At Monday (13 January) night’s meeting of the Town Council Planning Committee Councillors voted by a majority verdict to defer judgement on the application to develop the former school into a boutique hotel, restaurant and residential complex following concerns raised regarding parking, privacy, safety and tree policy. The decision will be made at the next meeting of the Planning Committee scheduled for Monday 3 February.
Whilst there was clear support for the development and proposals set out by Sherbourne Developments there were questions raised regarding the nuumber of parking spaces that the development will need for residents, visitors – and importantly staff – set against the loss of several (up to seven?) spaces from The Parade, and also about aspects of privacy for residents of Town Mill, where the rear windows of some of the proposed residential properties will look directly into those of Town Mill residents.
Kennet Place resident Val Compton expressed her concerns in a question to the meeting: “I support the development of a hotel on this site, BUT am alarmed, given the amount of available land, that parking provision is adequate, providing nothing for staff or casual diners.”
A resident of Town Mill raised the issue of privacy. Whilst a constraint was placed upon the former Rope Works development that made any south facing window (looking over Town Mill) ‘oblique’, this development as proposed showed “South facing windows looking directly into my bedroom. I object to it in its present form”.
Developer David Milligan of Sherbourne Developments was quite clear that the development was providing the statutory number of parking spaces required by planning regulations – that there must be one space per room available in the hotel and two per house. Mayor Mervyn Hall noted that whilst there were one space allocated for each hotel room, and two for each of the St Peter’s Mews houses, there were “no spaces for staff and no spaces for restaurant customers”, adding that “there was no sustainable transport in Marlborough after 6.30pm” which meant that any member of staff living beyond walking distance would need a space to park.
Councillor Andy Wilson suggested that the developers needed to listen to the community and “take away and re-evaluate” the proposal.
Councillors resolved by a majority to defer any decision until February’s meeting ‘to enable Councillors a chance to discuss issues raised by the local community with the developers and attend a site visit’
The resolution agreed by Councillors noted that the following issues require discussion at a site visit:
- Lack of adequate on-site parking which will impact availability of parking spaces in The Parade
- Safety around access and exit from the site
- Concerns raised about privacy for residents in neighbouring properties at, for example, Town Mill
- Flooding issues
- Identification of trees to be protected as well as those to be felled and for what reason