Somerset House, Canynge Rd: Update

Nov 5, 2016

The plans to demolish the 1960's office block in Canynge Road, at present occupied by Hartnell, Taylor & Cook, and to replace it with three high townhouses and a block of five flats came before the planning committee on October 19th.

Despite there being well over 60 objections to the plans and not a single letter of support, the planning officer had recommended that the plans be approved.

CHIS was represented at the meeting by our Chairman, Brian Worthington and planning co-ordinator, Christopher Jefferies. They, together with a number of residents, voiced grave concerns regarding the density of the development, the total failure of the plans to respect the settings of adjacent listed buildings, loss of light and privacy for neighbours, loss of mature trees (especially the beautiful London plane beside the road), and loss of employment resulting in loss of trade to businesses in Clifton village. CHIS's architectural advisor, who also spoke at the meeting, has described the scheme as "potentially far more harmful than any other Clifton application in recent years".

After much discussion councillors decided to defer a decision on the application. The decision to defer specifically requires the Council to reconsult with neighbours on an amended scheme. The developers have the option of either appealing to the planning inspectorate against the deferral or of submitting an amended scheme.

To date little account has been taken of local opinion and CHIS hopes that this will now be rectified. It is truly amazing that planners are prepared to support schemes that are hugely unpopular, not just with neighbours, but with the wider public. It is commendable that Mayor Marvin Rees is keen to address democratic issues of this sort.

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