Wallingford is set to lose an integral part of our old town with a plan to destroy all of the old brewery buildings (more recently used as the Portcullis Club) and replace them with an out-of-keeping modern block.
The consultation period is over so we shall await the verdict of South Oxfordshire’s Planning Committee.
What’s the story?
What happened? District councillors turned down a car-free plan to convert the old brewery buildings to flats, despite their planning officers recommending it. That plan has gone to appeal, but the developers are putting in an outrageous plan just in case.
The new plan, to destroy everything, and build 15 parking spaces beneath an oversized building set back from the road, was approved by the Town Council planning committee, 6 votes to 2. According to Sue Hendrie (distinguished local archaeologist), “Having advised and worked so closely with the developer, it is a matter for debate as to whether the planning committee members were eligible to vote themselves”.
Sue Hendrie wrote a bit more for me, which I used in my comments to the District Council.
This scheme would disastrously erode the character of the Conservation Area and have a huge impact on the Kinecroft. Wallingford Town Council have been working on this scheme with the developer without consulting the town.
This major scheme would mean demolishing the Locally Listed brewery buildings in the Wallingford Conservation Area. These buildings are important both historically and to the character of the Conservation Area.
The bulky, high new buildings would loom over the Kinecroft and Goldsmiths Lane. The style of the proposed scheme is cod-industrial and zinc-clad, all quite alien to Wallingford.
The old line of this atmospheric street will be opened up with a large splayed entrance for 15 vehicles, putting an unacceptable strain on the traffic flow and increasing the already high air pollution.
Congestion and danger to pedestrians crossing Goldsmiths Lane would result.
There is no valid reason for this demolition and inappropriate rebuilt. A conservation-led car-free development, approved by SODC officers but turned down by members, is still awaiting appeal. This scheme under appeal would allow a viable and sustainable development, retain and reuse the historic buildings, have a negative traffic impact and provide a scheme that does little significant damage to the Conservation Area.