Planning Sub Committee – July 2017

Planning Sub Committee – July 2017

In each of its meetings the Planning Sub Committee (PSC) meetings reviews all live applications in the Malvern urban areas.

Since our June meeting, 9 of the previously ‘live’ applications in the Malvern urban area have been approved by the Malvern Hills District Council, 6 have been refused. There were 29 or so ‘brought forward’ applications and over 20 new ones, all of which we reviewed in varying degrees of detail. We discussed the following three planning issues in the greatest detail.

Morgan Court Application – 17/01085/FUL

This is a prominent modern building in the Malvern Link Conservation area where the owners now have maintenance problems with their wooden windows and doors and now propose to replace all with uPVC units. Justification of the proposals is that they should reduce future on-going maintenance costs and to improve the thermal efficiency of the buildings. The MHDC Trinity Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Strategy 2009 clearly notes in respect of building development that :“Window and door openings should preserve the original form so far as is possible. The conservation area is fortunate to so far have avoided the insertion of too many unsympathetic modern window forms. Replacement with uPVC and similar materials should be avoided wherever possible and the use of sympathetic materials encouraged.” It is difficult to accept that wooden frames of doors and windows cannot be procured from woods that will last decades longer than those originally installed in Morgan Court. Installation of uPVC units will inevitably degrade the character and appearance of the Conservation area, particularly so because of the frontage presented by the Court on to the main artery through the Town of the A449 Worcester Road. The Developer’s assurances that “design will follow closely to the existing design” and “will match the current arrangements in order to minimise any impact on the appearance of the facades” are unachievable with uPVC units. The PSC agreed that a recommendation of refusal should be submitted to MHDC.

10 – 12 Priory Road – Application 17/00999/FUL

Following refusal of the preceding proposed scheme, at this address, this new application appears to be identical except for reduction of height from three storeys to two storeys of one of the new buildings. The net effect of the difference is to improve the scenic views of the Severn Valley from Priory Park and reduce ‘overlooking’ of the park from the new buildings. We agreed with Historic England who have objected to the demolition of the Stables/coach house on the site and recommended its conversion and retention instead. Historic England had also offered to engage in discussions with the applicant about proposed new build elements on the site and their impact on the conservation area. We welcomed this offer. Malvern Civic Society concurs with the representations of Historic England and the Victorian Society and their objections to the proposals in this planning application. Malvern Civic Society urges Malvern Hills District Council to refuse the application whilst also encouraging the applicant to take up Historic England’s most helpful offer.

Malvern former Community Hospital and Article 4 Direction

The most recent plan for development of the old hospital was refused by the MHDC Southern Area Planning Committee on the principal ground that its “demolition and replacement with a 46 bed care home as proposed would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Great Malvern Conservation Area and would have a significant adverse impact upon the historic environment”. PSC were one of the objectors who applauded this decision. The PSC considered what we, and the developers (Montpelier) and the Health Authority might do next, since all will certainly still wish to see the site developed in some fitting way.

Montpelier might appeal the recent decision, in which case PSC should wait and see the appeal grounds.

PSC could write to the Health Authority urging consideration of possible overtures by other interested parties to retain the present fabric (and appearance of the old hospital) in a future development. MCS Chairman Clive Hooper plans to do this.

PSC should consider lobbying MHDC for an Article 4 Direction to safeguard the hospital fabric.

Implementation of Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 by MHDC would give protection against harmful development to buildings like the old hospital which do not have listed building protection.

Graham Myatt July 2017