The Gateacre Society's objection letter (contd)
5. When the previous application was submitted, we also objected to the proposed materials, which included 'Cor-ten steel' slabs. We suggested that they would give the building an unnecessarily 'industrial' character, and would potentially cause unsightly staining of adjacent surfaces. The Elevations drawing submitted with the current application does not appear to give any information about materials, and the application form merely states: "facing brickwork to ground floor … with traditionally dressed vertical sheet cladding above". We have no idea what such cladding will look like, but we very much doubt whether it will be 'traditional' enough to blend in with its surroundings.
6. In our 2006 submission we also objected to the inadequate level of parking provision which was proposed. The City Council's minimum standard for 'New Flats (Private)', according to UDP SPG Note 8, is 1.5 spaces per unit. We can only see a total of 30 car parking spaces marked on the submitted Site Plan, supposedly catering for a total of 27 residential units: 13 apartments in the converted/extended Brewery building, 1 existing house in Gateacre Brow, 4 existing houses in Lower Sandfield, and the 9 apartments in the proposed new block. It is difficult to see where all the residents and their visitors are expected to park without causing an obstruction to other vehicles and/or pedestrians.
7. As mentioned in our 2006 submission, we see no reason why an attractive and profitable development could not be designed based on 'character' two-storey houses. This would be more in keeping with the Conservation Area and would minimise the problems of traffic, overlooking and overshadowing. In 2006 we stated that "There would appear, at the present time, to be an over-supply of apartments in Gateacre - a high proportion of the flats in Woodholme Court (Belle Vale Road), St Stephen's Court (Halewood Road) and Woodsome Park (Halewood Road) currently being for sale". Since that time, there has been a recession in the property market which, we understand, has particularly affected new-build flats. We continue to believe, therefore, as we said in 2006, that "A 'mews-style' development - ideally designed with elderly residents in mind - would ... be more in keeping with the area, more saleable, and less likely to cause traffic and parking problems".
Would you please acknowledge receipt of this email, and notify me of any revised drawings or Statements which may be received in relation to this application. Please would you also notify me of the date of any Planning Committee meeting at which it is to be discussed.
Mike Chitty (Environment Secretary)
THE GATEACRE SOCIETY