New applications – a Planning Application and an application for Listed Building Consent were submitted to Wiltshire Council in recent days.
This revised application seeks approval to convert the ‘Former school building and conversion and extension of outbuildings to provide residential (Class C3) and Commercial (Use Class E) floorspace’, whilst the original application submitted in late 2019 was quite different, specifying that it was to be converted to ‘a 23 bedroom hotel with restaurant and bar’.
It would appear that the major differences relate to the main (Grade II listed) block of the former school, rather than to the approved separate residential units behind.
Below are the two key ‘Description of the Proposal’ sections from the latest application and from the original late 2019 proposal:
What does this really mean? In summary, no hotel or restaurant, but more ‘affordable residential’ development (with, as one cynical ‘wag’ suggested spaces for ‘affordable Ferraris’ round the back!).
BNP Paribas, who compiled the latest ‘Design and Access Statement’ on behalf of developers Sherbourne Estates Ltd., stated in section 1.14 that: ‘the Site has been openly marketed for a hotel occupier for 6 months by BNP Paribas Real Estate on EGPL and Realla. The Site was also marketed prior to that for over a year to other agents and hotel operators.‘
The Statement goes on to claim:
“During 2019, and pre-COVID, there was initial interest from at least 5 known operators, as Marlborough was seen to have an inadequate supply of hotel bedrooms, particularly quality boutique hotel and fine dining accommodation. However, the open marketing campaign during the past six months has generated very little interest at all and what little interest there has been has been from other developers, or their representatives, wanting to carry out a residential scheme. The overriding issue has been the high cost of renovating and fitting out the existing building. This is in addition to the opening in December 2019 of a 69 bedroom Premier Inn on the edge of Marlborough, which has significantly added to the town’s existing supply of hotel rooms. Accordingly, prospective hotelier demand in locations such as Marlborough is far more focused on existing hotels which are typically priced at wide discounts to their estimated replacement cost. The fact is that creating a small, new boutique hotel from a Listed building, formerly in a different use, is inefficient and prohibitively expensive”.
In summary, Sherbourne claim that because of lack of interest in development of a hotel, which would be too ‘prohibitively expensive’ it’s going to be a mix of residential and some commercial, to ‘cater for small and medium sized businesses. ‘
Overall, if approved, the site will be split to comprise eight commercial suites, three flats and four maisonettes, split between 1,451.3 sqm. for residential and 669 sqm. for commercial.
What type of housing – what is ‘Affordable?
From the ‘Affordable Housing Viability assessment produced by PNP Paribas as part of this latest application, we may expect to see a two bedroom apartment – of 1,023 sq ft area – marketed at in excess of £522,500. This section of their table of pricing, included as part of the application is shown below:
Marlborough.news have approached Sherbourne Developments Ltd for comment, to date no response has been forthcoming.
One question already being asked is about the state of the boarded up old listed (Grade II) building itself. Unused for years, how much of it has already deteriorated, and to what degree? Contrary to Listed Building legislation it has, or would appear to have been allowed to deteriorate. Is it likely to soon appear on a site such as www.savebritainsheritage.org, the website of one organisation dedicated to ensuring that Britain’s key buildings, part of our heritage are kept for us and future generations. If it’s that bad the next application might be to demolish and rebuild? But who knows?
To view the earlier – December 2019 Planning Application for the St Peter’s Development on the Wiltshire Council site click here – 19/10631/FUL. For the Listed Building Consent application – 19/11249/LBC.