Shropshire Star

'Soviet style' Whitchurch flats development plan is thrown out as appeal is rejected

A decision to refuse the development of nine flats above a Whitchurch shopping arcade has been upheld by Government inspectors.

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Plans to extend and redevelop the first floor of St Mary’s Arcade, at 13-17 High Street, into residential apartments and redevelop the shop units underneath were rejected by Shropshire Council’s planning department last year due to concerns about town centre parking and a loss of privacy for the building’s neighbours.

Applicant Russell Harrison lodged an appeal to the planning inspectorate in January, but the inspector agreed with the council’s initial decision – and added that the 'highly dominant' extension would harm the significance of the town’s conservation area.

A scheme to redevelop the building was first proposed in 2021, with plans for 17 flats withdrawn following council officer concerns about over-development of the site, which backs on to the Grade II listed Whitchurch Heritage Centre building.

The rear of a proposed development to 13-17 High Street, which backs onto St Mary's Street and the Grade II listed Whitchurch Heritage Centre (Google)

Proposed designs for the building had attracted nine objections from the public, with one town councillor comparing the proposed extension to a “1960’s Eastern European Soviet building” – although council planning officers said in their report the plans would represent an improvement on the existing 'unsightly' car park and storage yard.