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Planning Appraisal Group - TrustNews June 07

The pressures on Stockbridge Road recorded in the last TrustNews seem to have been reduced, if only temporarily. The appeal against the refusal of the proposed Aldi store has been dismissed, and the Sunrise Senior Living development at Warden Hill, involving the demolition of three houses for a 3-storey block of 80 assisted-living bedrooms, has been refused on traffic grounds and because its scale, design and massing would be incongruous and visually dominant. The applicants have gone to appeal against this refusal and the Trust is writing to support the planners' decision. However, two major schemes in this locality still await a decision: the Waitrose store and the demolition of 3-5 Burnett Close for the Churchill Retirement Living development of 35 sheltered housing apartments.

The scheme to demolish and replace Winton House, Andover Road with 77 new dwellings has been approved, but the more contentious development replacing Greenacres Special School is still under consideration.

The proposal to replace Lang House, Chilbolton Avenue, with a 3-storey block of fourteen 2-bedroom flats has been refused because of its scale, mass and bulk. Similar reasons were given for the refusal to allow 23 City Road to be replaced by a block of 14 flats, and we understand that the current developers are now considering building the previously permitted scheme for 11 flats, which we felt had a crisp design that would do much to enhance the neighbourhood. The nearby development at 38-42 Stockbridge Road, which we had felt would not have the same effect on its locality, has been permitted.

It is good to see that the proposal to alter the roof at 7 Alswitha Terrace, King Alfred Place, has been refused because it was considered the design and scale of the proposed extension would be unsympathetic and seem incongruous, and would therefore be detrimental to the character of the Conservation Area.

The refusal to allow a 2-storey dwelling to be attached to 43 Cromwell Road has been taken to appeal and the Trust has written in support of the decision.

Two applications have caused considerable local concern. The first is the proposal to demolish the Stanmore Hotel, Stanmore Lane, to make way for a 65-bed nursing home that Colten Developments want to build. We had been informed that the pub was no longer a viable concern and, having accepted this fact, felt this was a suitable site for the proposed development and that on the whole the scheme was satisfactory, apart from a few minor quibbles. The other is at 40 Cheriton Road, where it is proposed that a 2-storey extension should be added to the existing house to provide four 2-bedroom apartments and a 2-storey block of four 2-bedroom apartments should be built alongside. Although not listed, the symmetrical design and setting of this house make a considerable contribution to the character of the road that is worth preserving, and we therefore objected to this proposal. We especially disliked the proposed extension, which we felt would detract from the symmetry of the house because its style aimed to copy that of the original and was not set far enough back from the front façade. We suggested it should be set further back and be made of different materials, and could perhaps have a contemporary design so that it was clear it wasn't part of the original design. We also suggested that, to preserve the open space around the house that is so important for its setting, cars should not be parked immediately in front of it and that, instead of being sited almost level with the existing house, the new contemporary-style block should be set further back, so that the feeling of open space could be preserved. It was also considered unacceptable that there were no drawings showing how the development would fit into the street scene.

We have also objected to Winchester City Council's proposal to replace the row of garages at Garage Court, Fivefields Road, with another row of flat-roofed garages which, according to the example given of the type of structure being considered, would be just as ugly as those at present occupying the site. A 2-storey residential development here would have been given permission in 2004, if local concerns about the type of occupant concerned had not been raised. It is therefore clear that the site could be used for something other than replacement garages, and as it belongs to WCC we have suggested that it might be a good candidate for affordable housing, which would be a more creative use than the one proposed.

Members have raised concerns about the fate of two apparently unloved buildings, and it is therefore good to be able to report that two recent applications should allay their fears. One is Chestnut Mead, Kingsgate Road, which, apart from ivy growing over the windows, has shown no sign of life since the proposal to demolish it was dismissed on appeal at the end of 2003. An application is currently wending its way through the system to convert the existing house into three dwellings and to build two new houses in the rear garden. We felt these 3-storey 5-bedroom houses were both too tall and should be reduced to 2 storeys, but otherwise welcomed the scheme. The other is the Prince of Wales, 26 Hyde Street, another property with a sadly neglected appearance. At last it seems that a satisfactory rear extension is being proposed, after considerable effort has been made by the applicant to reduce its height enough to be acceptable to the adjoining property, and we wait to see whether the planners will agree to this latest scheme.

Shione Carden