Somerset House, Canynge Rd: Update

Mar 3, 2017

The application to demolish the modern office block at the top of Canynge Rd and replace it with 5 flats at the rear of the site and 3 townhouses facing Canynge Rd was deferred by BCC's planning committee on Oct 19th 2016. Subsequently it would seem that the developers were unwilling to modify their scheme to take account of objections made by residents and councillors, and have instead decided to lodge an Appeal.

The matter came before councillors again on Feb 22nd when they were to decide the specific grounds on which they would resist the Appeal. However, mindful, it appears, of budget deficits at BCC, councillors took the surprise decision not to take any part in the Appeal proceedings in order to save money.

This planning application was first made two and a half years ago. It has been opposed by CHIS from the onset as being an over-development of the site, the buildings too tall, too close to the road and to the backs of 1-6 Canynge Square, thereby depriving them of light and privacy. Further, CHIS deplores the loss of mature trees, including the roadside plane tree, shrubs and other plants and replacing them with townhouses built right onto the pavement with no front gardens.

Another concern has always been the loss of the offices, where over 100 people are employed who daily patronise businesses in Clifton Village. The loss of their trade would certainly impact unfavourably upon the Village shops.

The design proposals for these new buildings are so unsympathetic to the architecture of surrounding listed buildings and other nearby buildings of merit that our architectural advisor has described the development as "Potentially far more harmful than any other Clifton application in recent years."

For these reasons CHIS will, despite the regrettable stance taken by BCC, support local residents in resisting this development, by being heard at the Appeal which is likely to take place before a planning inspector in May.

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