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Council approves flats through gritted teeth

Tue 26 January 2010, 9:28 am

Plans for a 14 million, 92-flat building at the former Ashbys Yard, on Wharf Road, were begrudgingly approved by borough councillors on Monday.

But they said the green light was only given because "their hands were tied behind their backs" and "they couldn't think of a legitimate planning reason to turn it down."(Sourced from thisiskent.)

Cllr David Cure told the meeting: "This is like a post-war tenement block in London, something they knocked up quickly after the Blitz. In fact, it reminds me of something in Eastern Europe."

His thoughts were echoed by Cllr Chris Smith who said: "It's really like a set of flats in Belarus.

"It seems we are going back to the housing tenements in 1810, not where we are in 2010.

"I would love to turn this down but I can't find a planning reason to do so and so my hands are tied behind my back."

"I am uncomfortable with the design. It's not attractive and it won't win any Prince Charles Design of the Year awards," added Cllr Nicolas Heslop.

The Town and Country Housing scheme will see 92 one-, two- and three-bed flats built on the land, next to the Munday industrial estate which is across the Gas Works Stream.

The building will be roughly V-shaped, with one arm of seven floors and the other of four. The ground floor will be for parking and 37 of the flats will be used for affordable housing.

Councillors also expressed worries about the proximity to the industrial estate and how, in future years, they would have to deal with noise complaints from residents.

They also said the internal design of the flats, with some bedrooms being next to a neighbouring flat's living room, was foolish.

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