A prominent West Midlands Housing Association has secured the redevelopment of a community centre for affordable housing following the input of detailed research from Tetlow King Planning.
The community centre in the heart of Loughborough had been hit hard by the recession. It was in a state of disrepair and in need of significant investment to make improvements necessary to bring the Club back into profitable use when the owner concluded that it should be sold. The centre closed two years ago.
A local Housing Association stepped in with plans to develop the site for 19 Affordable Rented houses, supported by HCA funding. Despite the poor state of the building, significant attachment to the Club and the part it had played in the fabric of local families’ history led to a 1,300-strong petition objecting to its redevelopment.
At this point Tetlow King Planning was instructed to respond to the issues raised in the petition and five letters of local objection. These included concerns over the impact of construction at the site, and other issues that Tetlow King Planning’s expertise could satisfactorily be controlled by condition.
Research by Meghan Rossiter, Principal Planner, addressed fears that community clubs operating at the centre at the time of its closure would have to fold following its redevelopment. This found that many of the clubs and activities that operated at the centre had successfully relocated to surrounding venues and were thriving.
Officers at Charnwood Borough Council were wholly supportive of the development, and embraced Tetlow King Planning’s evidence in recommending the scheme for approval. Debate at Committee was however split between those who were concerned that the Club’s closure could have been prevented, and those who recognised that it was no longer a profitable concern and would be replaced by much-needed, attractive affordable housing.
Tetlow King Planning Director Jonathan Adams spoke at Planning Committee presenting evidence of the need for this 100% affordable housing scheme and addressing specific concerns about the lack of local facilities raised by local objectors, which helped sway the vote of 3 against, 8 in favour. The Housing Association hopes to commence work before the end of March 2015.