A college is considering its options after its plans to build 22 affordable flats and three houses in the heart of Melton were thrown out.
Brooksby Melton College wanted to build the flats where its redundant King Street building stands, creating a new street frontage in King Street and Chapel Street.
The college claimed the housing project would ‘inject life back into the site’. It had also proposed to give a small piece of land to the adjacent Mencap site for it to expand.
But members of Melton Council’s planning committee were concerned about losing a heritage asset, if the King Street building was knocked down, as well as the development’s impact on the setting of the chapel - a heritage asset. Other concerns included its negative impact on the street scene, inadequate parking and potential impact on the Genny B pub if noise coming from it became an issue.
Jim Worley, the council’s head of regulatory services, told members the building wasn’t listed, with no consent needed to demolish it.
Agent for the college Jamie Piper told the committee the delivery of the King Street project was ‘entirely dependant’ upon the approval of an associated outline planning application to redevelop the college’s Spinney campus, providing up to 70 homes as well as offices and a shop.
He said: “This application provides a one-off opportunity to achieve a significant contribution to the borough’s affordable housing needs.
“The benefits offered by this scheme are significant.”
Councillor Elaine Holmes was first to raise concerns. She said: “I can’t go along with taking away some of our heritage. This is a part of Melton, we can’t do this.”
Coun Pat Cumbers added: “There’s a need for affordable housing but I think they’ve packed too many dwellings into too small a plot. This could also overshadow the chapel which I think is an important building and the facade of this building is important too.”
Coun Margaret Glancy said: “That area is a gateway into King Street, next to a heritage site. I’d prefer conversion over demolition if we refuse it.”
The plans were refused mainly on grounds of the loss of/impact on heritage assets.
Due to the decision the college’s associated Spinney campus application was deferred.
College principal Chris Ball declined to speak to the Melton Times after Wednesday’s meeting.