Out goes the begging bowl – again… Seems to be the order of the day for the borough’s ever-increasing band of wannabe developers. If at first, you succeed – ask for more?
You may recall that the former Westbrook Mills Offices on Borough Rd, Godalming were once in the sights of ‘Your Waverley.’ It once had designs on the building in its efforts to either downsize or perhaps join the development game who knows?
However, it was pipped at the post. The new owners bagged the office building, was given permission for 64 flats then 99 flats and now wants to go up in the world by adding another storey and an extra 24 flats, including seven affordable units – (123). Keep going chaps – maybe next time you can make it up to 150 to keep your heads above water in Flood Zone 3. Let’s hope the occupants can too?
But after Waverley’s central planning committee saw what was intended for the site – they likened the design too – ‘ A 1950’s Russian Hospital; and Wandsworth Prison, which would neither do justice to the site near the Lammas lands or to the town of Godalming.
Cllr Stephan Reynolds called in the application to the Central committee to prevent officers granting consent under their delegated powers. Claiming the Government planning rules which now allowed offices to be converted into residential properties was a retrograde one. “In Godalming, we have now lost a lot of good usable office space, which we cannot do anything about” He described the flat roofs of some of the flats as “horrible, an attempt by the developer to make more money.” Others claimed the officers’ recommendation to approve the scheme was contradicted by much of what they had said in their report – about the bulk, height and massing of such a large and prominent building. Cllr Paul Follows wasn’t impressed: He had concerns over flooding and SANGS and said some flats didn’t meet the national minimum space standards. “I happen to live in one of these sort of conversions and it possibly one of the worst places I have ever had to rent.” Not everyone agreed with him. Cllr Anna James said if people wanted to live in little flats it was up to them – but I don’t like the flats roofs – Wandsworth `prison is more attractive.
After almost every member of the committee had panned the development for 20 minutes – it was unanimously refused.