Shropshire Star

'Contemporary and attractive': Inspector supports plan to replace run-down Shrewsbury boathouse

A run-down Shrewsbury boathouse is set to be replaced by a modern two-storey structure after planning inspectors overturned a council's decision to refuse permission.

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The scheme to replace the brick-built garage on the riverside at Water Lane, between Welsh Bridge and Porthill Bridge, will go ahead after government inspectors disagreed with Shropshire Council planners that the new two-storey building would harm the town’s conservation area.

Applicant Mr J Owen had applied for permission in 2023, but was told by council planners in April that the roof design of the replacement building would “significantly detract from the character and setting of the locality”.

The development will involve replacing the existing brick-built building with a modern structure with boat storage on the ground floor, and a training room, gym, toilets and changing rooms above.

Shropshire Council’s planning officers had called for a “reduced scale of development”, objecting in particular to the angled roof-line, which they said would detract from the Quarry park across the river.

“The proposed site sits within a sensitive location and it is considered the scale of development and the proposed design, specifically the roof design, will significantly detract from the character and setting of the locality, resulting in a visually dominant built form of development,” said the planning officer’s report.

During the consultation period, two members of the public had expressed support, with one describing the existing setting as a “disgrace” which was in need of improvement.

The proposal had also attracted 12 objections from the public, and Shrewsbury Town Council had lodged an objection on the grounds of over-development. In addition, the owners of the Sabrina pleasure boat said the launch for the boathouse would be directly in the path of their vessels when using Victoria Quay opposite.

However, on appeal, government planning inspector Tamsin Law said that although the replacement structure would feature a “contemporary, triangular roof design” it would not look out of place on the river next to the existing Theatre Severn and Shrewsbury Colleges buildings along the bank.

“These buildings have a contemporary design and utilise interesting roof designs and materials that contrast positively with the more historic buildings nearby,” she said.

“Far from being a visually intrusive and discordant feature, the proposed development would be a clearly contemporary and attractive development.

“Whilst it would be visible from the public domain, and from within the [Quarry] Park, and whilst there would be occasional longer views of it, given the character of the context of the area this would not be inappropriate.

“The size, scale, design, and appearance of the proposal is an appropriate high-quality design response, in proportion with its surroundings,” she added.