Derby City Council

Council approve “bland” Landmark building despite “harm” to local heritage. But will it actually be built?

Proposed Landmark building on Phoenix Street, Derby

At yesterday evening’s Planning Committee the majority of Councillors voted to overturn the recommendation of the Council Officers to refuse planning permission for the controversial Landmark building.

The main reason for refusal given, by the Planning Officers, for this 17 storey building was that :

“…the proposed development, by virtue of its scale, overwhelming mass, height and external appearance would be significantly harmful to the significance and setting of the following heritage assets; Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Nottingham Road Conservation Area and City Centre Conservation Area, Cathedral Church of All Saints (Grade I), St Marys Bridge (Grade II*), Chapel of St Mary on the Bridge (Grade I), St Mary Bridge House (Grade II), Silk Mill Industrial Museum (Grade II) Magistrates Court (Grade II), along with the TA Centre and Compton House, which are locally listed buildings.”

This opinion was based on reports provided by International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) through UNESCO, and Heritage England

See previous article for more details “Does the recent UNESCO Heritage advice signal the end of ‘The Landmark’ building project?”

The view of the Planning Officers and a number of the Councillors was that the external design was poor, and unsightly.

One person submitting a representation stated that :

“damaging the heritage with bland nondescript apartments like this will not help at all. Derby should not become a bargain basement city with little cultural offerings and whose only vision is to blot the skyline with cheap outdated tower blocks in the hope of a quick buck”

The argument for granting permission is that it would bring investment and people, and therefore footfall,  into the city centre. It would also increase Council Tax revenue by around £200k. Additionally the view was that, if rejected, it would deter any future investors. Interestingly the Head of Planning argued against the need for additional properties to support the City’s housing need.

A number of Cllrs were conflicted between the expected positive economic benefits and the harm to the heritage landscape.

The Head of Planning did point out the planning permission doesn’t mean that the project would actually be delivered. It has to be referred back to the Secretary of State, and the developer may decide that it’s not cost effective to proceed.

A previous article “Derby’s new Landmark building: Questions to be asked about the Property Developer, Godwin “group”” questioned the financial position and track record of Godwin Developments, the organisation that plans to deliver Derby’s 2nd tallest building

Godwin’s experience is dominated by Motorway service areas, commercial units and small scale, 2 storey residential estates

Derby City Council also granted planning permission in November 2019 to Godwin Developments for an 8 storey block, comprising 142 student flats on Agard Street.

Comment

Given that Godwins is funding these developments with 10%+ interest rate, high risk financial borrowing, it does raise the question whether these buildings will ever get off the ground….or worse, that the funding stream dries up part way through build.

 

 

Categories: Derby City Council

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