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Agenda item

21/00652/FUL - The Maltings, Station Street, Tewkesbury

PROPOSAL: Replacement of existing timber window units with UPVC double glazed units throughout the building.

 

OFFICER RECOMMENDATION: Permit.

Minutes:

48.40        This application was for replacement of existing timber window units with UPVC double glazed units throughout the building.

48.41        The Development Management Team Leader (North) advised that this was a full planning application for The Maltings, a residential building for people aged 55 and over which comprised apartments located on Station Street in Tewkesbury.  The building was a modern design on the site of an earlier building known as the Dowty Engineering Works and was situated outside of the Conservation Area.  The proposal was to replace the current modern, timber-framed windows with UPVC double-glazed windows and to replace the front door with an aluminium automated communal door.  The colour of the frames would match the existing windows which were finished in black.  A Committee determination was required as Tewkesbury Town Council had objected to the proposal on the grounds that the change from curved headed windows to rectangular windows in some of the openings would have an adverse impact on the Conservation Area and would dilute the design of the original building.  Whilst those concerns had been considered, it was the Officer view that the proposal did not harm the Conservation Area and the windows were of an appropriate design, as outlined in the Committee report, therefore, it was recommended that the application be permitted.

48.42        The Chair invited the representative from the Town Council to address the Committee.  The Town Council representative advised that, in 1986, an engraved trowel was presented to the Town Mayor to celebrate the topping out of The Maltings; that marked a significant milestone in the 1980’s regeneration of Tewkesbury; the earlier Bishop’s Walk development demonstrated that you imposed modern architecture on the streetscape of Tewkesbury at your peril.  Postmodernism allowed for the creation of new buildings that made clear reference to the heritage context in which they were sited, just like The Maltings.  Occupying the footprint of the former Dowty Engineering works, it echoed its predecessor in its massing, use of traditional building materials and deployment of design elements that were common to Victorian industrial buildings; it was a building of its time and contributed to, rather than detracted from, its environment.  Currently, as the Spring Gardens site next door remained undeveloped, The Maltings occupied a very visible, dominant position just outside the boundary of the Conservation Area.  Unlike many postmodern buildings, it was relatively restrained in its use of historical details.  Tewkesbury Town Council’s Planning Committee considered that, without its intermittent groups of arched windows it would still be a dominant building but its contribution to the townscape would be so much less positive.  Spring Gardens was identified as a key site in the Tewkesbury Town Regeneration Supplementary Planning Document which talked about modern architecture designed to respect a historic setting – The Maltings did exactly that.  The Supplementary Planning Document encouraged maximising Tewkesbury’s unique assets, building on the quality of the town and delivering regeneration options to make it a better place to live, work and visit so the Town Council questioned why the appearance of the building next door to this key site, and on the boundary of the Conservation Area, should be allowed to be changed in such a manner.  The Town Council appreciated that residents of The Maltings had a right to be warm and comfortable in their homes and it did not object to the proposed change of material but the Town Council representative urged Members to think very carefully before letting go of this key element of The Maltings’ postmodern character.

48.43        The Chair indicated that the Officer recommendation was to permit the application and he sought a motion from the floor.  A Member expressed the view that it would be very sad to lose the arched window design which she assumed was due to cost as arch windows with double-glazing and UPVC frames were available.  She felt that the applicant should be encouraged to retain the original design which was important to the streetscape.  A brief debate ensued as to how many windows would be replaced in total and attention was drawn to the existing and proposed elevation plans at Pages No. 149-150 of the Committee report with the Development Management Team Leader (North) pointing out that the arched windows were in the protruding bays featured at first and second floor levels.  Another Member the expressed view that the proposal would fundamentally change the character of the building and he strongly believed the arched windows should be retained for architectural purposes.  This view was supported by another Member who felt that destroying some of the character of this extremely prominent building was not a good idea.  It was subsequently proposed and seconded that the application be refused due to the adverse impact on the Conservation Area and the character of the building.  A Member agreed that it was a unique building and he would like to see the arched windows retained as they were an important feature but he asked whether it would be appropriate to defer the application in order to negotiate further with the applicant.  The proposer of the motion to refuse the application wished it to be noted that, in her opinion, the proposal would result in an abominably awful modern change to Tewkesbury and to do that to a building that had been designed and built with respect to the surrounding area would be outrageous.

48.44        Upon being taken to the vote, it was

RESOLVED           That the application be REFUSED due to the adverse impact on the Conservation Area and the character of the building.

 

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