Back to the drawing board for Spalding development?
Opponents of a bid to build a four-storey block of apartments on Draper’s Place, Spalding are pointing to a 2007 ‘masterplan’ as a possible starting point for
South Holland District Council’s planning committee has deferred a decision on an application from Taylor Pearson (Draper’s Place) Ltd to build 35 homes and create 15 parking spaces.
The council owns land next to the application site and Spalding Town Retailers Association (STRA) would like to see both sites go in the melting pot for a new scheme adding to the town’s retail offer.
‘Spalding Town Masterplan’ was created by Roger Evans
Associates for the council in 2007 and its key proposals for land at Gore Lane/Draper’s Place were: opening an improved vehicle access through a site on The Crescent; creating one or two pedestrian accesses through ground floors of shops on Market Place (and extending their retail frontage along the passages); providing housing to infill sites on Gore Lane and Abbey Path to a similar scale to existing small terraces; creating a new space at the centre of the block as a focus for retail and cafe uses; and encouraging long-term improvement of nearby areas such as the corner of Gore Lane and Sheep Market.
STRA wants to see a mixed retail/residential development embracing both council and privately owned land.
STRA past president Gavin Allmand believes Draper’s Place should be developed in line with the council’s pledge in the emerging local plan to support the viability and vitality of the town centre.
But Coun Nick Worth, the council’s portfolio holder for strategic planning, says the council planning committee can only work with policies that are already in place – and it will be some time before the emerging local plan is adopted.
Coun Worth says the policy will aim to promote opportunities to strengthen the town centre by promoting appropriate town centre development in tandem with supporting town centre events and enhancements to the wider public realm.
The application for flats was deferred by the planning committee with councillors raising concerns about over-development, the mass and bulk of the building, parking/refuse management, amenity of future occupiers and that of existing residents, and the Francis Street access with cars, pedestrians and people on mobility scooters sharing it.
Members heard Historic England had also raised “a concern” about whether the building would impact adversely on important listed buildings.
Spalding and District Civic Society has already written to the council opposing the flats application, and has a raft of objections including the narrow access from Francis Street, the “monolithic four-storey mass of the building” being unsympathetic to its surroundings, and a proposed wall along Abbey Path creating a narrow, forbidding alleyway.
John Charlesworth, from the society, says they will write again to the council to point out that its existing policy SG14 says development that would prejudice the comprehensive development of an area or re-development of an area will not be permitted.