The following notes record the background and status of four development sites in Malvern as at 29th March 2018. Any errors or infelicities are solely those of the Malvern Civic Society Planning Sub Committee
Convent of the Holy Name, Ranelagh Road
The site of this former convent in Malvern Link has been variously disused or uncared for since the departure of a congregation of Anglican nuns in 1990. The buildings are subject to three Grade II listings and several associated planning applications, which include erection of 14 dwellings and the conversion of one of the buildings to form six apartments. The Gothic style Chapel was once said to be highly significant for its internal features, the Lady Chapel screen and gallery, decorative wagon roof and two original stained glass windows. All of the buildings on the site are within the Malvern Link Conservation area.
Despite numerous planning applications for work on the site, little appears to have been done by the owner to preserve or develop the site, despite the efforts of the planning authority and the Civic Society. Of the applications since 2011, 10 have been approved, 3 have been partially approved, 5 have approval pending and just 2 have been refused outright. It is understood that the developer’s activities, or lack of them, on this site may attract planning enforcement proceedings by Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC).
Malvernbury is an important site in the history of Malvern because the original building was a facility for patients to take the the water treatment from the famous Malvern springs and for its association with Florence Nightingale. The original building (1854) was replaced by the current building dating from 1907, designed in an Arts and Crafts style. It had a number of functions through the 20th century including a private residence, a school and finally a nursing home. The building is not listed but is located in Great Malvern Conservation Area.
A planning application in December 2009 sought to convert Malvernbury into 8 apartments, with a new build block of 3 town houses and coach house. The building was vacant for some time before and after being sold. It was unprotected, became derelict and vandalised. In more recent times, a new Owner/Developer eventually started work on site but has consistently appeared to have minimal regard for the approved Planning Permissions. Many features of the Arts and Crafts house appear to have been lost.
Throughout the whole of this period the MalvernCivic Society Planning Sub Committee have monitored work on the site on our monthly agenda and concerns been raised at liaison meetings with MHDC. Of the planning applications since 2014, 2 have been approved, 2 have been partially approved and 3 have been refused outright. No approvals are presently pending. It is understood that the developer’s activities on this site may attract planning enforcement proceedings by MHDC
10-12, Priory Road
Since November 2016 this site has been subject to two almost identical planning applications. Both stimulated widespread opposition. 16/01645 dated November 2016 was for replacement of no. 12, refurbishment and extension of no. 10 and development of a new 6 bed apartment block; the application was refused. 17/00999 dated July 2017 was near identical except that the block was for 4 apartments (on 2 floors instead of 3); the application was approved. The developers then appealed the earlier application decision; the inspector dismissed the appeal.
Controversially, in his report the Inspector, while confirming the reasons for dismissing the appeal, identified emergent grounds evident in both applications which in themselves would have given good cause for rejection of both applications. MCS called for reconsideration of the approved second application by MHDC planners. MHDC rejected the call. Consequently the developer has an unpopular approval of the application for development of this prominent site adjacent to Priory Park
Former Community Hospital
In our original response to Planning Application 16/01233/FUL, Malvern Civic Society noted that “The Hospital Building makes a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the [Great Malvern] Conservation Area”. We understand that this observation is uncontested. Malvern Civic Society contends that the developer has not sufficiently recognised the wider significance of the former hospital as a locally cherished heritage asset, and we reiterate our strong opposition to its demolition.
We consider that the current building can be readily adapted internally (preferably to create residential units) with the exterior remaining unaltered or with a well-designed modest extension. Planning officers recognise that the design is “very different to preferred local opinion”. Also officers offered, in our opinion, a half-hearted comment that the proposed design would “not sit uncomfortably when viewed against the surrounding development.”
The response is not a resounding accolade of the proposed design. This view was presumably also accepted by the Council when the officers’ recommendation to approve the application was strongly rejected. Malvern Civic Society submits that a wider historical issue is that the Hospital was given to the people of Malvern by the revered local benefactor Charles Dyson-Perrins – preservation of the Hospital facade would be a fitting, visible memorial to his generosity and his love of Malvern. As such, preservation is integral to maintaining the character of this area of Malvern and the historic record of its former famous resident. The Developer has appealed the rejection by the MHDC of this application. The Planning Inspector’s decision of the appeal is unlikely before mid- May.
Graham Myatt 29/03/18