Planning Comments submitted October 23 2015

B/15/01442/   Conversion of Victoria Hall and Conservative Club to provide 8 self contained flats.
We are extremely pleased to see these proposals to convert this whole complex but we do have serious concerns about them. Both these buildings are Locally Listed but there is a third one, similarly listed, the workshop, which under this application is to be demolished despite its great historical interest for the town. There are no proposals for the space created by its demolition – was part retention considered or is the space to be offered to the adjoining owners?
We appreciate that conversion of these two buildings to dwellings presents enormous difficulties but there is no evidence that an architect’s design and planning skills have been employed. In fact we found the plans particularly difficult to follow and would have appreciated an illustrative description of the strategy employed.
We would in fact recommend that this application be withdrawn and a good, imaginative architect be employed and that our concerns set out here are addressed:
1   that the architectural and historical features of the two buildings are properly respected, and retained, prime amongst these being the gable frontage of Victoria Hall with its triple windows and both signs; the fine oriel windows to the New Street frontage of the Conservative Club and  the chimneys to the latter. Clear and complete elevations of both frontages as proposed would be helpful.
2   that the internal planning of the flats in both buildings is 3   details of new windows and doors, materials and subdivision.
4   resolution of ground floor openings and internal floor levels to Victoria Hall and details of what is to be retained or demolished at the north east corner of the Conservative Club.
5   visitors’ parking is identified but not that for residents.