12:20pm Tuesday 10th September 2013
By Emma Rigby
PLANS to transform a former Northwich art college into 23 luxury apartments have been submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC).
London Road Studios was used as Mid Cheshire College’s arts department until last August but was sold to Kerriline Developments Ltd in June, with both its former owners and part-time tenants, the London Road Collective (LRC), hoping developers would retain its ‘heritage features’.
The LRC took occupancy of the studios in October 2012 to begin a six-month project with the support of the college, showcasing how the building could be used as an arts venue.
Following the submission of the plans, Carolyn Shepherd, founder of the LRC, said: “Conversion to housing is an unimaginative proposal for this unique asset and is a missed opportunity to develop a stunning venue for leisure, culture and tourism in Northwich.”
If approved, the plans will see the college turned into 12 one bedroom apartments, 10 two bedroom apartments and one three bedroom apartment.
In its planning statement, Coda Studios Ltd, on behalf of Kerriline Developments Ltd, says: “The redevelopment will bring use to a currently vacant building situated within a highly residential area.
“The existing college building is no longer fit for purpose and sits in conflict to the residential nature of the area.
“Since the external appearance is remaining untouched the development is well grounded in the context of the area.
“The removal of the educational use will create a better level of amenity for the local residents.
“The site offers a unique opportunity to increase the diversity of housing stock to the area with the provision of a bespoke and well designed eco-friendly development.”
The statement also says the scheme has been designed to provide ‘significant benefits to the community’ in by providing high quality housing and the sustainable development of a brownfield site.
Despite 21 car parking spaces and 23 bike spaces being included in the scheme, nearby resident Pamela Lang fears limited parking spaces may create ‘competition’ and ‘tension’.
Pamela wrote on CWAC’s planning website: “While we support the application in principle – we would rather see it being used rather than being left to go into disrepair – we do have concerns at the number of flats proposed.
“We are particularly concerned about the number of parking places for the property and the additional volume of traffic that this will add to The Crescent.
“This will inevitably impact upon the practicalities of parking and access at our own property as most households generally have more than one car.
“Potentially there could be 46 cars looking for parking spaces.
“That is not taking into consideration visitors.
“We feel, if there are limited parking spaces available, this may create competition, tension and generally discourage a friendly neighbourhood, which currently exists.”
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