Civic success as Rutland Street development proposal withdrawn

by Ollie Heppenstall

A furious argument between Leicester City Council, the Civic Society and a local civil engineering firm has resulted in a proposed development in Rutland Street falling through.

Moorhouse Project Limited submitted the application to transform the Carron Building, which stands opposite The Exchange bar and overlooks the grade two listed St George’s Church, in late 2017.

The application was due to be discussed by the city council planning and development control committee tonight (Wednesday, March 14) but was withdrawn before the meeting.

The plans included transforming the warehouse into office space, retail space and an eatery, along with a vertical extension after a decade of various planning applications relating to the premises being submitted and given permission by the council, but never progressing further.

The Civic Society’s objection was quoted in the planning meeting’s agenda as being: “the roof extension is too high and not sympathetic to the existing building.

“Should trees in the churchyard be removed then the extension would be highly visible. The scheme is therefore harmful to the St George’s conservation area.”

While not objected to by Historic England, who proposed slight amendments to the designs and plans including bird and bat boxes being installed and a promoted species survey being undertaken if development had not begun a year after the previous survey, the application’s withdrawal means that the future of the warehouse remains uncertain.


Cambridge Street resident outraged after Leicester City Council approves planning for neighbour

By Alice Warner

Planning permission to turn a three-bedroomed terraced house at 25 Cambridge Street, Leicester, into three flats has been given approval from the city council despite objections from outraged neighbours.

The proposal is to transform it into three flats consisting of one bedroom flat on the ground floor, one bedroom flat on the second floor and one studio flat in the roof space.

This area, just off Narborough Road, is covered by an article 4 direction, which restricts any changes to a shared house, to prevent undue loss of family homes in the area. This application is for flats and not shared housing.

Mr Gibbons, from 27 Cambridge Street, objected: “I can’t possibly summarise within five minutes all of the discussions that have taken place in the last five years regarding this property.”

The biggest issue that was raised was the guttering and sewage system. The house was left derelict for years with no guttering, leaving Mr Gibbons with damp throughout his house.

He continued: “The access point to the sewer for 25 Cambridge Street is on my premises, so I have the access. It is me who has to call the plumber out and pay for it.

“If it was a shared house there is only one, maybe two people in the bathroom at one given time.

“If you convert it into flats it would quadruple the amount of waste going down the sewer. If it blocks, it would be me who has to pay for that.”

Mr Gibbons was passionate that this scheme should not be approved.

He added: “It is shambolic, the rear dormer has no windows in it, it is supposed to be a bedroom and it says no more work is required.”

Most councillors were in favour of this proposal. However, Councillor Ross Grant said: “We need to protect homes that could be used by families. I would be favouring refusal on the grounds that we could protect a larger home.”

It is now a three-bedroomed terraced house and therefore could be inhabited by a small family or a larger family.

The chairman of the meeting, Councillor Ted Cassidy, said this was a valid consideration now that this area could lose a bigger house but the proposal was accepted.

He said: “The officers have responded to the objections. I would like to accept the offers of conditional approval with the exception of an added noise condition.”

Mr Gibbons was outraged, before leaving he made a short statement to the committee: “I will tell you what you have just done.

“You have allowed a resident in Cambridge Street in such a shambolic way to destroy that neighbourhood and you personally and your committee will be responsible for that.

“You will be hearing from me again.”

Civic Society opposes Rutland Street development proposal

By Oliver Heppenstall

A Rutland Street warehouse is at the centre of a heated planning debate involving the city’s Civic Society, Leicester City Council and local civic engineering firm Moorhouse Limited.

The warehouse, situated opposite The Exchange Bar and backing onto St George’s Church, has been derelict for many years despite proposals being submitted and permission being given in the previous decade to convert the building to flats, offices or financial services.

The latest proposal was submitted by the firm in December 2017 and brought in front of the council through the objection of the Conservation Advisory Panel.

It will be discussed again tonight (Wednesday, March 14) at a meeting of the city council’s planning and development control committee.

The city council has approved a grant to complete the development, but if planning permission has not been granted by March 31 this year, the grant will expire.

The proposal is to turn the basement and ground floor into retail space, professional and financial service space and a cafe or restaurant, while an extension of two floors would incorporate leisure and office space as well as non-residential space.

Much has been made of the proposed extension to the building within the council’s report, which deems it as “not having an unduly harmful impact” on the view of the church.

Leicester’s Civic Society is firmly against the development and cites it as “harmful to the St George’s Conservation Area” despite Historic England’s consultation and welcoming of the scheme as part of the regeneration of the St George’s Residential Area, including the church itself, and the amending of the design according to their recommendations.



Leicester City Council gives conditional approval to convert family house into flats

By Alice Warner

Planning permission to turn a terraced house in Cambridge Street, Leicester, into three flats has been given conditional approval from the city council even though the area is striving to gain more family housing.

This area, just off Narborough Road, is covered by an article 4 direction, which restricts any changes to use of a shared house, to prevent undue loss of family homes in the area. This application is for flats and not for shared housing.

The proposal for 25 Cambridge Street is to change the use of the terraced house to three flats, comprising of a two bedroom flat on the ground floor, a one bedroom flat on the first floor and a studio flat within the roof space.

The applicant is also seeking permission for a single storey rear extension.

Neighbours were notified by letter and some objections were received, one of which was from ward councillor Sarah Russell who objected on the grounds of over development, insufficient noise protection between the flats and insufficient waste facilities.

Other grounds of objection from neighbours include: that the applicant has no right to convert the house into a house of multiple occupation because of the article 4 restrictions, it would not be in keeping with the neighbourhood, there would be an increased flow of waste, it would cause a decrease in value to the other properties and would lead to a significant increase in environment noise and traffic.

Some houses on this road have already been converted into flats, however, which are in keeping with the terraced housing in Narborough Road.

In addition to this, the policy of the City of Leicester Local Plan states that: “There is a priority need for larger family housing.”

This house is a two bed, terraced property and therefore could be suitable for a small family in the area.

The conditions for any approval are recommended to include that the self-contained flats must have a satisfactory living environment, arrangements for bin storage and provision for amenity space.

The application is due to be discussed tonight (Wednesday, March 14).



Proposals to change traffic parking restrictions to be discussed at council meeting

By Ross Barnett

Proposals to introduce double yellow line parking restrictions in the Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields wards will be heard at a council meeting tonight (Wednesday, March 14).

Leicester City Council has proposed double yellow line no waiting at any time parking restrictions for three metres from all junctions of Compton Road and Lambert Road with the terraced streets between Raymond Road and Haddenham Road.

The proposals aim to facilitate vehicles manoeuvring as well as easing the congestion at these junctions which has become increasingly worse recently on football match days when Leicester City football club is playing at home.

According to the city council’s website, the cost of implementing the traffic regulation order is estimated to be £2,500 which will be met from the Local Environment Works budget.

In an area where parking is already limited, one resident objected to the proposal on the grounds that the “additional waiting restrictions around the junctions in this area would remove a large amount of car parking where there is already a high demand for parking.”

The original proposal featured double yellow line no waiting at any time parking for a length of five metres around all junctions in the area but the council reduced the extent of the original proposal from five metres to three metres, however this has also been rejected by the objector.

The objection letter read: “At night and weekends the streets are full of vehicles and it can be difficult to find a parking space.

“I am 67 years old and I need my car. I also have visitors come to the house and they need somewhere to park.

“Clearly if you introduce no waiting areas in this part of the West end, where will all the excess vehicles park?

“You will make an existing parking problem a whole lot worse.”