Yesterday was a good day for local democracy. Local residents and historical societies agreed that the main building (“Lainson building”) at least should be saved and that the proposed scheme, which depended on demolition, was nowhere near good enough. Thankfully councillors on the planning committee agreed and overruled the officer recommendations to refuse permission to demolish or build.
TaylorWimpey, the developer behind the scheme, have not conducted themselves particularly well throughout this process. For example at the committee hearing yesterday they claimed there were 150 letters in support of their proposals. In fact not a single letter was received in support, but many were received in favour of the doctors’ surgery finding a new home, which TaylorWimpey proposed to be in their scheme. They have continually tried to use the issue of the surgery as a fig leaf to cover all the many other failings of their schemes (I’ve lost track of how many revisions we’ve been through, this is the second refusal at committee).
You can read the letter I helped draft in opposition to the scheme (PDF) on which I based my comments when I spoke to the committee. You can also see the whole committee meeting in video online too. I’m delighted the Alex lives on and I hope we can now see a scheme worthy of the site.
UPDATE: My press release on this has now been posted, and The Argus has quoted a great comment my Green colleague Cllr Paul Steedman made at the meeting.