Another housing proposal – this time for 13 units – has been submitted by the developer who demolished the Railway Inn Pub and created a temporary car park. Lochailort Development’s original housing proposal – for 5 units – was refused by B&DBC in February 2012 but this decision is under appeal now.
The ‘Railway Mews’ proposal, as it has been dubbed by the developer, includes a building and clock tower that replicates the look of the Silk Mill.
Hugo Haig of Lochailort Developments told the Town Council’s development control committee meeting in April 2012 that “We wouldn’t want to implement [the original plan] if this [new] plan is a success.”Mr Haig continued,
“When you come out of the station, this is what you’re going to see…The clock is the thing that is the biggest feature – The key thing for Whitchurch is the Silk Mill, and we want to say ‘here we are’.”
Whitchurch town councillor Linda Thomas asked the developer, “Who is taking care of the clock?”
Mr Haig responded, “It falls into management of the centre, all 13 [home owners] subscribe into it and they all run it and make sure the clocks right – perhaps [B&DBC] make it a planning condition that it runs on time?”
According to documents submitted to B&DBC, other design components of the proposal are to reflect styles and materials seen around our historic town, including the Grade II* listed Town Hall.
NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The new proposal is for 13 dwellings: 2 four-bedroom houses, 3 three-bedroom apartments, 7 two-bedroom apartments, and 1 one-bedroom maisonette. The internal floor areas range from 65 square metres to 160 square metres.
Mr Haig said,
“It’s not about numbers [of units]…the key is probably making best use of the land. We trying to produce something that has the best legacy for everybody that comes behind.”
As the development is under 15 units, there is no requirement for the provision of any affordable housing, the developer stated.
A 1m high hedge of prunus cistena (purple leaf sand cherry) is proposed for the southern boundary. Other locations will have planting beds with an irrigation system. A Birch tree will also be planted, if there is sufficient space.
7 of the 13 units have either a garden or a private roof terrace; there is also a central internal green cloistered landscape courtyard garden for residents.
BICYCLE STORAGE PRIORITISED
There are only 12 car parking spaces within cart sheds or car ports. Instead of more parking there are to be cycles spaces and possibly a cycle shed. It is anticipated that if needs be that the car park at the railway station can be used outside peak commuter hours. The nos. 76 and 86 buses stop nearby, and the railway station is just behind the development. It is a short walk or bicycle journey down into town.
The two existing houses at no.s 30 & 34 Station Road are to remain as they are not owned by the developer. However, the developer did tell the Town Council that their owners may be offered a free renovation.
NO INTEREST AS A PUB
The developer has made reference to several recommendations in the Whitchurch Design Statement as justification for the proposal’s design and layout. Many locals created the design statement in the early 2000s and it is adopted by B&DBC as supplemental planning guidance.
The developer states that the original pub on the site, “had not been trading well and had been marketed with no interest as a pub”. They also state there are 8 other pubs in Whitchurch (in fact there are just 7 now as the Harvest Home was demolished by a different developer and put back onto the market recently).
The full set of plans and reports for the proposed development is in planning application BDB/76303. You can tell B&DBC planning officers what you think of the proposal by filling in the comment form HERE. The original planning application is BDB/74244 (refused 22 Feb 2012 but under appeal). Our recent article about the Harvest Home being put back on the market is HERE.