Shropshire Star

Inappropriate' flats plan rejected by council

Plans to convert a building into two town-centre flats have been refused for a second time over fears the properties would result in an ‘inappropriate form of development’.

The flats were proposed for 30 Market Street in Oakengates. Picture: Google Maps

The proposal was to convert the ground and first floor of 30 Market Street in Oakengates into two studio apartments.

A previous planning application to build four terraced flats on the site – including an extension – was refused last year.

Applicant Ben Locke, from Locke & Locke, said that the reduced plans for two flats addressed the reasons for refusal of the previous plan.

Mr Locke said that reducing the proposed number of flats would increase amenity space. The remaining open space would be landscaped with shrubs and hard surfacing.

A reason for previous refusal was that insufficient information had been submitted to prove that the flats would have ‘adequate natural light’.

The applicant said that windows had been designed to ensure ‘ample’ amounts of natural light within the units.

Mr Locke added that additional windows had been added to the plans and Velux rooflights have been introduced to increase light into the first floor flat and staircase.

“I purchased the building in question in April 2022 in a somewhat distressed state of repair and have submitted several planning applications with a view to improving the site and replacing the dilapidated accommodation within with a far higher standard to create a better standard of living for both the occupiers and neighbours,” said the applicant.

“I believe the revised scheme addresses the issues raised will regenerate a previously poorly used ‘yard’ area, turning this into high quality housing.”

Mr Locke said that he has installed an electric bar gate to allow access for construction purposes. This will be replaced with fixed bollards on completion of construction work.

However, the application was rejected by a council planning officer as they said it was an ‘inappropriate form of development’.

“The proposal would result in a cramped form of development which constitutes an overdevelopment of the site which would be out of character for the prevailing form of development within the immediate locality,” the planning officer said.

“Such a development would have a harmful impact upon the character and appearance of the area and would not constitute a sustainable form of development.”

The planning officer said that the proposed properties would have an ‘overbearing and detrimental’ impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties, including number 6 Oxford Street.

“The proposal would also result in the loss of servicing area for a vacant commercial property,” added the planning officer.

The plans were also criticised as resulting in an ‘unattractive space for future residents by virtue of an unacceptable residential amenity space and the proximity of bin storage’.

The planning officer also said that ‘insufficient information’ had been submitted to demonstrate that the proposed flats would have ‘adequate’ natural light.

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