WP/19/00370/FUL - Reconstruction and change of use of church to 25 No. apartments and remedial works to existing house.
WP/19/00371/LBC - Internal & external alterations to facilitate the reconstruction & change of use of church to 25 no. apartments and remedial works to existing house.
The Senior Planning Officer introduced the two applications for the reconstruction and change of use of a church to 25 apartments and remedial works to the existing house.
An additional condition in relation to the Construction Management Plan had been included in an update sheet that was circulated to members at the meeting.
Members were shown a location plan, site plan, elevations, floor plans and aerial photograph of the site currently occupied by the shell of a grade II listed former church and minister's house. In 2002, the church suffered a fire which destroyed the roof and upper walls and had been left open to the elements since that time.
A new steel framed glazed rose window was proposed to replace the stone rose window lost as a result of the fire. The stone banding around the new window would match the stone and brickwork on the existing building that would be subject to condition.
Photographs of the existing building taken from St Edmund Street and the surrounding area were shown. The key planning matters were outlined including principle of development, heritage, affordable housing and parking. In relation to heritage, it was noted that there was a need to balance the harm to the existing building already caused by the fire and subsequent exposure to the elements. Although the application did not offer a faithful reconstruction, the harm from that was outweighed by safeguarding and preserving what remained of the building, the benefits of housing provision and visual improvement of the building in the Conservation Area. A viability assessment considered by the District Valuer concluded that affordable housing provision would not be financially viable.
Robert Gardner, the applicant’s agent, addressed the Committee and provided background on the application site. Since the fire in 2002, some demolition work had been carried out and scaffolding erected inside the walls of the building. Previous permissions had not been successful due to viability issues. This application was the culmination of 3 years of hard work and consultation with Historic England in order to get as much detail and quality into the building whilst maintaining viability. Residential amenity had been considered from the outset and public consultation had been widely attended with people largely supportive of the scheme. The application presented a unique opportunity to start the next chapter in the building's history, rejuvenate the site and improve the Conservation Area.
Members were pleased with this scheme. In response to a question it was confirmed that the original stone rose window had been destroyed in the fire and could only be replaced at huge expense which had an impact on the viability of previous schemes.
Members asked how redevelopment would affect residents of Helen Lane and was informed that the additional condition in the update sheet was in relation to a construction traffic management plan in order to safeguard residents and other highways users during construction. However, the scale of highway licencing required was not known at this stage and that this would become apparent once the detail of the construction was finalised.
Proposed by Cllr Louie O'Leary, seconded by Cllr Kate Wheller.
Decision: That the application be granted subject to the conditions outlined in the appendix to these minutes including the additional condition outlined in the update sheet.
Proposed by Cllr Louie O'Leary, Seconded by Cllr Nick Ireland.
Decision: That the application for Listed Building Consent be granted subject to the conditions outlined in the appendix to these minutes.