would be caused to "designated heritage assets".

Rainhill Parish Council and Rainhill Civic Society had raised concerns over the proposed plans for the vacant site off Station Road, which has previously been used for car sales and storage.

In rejecting the original proposals, a planning officer had ruled the restaurant would "detract from the significance of designated heritage assets including Rainhill station, Skew Bridge and Rainhill Conservation area".

The station and bridge are grade II listed structures, due to Rainhill's role in the world’s first inter-city passenger railway, and George Stephenson, engineer of the railway and the Skew Bridge.

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A fresh planning application was submitted in August by applicant Mr I Mawdsley, and agent Mike Carr, seeking permission for a single-storey restaurant building and five car parking spaces.

The new plans said "the design principles of the proposed building have amended to further reflect the locality, including various historic features, along with the wider design principles set out in this part of the Conservation area".

They added: "Overall, it is also considered that the redevelopment of this part of Rainhill would result in the significant enhancement of a site that has been a local eyesore for many years".

A Heritage Assessment was also submitted as part of the application.

The assessment stated: "The design has been modified from the previous submission to take its lead from the adjoining station, respecting the predominance of the railway in the Station Road street scene.

"The building is appropriate to the location in that it is a low single-storey structure that will not detract from the station and its setting and will not obscure views of it or the Skew Bridge beyond".

It added: "The proposal aims to put the site to an alternative and sustainable use and thereby make a positive contribution to the local economy".

The new planning application has been given permission by St Helens Council.

In recommending the plans, case officer Natasha Ayres said in a report: "The conservation officer has commented that the new scheme has gone some way to addressing the initial concerns with an improved design.

"The low, single storey height will reduce the visual impact and cause little if any impact to the views of the listed Station building and the bridge.

"The introduction of the brick chimney stack to house the flue and the end canopy are welcomed additions and reflect some of the architectural features on the station".

It was added: "It is considered that overall the proposed design is sympathetic in relation to the character of the wider conservation area and is therefore deemed to be appropriate".