Plans for a four-storey block of flats in Spalding sparked doubts about anyone wanting to live on back-land between Market Place and The Crescent or where they can’t park.
Taylor Pearson Development (Draper’s Place) Ltd proposed building would dwarf the three-storey buildings in Market Place, although it would not be visible to people walking in the shopping area, the planning committee heard.
I think it will be an enormous piece of masonry stuck in the middle of Spalding, you won’t miss it that’s for sure.Coun Bryan Alcock
Planning officer Mark Simmmonds said: “Historic England clearly don’t object but they raise a concern, I suppose, about if we have enough information to assess whether that building will impact adversely on important listed buildings.”
Members 48 bedrooms are proposed with just 15 parking spaces on site – three at the front and 12 at the back.
“There could be two people in those bedrooms,” said Coun Pete Williams. “We could be looking at 70-plus people and just 15 parking spaces and I don’t think that works.”
Chairman Coun Roger Gambba-Jones found it an “extraordinary proposal” when he first saw it because the building would be “stuck in the middle of everything else, looking at the backside of everybody else”.
He said: “From that point of view and put bluntly I would be amazed if anybody wanted to live there.”
Coun Bryan Alcock said: “I think it will be an enormous piece of masonry stuck in the middle of Spalding, you won’t miss it that’s for sure.”
He understood the economics of building upwards but felt it was “just too much on that site”.
Coun Harry Drury said rubbish and recycling arrangements would need to be by private collection because black bags and green bags from 35 households simply cannot be put on the street.
Councillors deferred a decision after raising concerns about issues including:
• The mass and bulk of the building
• Parking/refuse management
• The need to address Historic England’s comments
• Amenity of future occupiers of the proposed flats and that of existing residents
• The Francis Street access with cars, pedestrians and people on mobility scooters sharing it
Coun Christine Lawton said: “The access is extremely difficult to contemplate, unless we are going to knock down the pub (Hole in the Wall) or Sergi’s (Tapas Bar). That access is very tight.”
The development was originally designed for over 55s and some members are concerned it could be for all-comers with no planning condition proposed to enforce an age restriction.
Coun Rodney Grocock supported the officer recommendation for approval, saying the car park had been an eyesore for many years.
He said: “I think this could be an extremely serious piece of real estate.”
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