In each of its meetings the Planning Sub Committee (PSC) meetings reviews all live applications in the Malvern urban areas.
Since our July meeting, 17 or so of the previously ‘live’ applications in the Malvern urban area have been approved by the Malvern Hills District Council, 3 have been refused or withdrawn. There were 29 ‘brought forward’ applications and 5 new ones, all of which we reviewed in varying degrees of detail. We discussed the following two applications in the greatest detail.
17/00686 /FUL Miller Tyre Service – Edith Walk.
The planning application is for development of the site off Edith Walk which was formerly used by Miller Tyre Service. The proposal is to demolish the existing buildings, which are in the Great Malvern conservation area, and replace by new buildings containing two commercial units and two small flats.
PCS consider that the existing buildings appear to have neither architectural merit nor historical value and, disappointingly, the proposed replacements appear to have no obvious architectural merit either.
So far as the South Worcestershire Development Plan 21A is concerned, a development in a conservation area “will need to integrate effectively with its surroundings in terms of form and function”, and “enhance the overall quality of the built environment”. This planning requirement appears to have been narrowly met in terms of form and function for this back-land development in the town centre. However, even demolition and clearance could itself be seen as an environmental quality improvement for this unattractive run-down site.
PCS reluctantly support approval of the planning application but suggest that, surely, this site deserves a more eye pleasing development than that proposed.
17/00999/FUL 10-12 Priory Road
On 21 August the MHDC Southern Area Planning Committee considered the planning application for the site next to ‘The Splash’ on Priory Road. The application proposes construction of a new apartment building together with the demolition and replacement of 12 Priory Road and refurbishment and extension of 10 Priory Road.
This application follows the refusal of the previous scheme for the site (16/01654/FUL) on the grounds that the height and materials of the new apartment building then proposed would have had a harmful impact upon the character and appearance of the Great Malvern Conservation Area. Specifically, it was decided that the new building would have restricted the views from within Priory Park and thus create a sense of enclosure to what is currently an open area. The previous application appeared to have not considered any evidence that could support a recommendation to refuse on evidence of architectural, heritage and environmental grounds submitted by MCS, English Heritage, the Victorian Society and local people. These latter grounds could well have been sufficient by themselves to persuade refusal but, for reasons that are not clear to the author of this report were not then brought forward to be tested in debate.
The new application satisfactorily addressed the height problem posed by the new building. It now seems unfortunate that because the architectural, heritage and other reasons were not considered as reasons for refusal at the time of the former application they could not now be raised at the occasion for decision of this application.
As proposed by the Priory Ward councillors, this application was approved by a majority vote of the MHDC committee.
Graham Myatt August 2017