Plea for time to build towers
Developers are looking to extend the time limit on planning permission to build two giant blocks of riverside flats.
Jamie Lewis Residential has permission for towers of 22 and 27 storeys as part of a 388-apartment complex in Bath Lane, next to the River Soar, in Leicester.
However, the approval for the scheme is set to expire soon and the firm is seeking permission to renew it.
Managing director Jamie Lewis said the move was simply to keep the permission valid and he did not wish to comment further.
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Neither he nor the council has said how the long the proposed extension is for.
However, normally planning consent is extended for three years.
The move has been welcomed by city mayor Sir Peter Soulsby who is trying to secure the regeneration of the area.
The council recently bought the fire-damaged historic Friars Mill building with the hope of kickstarting regeneration in Bath Lane.
He said: "I am hugely encouraged that developers are showing an interest in that area.
"I have long said that part of the town and the riverside could be a tremendous asset."
He said he was having discussions with landowners in the area about redeveloping Friars Mill, but did not wish to say which.
Westbridge Living had earmarked the Bath Lane site now taken over by Jamie Lewis for a £60 million flats complex, for which it gained planning permission in 2006.
However, plans were scrapped when it failed to raise the capital needed.
Mr Lewis has previously said Westbridge's luxury scheme was over-ambitious and unaffordable and better suited to Shanghai than Leicester.
He has said: "Our application is to build a residential scheme aimed at more affordable levels on this site, although the scale and mass of the buildings will be no different to the previous consent.
"We will be using more traditional materials as the cost of constructing a building entirely out of glass is simply not viable in the current climate or the foreseeable future.
Leicester Civic Society chairman Stuart Bailey said: "I am not surprised Jamie Lewis wants to keep the application going.
"He is keeping his options open and if it lapses he will have to pay several thousand pounds when he want to go ahead.
"I can't actually see these towers realistically being built in the near future.
"We have seen a lot of false dawns as far as developments in that area. We have always said they are simply too tall.
"They would tower over more than 20 very valuable heritage assets, including St Mary's Church.
"I am all for a more sympathetic development of family homes in what I currently describe as the rotten core of Leicester, which has been neglected for far too long.
"I am optimistic the mayor will be able to realise the ambition for the area."