Home Headlines UPDATED: Revised ‘Allied Carpets’ Proposal Rejected Despite Recommendation From Planning Officer

UPDATED: Revised ‘Allied Carpets’ Proposal Rejected Despite Recommendation From Planning Officer

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Allied Carpets - West Orchard House

In an unexpected move, city Councillors have rejected the revised proposal for the development of the former Allied Carpets building on Corporation Street.  As detailed in our original article below, the planning officer had recommended that the proposal be approved, despite objections from both the city’s Conservation Officer and Urban Designer.

The proposal was nevertheless rejected by the planning committee, and developers will be ordered to construct the walkway.  Work on the scheme has already started and it is not known if the developers will seek to appeal the decision to the Secretary of State or if they will resubmit a revised application.

Planning officers have recommended that a revised proposal for the redevelopment of the former Allied Carpets building be approved, despite the removal of both the pedestrian walkway linking Belgrade Plaza to Smithford Way and the retail frontages along Corporation Street.

The original proposal was granted planning consent in September 2015.  It was a mixed use proposal comprising of retail and student facilities at ground floor and 91 student bedrooms to the upper floors.

The key revisions to the previous scheme are the removal of retail units fronting Corporation Street and replacement with a student gym – including the removal of the public seating areas, and the removal of the pedestrian link from Corporation Street to Smithford Way.

The changes are labelled ‘unfortunate’ in the report, however the planning officer states in their conclusion;

“..having regard to the pattern of existing development in the area, representations received and relevant provisions of the development plan, it is, on balance, considered that subject to compliance with the conditions attached to this permission, the proposed development would be in accordance with the development plan.”

A number of objections to the revised scheme were received from the public, and these concerns were echoed by the council’s Urban Designer, as referenced in the report:

“The City Council’s Urban Designer indicates that it is extremely regrettable that the proposed walkway at ground floor has been removed from the proposal. We were very keen to see the walkway implemented as it would have vastly improved legibility and connectivity between the shopping core and Belgrade Plaza. The walkway would have provided a clear, safe and direct route and would have linked up to the new zebra crossing on Corporation Street that was put in as part of the recently completed multi-million pound Belgrade Plaza public realm scheme. The applicants were involved during the design stage and the location of the crossing was based on the walkway going in. If the intention to remove the walkway from the proposals was known then the zebra crossing would have been positioned differently to pick up on the existing links under Hillman House. Although this would have been a less preferable option as the current links are narrow and gloomy and are not really on the pedestrian desire line.”

The views were reiterated by the city council’s Conservation Officer:

“The replacement of the shop unit with a gym will mean that the new Belgrade Square will lose its active frontage on the south side and damage the vibrancy of the street by denying the opportunity to enhance the square and the setting of the listed theatre.”

The report will now go before the council’s planning committee.

Work on the scheme is already underway and will be completed in time for the 2017/18 academic year.

The full report:

Allied Carpets Planning Officer Report

 

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