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141 CASTLE STREET, SALISBURY – 23.06.2019:  This office building was originally built in the 1970s, as the national headquarters of the long-defunct Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas. Having decided not to proceed with use of the current system which allows easy change of use for office to residential, developers have now put in a full application to demolish the building and construct 66 flats in two blocks. The Society hasn’t objected to the principle of this, or to the proposed Castle Street elevation, but it has objected to the one facing the river Avon, at the point where the Mill Stream splits off.

The design shows what is stated to be a ‘riverside wharf’ treatment, for an area which never had such wharfs, and it isn’t great architecture whatever the context. An unresolved relationship to the river was particularly criticised in the Society’s objection, and the need to create a broader riverside green strip emphasised.   Conversations with the Environment Agency apparently remain to be had, and the design seems likely to change.

McCARTHY & STONE, CASTLE STREET  – Update 01.06.2019:    Richard Deane has been involved in helping one of the conservation officers over a flawed approach by the builders to some of the brick detailing features, which will be key to the success or otherwise of the design.

WHITE ROOMS, MILFORD STREET  10.10.2017:  Richard Deane,  reported on an update to the situation with these premises, proposals for which had been the subject of a presentation to the committee in May 2015, with a positive response, and with planning permission eventually following. Since then there had been no signs of action. However he had been able to check with the architects when visiting their offices in connection with an awards scheme nomination, and had been told that the delay was due to the developer acquiring further sites around the original one, with a view to coming up with a larger scheme than the original one. E Milton confirmed that developer and architects were likely to suggest another presentation to the committee before too long.


THE SHOE, MERE 10.10.2017 Update: The Secretary reported that Jocelyn Sage was now planning to use the Society’s letter on the render application as a way of approaching Mere Town Council, which as he had reported at the previous meeting had for some reason actively supported a proposal which would have a harmful impact on the town conservation area. The letter suggested other ways of dealing with failing Mere stone, which should enable a house such as this one to continue to make a positive contribution.

12.09.17 The Development Committee Secretary, Richard Deane,   reported that a current application sought to render a house in the Mere conservation area, but gave no information whatsoever on the proposal. There was no indication what the house looked like, or what its walls were currently. He had had to go to Mere to find out what the implications of the application were, and discovered that the house was in the local Mere stone, and that it had a prominent location on the edge of the conservation area. Rendering it would be highly damaging to conservation area character, in which the use of Mere stone was a crucial element. He had contacted Jocelyn Sage, the conservation officer covering Mere, and found that she had not been consulted on the proposal, though the council system recorded her as having been. He had sent her photos of the house, and following her involvement with the case the application had now been withdrawn, though she suspected this was just to allow for another one to be submitted, with some tenuous justification added. She had thought it would still be worth him objecting to the withdrawn proposal, and he had drafted a letter, which combined an objection to the rendering with one to the fact that the council had accepted an application with virtually no useful information, for a property in a conservation area. It also made suggestions as to how the poor condition of some of the stonework, which presumably lay behind the rendering idea, could be dealt with without needing to cover it all up. On top of the failure of Wiltshire Council to ask for a decent application, for some reason Mere town council was actively supporting the proposal.

The Secretary felt it was worth reporting this case, because until he had contacted Jocelyn she had been unaware of the application, though it was possible the case officer would have eventually checked with her to see how she felt about it, and she had found the information he had sent her very useful. It was seldom possible to identify cases where Society involvement had clearly made a difference, and this might well be one. Members agreed that the Society input in this case certainly appeared to have been very positive.

CARAVAN SITE, HUDSONS FIELD 12.09.17 Leslie Lipscombe reported on a current application, which sought to change 50 pitches at the site from grass to hardstanding with some associated planting. He showed a photo of the site, which indicated how prominent it was in views from Old Sarum, and expressed concern at the loss of grass, which would exacerbate the situation. He was proposing to write objecting to the application, and asking for enhanced tree planting on the northern boundary to lessen the impact of the site. It was agreed such an objection would be very appropriate.

THE RAMPARTS, Corner of Wilton Road and Devizes Road 26.09.17 Wiltshire Council have approved the proposal for the regeneration of The Ramparts, on the corner of Wilton Road and Devizes Road. The proposal will see the construction of a stone building providing office floor space, along with a parking for a local firm. Charter House Planning were awarded planning permission in June 2017 to develop the site as their new headquarters office.

Planning director, Dan Roycroft, said: “This site has been vacant now for 14 years and has become a real eyesore on an important gateway into Salisbury. We’re delighted that Wiltshire Council have been brave enough to grant permission for a building of such contemporary design on a site that has been plagued with numerous proposals over the years for rather ordinary and lack lustre developments. We hope that this refreshing redevelopment of The Ramparts, along with the ongoing redevelopments along Wilton Road, will bring positive investment and change to a rather neglected part of our historic city.”

Local residents gave their backing to the redevelopment at the consultation stage earlier this year citing a need for new development to help the regeneration of the area.

The site was formerly the home of important local inventor and photographer, Theodore Brown, but was demolished in the 1960s and redeveloped as Henley’s Garage, it became a petrol station becoming vacant in 2002 and was eventually levelled to be used as a car park more recently. Planning consent was granted in 2010 for a mixed scheme providing commercial units on the ground floor with 14 flats over the first and second floors – but the plan never came to fruition on site.