Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Thin End of the Westgate Wedge?

I've been out this morning taking a straw poll of residents and traders in Westgate in regard to a planning application by DJ Ellis Construction to change what is now his goods yard adjacent to Station Road and the railway platform to four blocks of two storey office buildings.

The area involved is cleared illustrated in my aerial photograph as the green area to the right of the train (click the photo to expand it) and it looks to be around 10 metres wide at best.

This is of course a central part of the Westgate conservation area and a development of this nature would make a fundamental change to the look and feel of the town. While I accept that this tiny strip of land wedged between the public toilets and the garden centre could be tidier, I'm reluctant to see yet one more precedent set for quick construction on such a small plot and I'm equally surprised to read of a perceived need for office space as we plunge into the deepest recession since before the last War.

Listening to the views of residents and other ward councillors I have now referred the matter to the planning committee for debate. The application is F/TH/08/1393 should local residents wish to express their own views on the subject.

Update - 19th December

I met with Mr Ellis this morning and we discussed the proposed development while I had the benefit of looking at the plans. He stressed that the proposal involves retail space rather than office space but that there is no distinction made between the two uses when submitting an application.

In principle, I have no objection to a new development of an unsightly space beside the railway, which is sympathetic to the traditional covered look and feel of Station Road and which adds more shopping space and choice to Westgate but if any residents wish to express an opinion please email or write to me directly or let Cllr King or Cllr Goodwin know.


Michael Child said...

Simon I couldn’t find it on the council’s planning website, I know that it’s about now that TDC intend to move their planning applications from the UKPlanning website to their own and wonder if I am just missing it or if it isn’t on the web.

DrMoores said...

Mr Ellis has very kindly invited me along to view the plans which of course I would like to discuss with him.

Major said...

Thankyou Simon for getting on top of this.

It is a well known and successful ploy of developers to allow land or buildings to become run down and then put in for planning on the basis that whatever is planned, no matter how inappropriate, will be seen as an improvement to what is there already.

Michael Child said...

The application reference is F/TH/08/1393 click here to go to the planning website and use the search box.

The planning department received the plans on 24th November and it has take until now for it to appear in the planning website, nearly a month and as the application expires on 19th January the timing really isn’t good enough.

If anyone has a problem viewing the plans let me know and I will publish them on ordinary web pages.

Anonymous said...

I'd already seen this in my weekly tour of planning applications.

I think it's an OK development. It's not great, but it Ok and could be an improvement. However, i fail to see who would rent such shops or offices in the current economic climate.