Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Development Plans approved

A controversial plan to develop a prominent Victorian building has been approved.
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council planning committee passed plans by a nine to three majority to build on land surrounding Brockley Hall, part of a conservation area.
A four-storey building containing 22 sheltered apartments will be constructed on the site, while a three-storey extension and single-storey sun lounge will be added to the hall.
The vote was met with exasperation from opponents of the plans who attended the meeting in Marske Leisure Centre.
The proposed development site is opposite the Valley Gardens and the war memorial.
David Knowles, of Saltburn Civic Society Steering Group, said: “At 15m in height, with a blocky construction, the development would dominate the immediate townscape. The design of the building is at odds with its Victorian neighbours. The development will erode Saltburn’s individuality and distinctiveness. This granting of planning permission for one development sets a precedent for subsequent applications, which could further damage the longterm image and prosperity of Saltburn. The open space at Brockley Hall contributes to the unique character of the town, providing an important setting for its historic buildings. We are obviously extremely disappointed. We have to ask who the councillors are representing here. Over 300 letters have been written and a petition with more than 1,000 signatures has been handed in, yet the plans were still approved. The only councillors who rejected the bids were from Saltburn, so what does that tell you? The people of Saltburn do not want this to be built.”
Another Saltburn resident added: “The council says that the new buildings won’t spoil the area surrounding this beautiful hall. I’d like to know how many of them have qualifications in design; they clearly know nothing. But who am I to say, I’m just a resident of Saltburn and clearly that doesn’t count for much.”
After a visit to the site, the chairman of the planning committee, Coun Brian Hogg, summed up the concerns which residents had brought to him.
He attempted to address them, but did concede that the Saltburn Civic Society Steering Group, which had played a large part in the protest, should have been more involved in the process.
In supporting the application, Coun Billy Ayre said: “The Victorian heritage of Saltburn is very important, but what would we be saying if we rejected this? That we can never build in Saltburn, that when buildings deteriorate over time we cannot restore them? We have to move with the times, otherwise what will be left for the future generations of the town?”
The planning committee passed the plans with a number of caveats, which included the forbidding of any windows being made from UPVC and the preservation of a downward pipe on the outside of the hall.

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