Home plan rejected by council to protect trees

Plans to redevelop a former care home housed in a 152-year-old building have been refused, after council officers ruled they would make the site too crowded and require the removal of protected trees.

Roden Hall, Roden, was originally built in 1868, and housed private nursing accommodation for most of the past 30 years.
Roden Hall, Roden, was originally built in 1868, and housed private nursing accommodation for most of the past 30 years.

Rotherwood Group Ltd applied to demolish some 20th-century extensions at Roden Hall, Roden, convert it into seven flats and build 12 new bungalows on its grounds.

A statement, submitted on behalf of the Leicestershire-based company, said the homes would be restricted to residents over 55 and argued “there is a rural need for housing, with no current opportunity to downsize” in the area.

Ercall Magna Parish Council said it supported converting the main building into homes, but the density of the proposed new houses was “too great” and the plans would require protected trees to be felled. Telford & Wrekin Council’s planning department agreed, refusing permission.

A council report said Roden Hall, on Roden Lane, was built in 1868 as a convalescence home for mill workers and became private nursing accommodation approximately 30 years ago.

A design statement, submitted by planning agent Mathew Humby of Ritchie and Ritche LLP on behalf of Rotherwood Group director John Fennell, said the main building no longer operated as a care home as residents had moved to a larger, new building at the northwest of the site.

He said extensions “of poor architectural merit” were added to the original Roden Hall in 1964 and 1984, and the plans included partial demolition of these and converting what remained seven apartments.

“The proposals seek to make the alterations to Roden Hall to maintain the original Victorian house as this is the most architecturally pleasing element,” Mr Humby wrote.

Costly

“These works will be very costly with the alterations needing to be sympathetic to the current building.

“The proposals, therefore, will also seek to erect 12 semi-detached bungalows to the south and east of the existing building within the grounds of the development.”

The sale of these would “generate instant revenue to facilitate the alterations” and “allow for the retention of control over the visual amenity of the site”, he added.

A council report, explaining its decision to turn down the bid, said Ercall Magna Parish Council recognising the need for specialist housing but thought “the density of the new buildings is too great for the site in question and would require the destruction of over a third of the 43 trees currently in situ”, including nine that are protected by tree preservation orders.

Built heritage conservation officers objected, saying they had “no principle objection” to demolishing the modern extensions, but “development overall would harm the historic legibility and setting of Roden Hall”. Arboriculture officers also objected.

Telford and Wrekin Council’s decision notice explains that its reasons for refusal include potential “detrimental impact and harm” on the appearance and setting of Roden Hall, the “inappropriate scale” of the proposal which would “overdevelop” the site and create privacy issues between the proposed homes and the “significant amenity value” of the trees on the three-and-a-half-acre site.

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