The site of the former Bull and Monkie pub in Churchgate, Spalding

Decision on 88 bed care home deferred amid calls to make it smaller

An application to build an 88 bed care home on the site of the former Bull and Monkie pub in Spalding has been deferred.

South Holland District Council Planning Committee members spoke at its meeting last night about issues with the application particularly the four storey height of it.

Planning officers acknowledged the development would have a ‘serious impact’ on the surrounding area but argued it was ‘wholly exceptional’ enough to warrant granting permission.

Officer Greg Watkinson also highlighted that the applicant had an extensive consultation process with the council and was similar to a previous, three storey application that was passed in 2012.

“It’s true the building would be higher than adjacent properties with the exception of the church, however four storey properties are not alien to the conservation area.

“It’s obvious a structure that’s a storey higher than others would lead to some loss of the view of the church.

“However the southern wing of the building is substantially stepped down, feathering the impact. The impact on views compared to the application permitted in 2012 should not be particularly great.”

The Spalding Civic Society objected to the proposals from the outset and its chair John Bland spoke against the application.

“The openness of the area is entirely typical of the east bank of the river and what makes it special,” he said. “The special nature would be ruined.

“The scale will dominate the area, reducing the many Georgian buildings to insignificance.”

Other concerns raised by councillors included there only being 13 parking spaces while to make it policy compliant there would need to be 30.

Coun Paul Redgate raised the possibility for a deferment: “This is positive and a site we’ve had a problem with for a long time and someone wants to do something with it.

“It’s not up to us to decide if a business is viable in that area.

“I am concerned about the size and scale

“I appreciate the developer has had discussions with the council and I seriously don’t want to see the loss of what could be a positive impact on the town.

“There’s an opportunity to do something more sustainable for the town.

“We need to look at the design and scale. Is there the opportunity to take it down to three storeys?”

Coun Gary Taylor said the people in Spalding ‘should have expected better than this’.

But some councillors argued  the committee needed to be realistic.

“The difference between a third and fourth storey wouldn’t make much difference,” said Coun Bryan Alcock referencing previously agreed three storey planning applications for the site and buildings that historically, he said, reduced the view of the church.

“We’ve got to accept that at some stage something has got to be built on that site,” he said. “If we believe we’re going to accommodate on site parking for occupants and users for whatever the purpose is, we’re kidding ourselves.

“There isn’t sufficient space to accommodate all that parking and develop a viable development. There has to be some compromises.

“I think the applicants have attempted to make the best of a very difficult site to develop, though I do take the point that probably improvements could be made.

“We need to approach any further consultation with a realistic expectation.”

Nafisa Saffar for RD Architects spoke in favour of the application: “It’s for the pressing needs for specialist accommodation for older individuals who can no longer live independently.

“Through thorough consultation with the council officers we’ve developed a proposal that will provide a high quality care home.

“It will seamlessly integrate into the fabric of the community and surrounding.

“Our design proposes a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity.

“We aim to create a structure that respects the surroundings.

“It will become a cornerstone of the community while being commercially viable to ensure its delivery.”

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