The former Moles Country Store in Brighton Road – will not become a large four-storey apartment block to join the Birchgrove stable of up-market rental homes, if the town council has anything to do with it.?
The bulk, scale and massing of the huge block of bricks and mortar is too much of an overdevelopment of the former retail site in the opinion of Godalming’s Town councillors. The members of its planning group claimed it would look ‘out of place.’
Does the artist’s impression included in the plans look like a two and three-storey block to you? Have we logged onto the right plans? Because ‘Your Waverley’s newly up-dated Planning Portal has gone into a go-slow – that has brought it almost to a STOP. Not much of an incentive for comments – is it?
There were also concerns about the cost of the new units – believed to be in the region of £5,000 per week based on similar Birchgrove properties, including those already built and occupied in Woking. Councillors also said the huge impact of the buildings would impact on all the other buildings in the area and the ‘built heritage’ of Godalming.
Councillors claimed the building is likely to be considered oppressive by people in the area that surrounds the proposed 49 flats in the two and three-storey buildings, two-flats in another two-storey building and a two-room extra care facility in the former Scats office building. A unit which is described as a Grade 11 listed former cow house. The company also proposes to include communal gardens and parking, a restaurant, lounge bar and guest bedrooms.
Neighbours and others have already registered their objection to the proposed development, describing it as ‘downright ugly and people living on South Hill are concerned that they would be overlooked. However, the company argue it will meet a pressing need for specialist accommodation for older people in the Godalming area and will free up other properties. It will also generate jobs in a development close to the town.
Says one objector.
‘Planning of high rise building will impact views on housing in surrounding areas. This site could be used to bring trade into the town which is already struggling. A lot of housing has been built in the area already without any improvement to infrastructure. Not in keeping with designs in the area. Will impede on traffic to the bottom of Brighten Road.’
Godalming’s Neighbourhood Plan indicates it would ‘strongly encourage more older people’s developments in the Farncombe and Godalming area.