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Planning

 

The Work of the Planning Sub Committee

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The Society's Planning Sub Committee (PSC) tries to encourage good planning design for all developments in the Malvern area. It meets on the last Wednesday in each month at the Great Malvern Hotel and reviews new planning applications made to Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC). We appraise the details of a selected few that have a particular significance because they are in a conservation area, relate to listed buildings or tree preservation orders or because they are likely to excite widespread community concern. 

 

PSC members assess applications for good design principles and compliance with local and national planning policies. A high proportion of applications are accepted without comment, as might be expected since they have already been vetted by the planning authority. We always try to involve experts in the Society who have professional expertise in this area. 

 

Occasionally, the PSC objects to an application. In such cases, the committee submits a comment (known as a"representation") to the council planning department recommending refusal. We have a good relationship with councillors and officers and our opinion is usually taken seriously. 

 

Our discussions are not confined to planning applications. We are concerned with anything which affects the town. I am grateful for the diligence of committee members and for the constructive debate we have had. It is a team effort. New members interested in discussing local planning matters will be always welcome. Please contact me by phone or by email

 

Planning Sub Committee - October 2017 

 

Since the PSC September meeting, 22 or so of the previously ‘live’ applications in the Malvern urban area have been approved by the Malvern Hills District Council, with one refusal. There were 26 'brought forward’ applications and 11 new ones, all of which we reviewed in varying degrees of detail. In our opinion two of the applications warranted response to the Planning Authority this month. Four matters were discussed in depth.

Presentation re. land at Malvern Technology Centre

We welcomed Johnny Kidney, who gave us a presentation on the plans for land that the private venture property development company Square Bay have purchased from Malvern Technology Centre. The site is identified for housing and commercial use in the South Worcestershire Development Plan under policy SWDP53. Square Bay are preparing a comprehensive master plan for the regeneration of the site with a mixed-use development of new employment space (in collaboration with QinetiQ), for extra-care retirement housing and new family homes (to be delivered by Persimmon Homes). The Care Home operator will be Barchester Healthcare. The total number of dwellings in two phases will be up to 320/330. Square Bay anticipate submitting planning applications in early 2018. They have offered us, as a local community group, a further opportunity to comment on details in their draft plans prior to submission of the planning applications.

Planning Application for 50 Wyche Road (Including 54, 56 & 58 Wyche Road)

This application proposes the demolition of the existing buildings and the erection of a block of twelve 2 bedroom apartments and two 3 bedroom penthouse apartments with off-street parking.This application is close to the crest of the Malvern Hills and falls within the area of Malvern Wells Parish Council and, as such, would not usually be reviewed by MCS. However, the site of this application is prominently visible from much of the Malvern urban area together with a wide area of the Severn Vale. In their submission to the Planning Authority that the application be refused, the parish council noted that the size and design of the proposed building will be unsympathetic to the area, detailing a number of other unacceptable proposal details. We share the the concern of Wells Parish Council and have submitted a recommendation for refusal to the planning authority. Our opinion is that the planning proposal does not comply with South Worcestershire Development Policies SWDP6, SWDP21 and SWDP24 as well as policy contained within the National Planning Policy Framework at paragraphs 17, 131, 132 and 134.

HER (Historic Environment Record).

PSC requested a summary of the work to date on the HER. Project. Louisa Davidson advised that she led the MCS Architecture Group in an Historic Record search for the Centre of Malvern in 2013-16. A total of about 2000 buildings constructed prior to 1919 were included in a survey project covering Great Malvern, Trinity and Malvern Link up to and including Richmond Road. The survey's text description of each building and its immediate surroundings was accompanied with a photograph of the building's publicly visible facade. To complete the survey, work would be needed on the remainder of Malvern Link and the whole of Barnards Green. This would require committed voluntary work by Society members, particularly members with architectural expertise, computer and data collection skills. Further consideration of the feasibility of project continuation was deferred until the November meeting. PSC agreed that an article be drafted to alert MCS members who could be interested in participating in this project. 

Planning Application No. 17/01085/FUL – Morgan Court, Worcester Road.

Proposals in this planning application for Morgan Court have been approved for replacement of existing doors and windows with uPVC materials. Morgan Court, being in the Malvern Link Conservation Area, is subject to building policies which require renovation and repair of buildings such that the appearance remains consistent with the character of the Area. In other words, windows and doors with traditional wooden or metal frames should be replaced with closely similar ones.

Now that the use of uPVC materials has been permitted, we are surprised that there is no planning condition to the effect that on visual inspection the design and colour of the replacement windows and doors should not detract from the historic character of the conservation area. Curiously, it appears that the Conservation Officer recommended refusal of the application but was overruled by the Planning officer using delegated powers. The Planning Officer justification was that the proposed use of PVC would result in a “less than substantial” change to the character of the building. We are seeking an explanation from the Planning Authority as to why uPVC appears to be being allowed in this case without the condition we suggest. There has been a number of recent examples where the Council has taken a very strict view on the use of uPVC.

 

Graham Myatt.

Chair of Planning Sub-Committee

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Malvern's Council House, once the home of one of the Doctors who promoted Malvern's Water Cure in the 19th Century, ©Malvern Civic Society/Kevin Brewer

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