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Historic Christchurch building to be demolished for sheltered housing
A HISTORIC building in the centre of Christchurch will be demolished to make way for sheltered flats for the elderly.
The Cornfactor building which is locally listed, will be torn down and replaced by a three-storey block of 26 apartments for elderly people and two retail units.
Despite pleas from a heritage representative and an effort by ward councillor Peter Hall to ensure the proposal from Renaissance Retirement Ltd was refused, the committee gave it the go-ahead.
Plans for the building, a former grain merchants at the rear of the High Street attracted 20 letters of objection and five letters of support.
Roger Street, chairman of Christchurch Conservation Trust raised four major concerns with the application – including the loss of the historical building - “one of only a handful of former industrial buildings still surviving in Christchurch”, the density, development mix and lack of on-site parking.
Cllr Peter Hall, pictured, town centre ward councillor called it “gross overdevelopment”.
He said: “In this 21st century we should be saving our heritage for future generations.”
But Cllr Claire Bath, vice-chairman of the planning committee said: “Changes have been made from the original development and they show a much more attractive building.
“I do not feel parking is an issue because lots of people live in the town without parking already.”
The developers, who pledged to use materials from the old structure in the rebuild, plan to give £207,048 towards off-site affordable housing, something else criticised by Cllr Hall, who said you couldn’t even buy a beach hut for that money.
But, after a vote to refuse failed, the committee approved the application 5-3.
Bob Taylor of Renaissance Retirement Ltd said: “We are delighted with this approval and anticipate the show complex be ready in May next year with the flats available during late summer 2014.”
Planning consultant Peter Tanner from Tanner & Tilley said: “We are very pleased that this important town centre site, that has remained vacant for more than 30 years, can now be developed.
“Working closely with Aspire Architects and Renaissance we have produced a scheme that will bring much-needed life back into this part of the town centre.
“It will deliver much needed elderly persons’ accommodation in a courtyard setting and provide an attractive pedestrian link between Druitt Gardens and the High Street.”
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