As we mentioned briefly last night, the application from Coral was passed last night.
This was the SIXTH application for a building on this precise site:
The first was in 2005, for 4 shops, 1 cafe/restaurant, 3 ‘community use’ units and 8 flats. This was part of Asda’s first application , which was refused by the district council.
The second was in 2005 , for 5 shops, 1 cafe, 3 ‘community use’ units and a nursery. This was part of Asda’s second application, which was refused by the district council, but passed by a governemnt inspector. However Asda never built this building….
The third was from Coral in 2008. , for a range of commercial shops and eating and drinking establishments and 19 flats. This was withdrawn by Coral due to the weight of public opinion against it.
The fourth was from Coral later in 2008, and was for 6 units with a wide range of uses (restricted to 2 takeaways). This was passed, but never built apparently because of the economic climate.
The fifth was from Coral in 2009, for 3 commercial units and 24 affordable flats, all built in a modern style. Ron and Chris felt the design was too ‘factory-like’ , was out of keeping with the rest of Rawreth Lane, and didn’t have enough amenity or garden space. This was refused by the District Council.
The latest application was for 3 commercial units and 23 affordable flats in a more traditional, attractive design that we thought fitted in much better with Rawreth Lane. They provided extra garden space by having roof gardens.
Ron and Chris had the chance to meet with Coral and a council officer soon after the application went in, to get a better understanding of the scheme and suggest some improvements. For example:
There is a condition that ‘no amplified speech or music shall be broadcast on the open areas of the site.
There is an extra planting area / barrier at the northern end of the roof garden to prevent easy overlooking onto Rawreth Lane.
The height of the stairwells on the roof has been reduced.
There is a condition to prevent the thress small commercial units from being convertd into one big takeaway
Under the planning rules, Chris and Ron couldn’t confer in advance of the meeting. But we came to similar conclusions:
disappointment that we haven’t got a building of more benefit to the general community
a feeling that the latest building was more attractive to look at and offered a better quality of life for those living there
some uncertainty as how the roof gardens will work out in practice
a feeling that this was the best we could get here!
Coral have said that they will build this scheme now it has been passed. HOWEVER, scheme number 5 (the ‘factory-style’ flats) goes before a planning inspector next Tuesday – it’s basically too late to cancel the appeal…..