Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Second Tiverton House Public Meeting

There was a second meeting for local residents to discuss the latest situation with Tiverton House on Monday at St Thomas's Hall. All four ward councillors were present, as was the owner of Tiverton House. I was also present to learn from the experiences of the many residents who were present. A representative of the owner of the Perne Road shops site was also present.

Tiverton House
As Chris has explained in an earlier post, the current situation is that a planning application has been submitted for minor works (splitting the warden's house into two flats and adding extra cycle parking) but the bulk of the work in turning the building from a residential home to student accommodation, that has been proceeding apace, is not being submitted as a planning application.

We managed to tease out little by little some morsels of knowledge about the owner's plans so we now know more reliably that:
  • The owner has a verbal agreement with Anglia Ruskin University such that they will nominate student tenants to rent all of the flats in the block. The owner stressed that the university's policy of no student parking would apply.
  • There will be 96 bedrooms.
  • 37 rooms are being built on the second floor, i.e. in the roof, despite these not being visible on the plans accompanying the application.
The council's planning officer has suggested that the owner obtain a certificate of lawful use in order to satisfy residents' concerns about his development, but this would not be possible within the time before students are expected to take up residence in the new building.

Chris Howell suggested a petition for a development control forum so that residents might be able to have a chance to challenge the overall intensification of the whole site in advance of the planning application being decided.

The deadline for responding to the planning application is tomorrow, Thursday 6th August.

Perne Road/Radegund Road Shops
The owners of the shop buildings on the roundabout between Perne Road and Radegund Road were represented at the start of the meeting and showed a drawing of the complete redevelopment that they would like to do of the site. It is a larger and taller building and would mean the loss of the current style of building at the site.

The overwhelming concern is that action is needed as soon as possible because the site is currently a mess and attracts antisocial behaviour, but there is also some affection for the style and profile of the existing buildings and some concern about the extent of the proposed replacement.

The leaseholder of one of the shops does not want to move and has rejected a compensation package that was offered if they could move. There is another offer on the table and the owners of the site will know whether they can proceed with full redevelopment or will just refurbish at the end of September.

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