Agenda item

Thetford: Residential Development, Former Thetford Cottage Hospital, Earls Street for Norfolk Nhs Primary Care Trust: Reference: 3PL/2009/0977/F (Agenda Item 9)

Report of the Deputy Chief Executive.


This application proposed the conversion of the original cottage hospital into four flats and the erection of nine new build dwellings on the remainder of the site.  Later additions to the original hospital would be demolished and a new access would be created.


A previous application had proposed the demolition of all buildings on the site and had been refused by Members as they had considered that the loss of the original cottage hospital building would be harmful to the character of the area.


Only two affordable units were proposed due to viability issues.  The applicant had provided figures which had been forwarded to the District Valuer (DV).  The recommendation of approval was subject to confirmation from the DV that the site could not support the full affordable housing requirement. 


Other issues to be considered were parking and the relationships with neighbouring properties.


Mr Mossop, owner of the adjacent Snooker Centre, objected to the two houses (Nos 12 and 13) on the boundary of the site adjacent to his business.  He was deeply concerned that residents of those two properties would be disturbed by his customers both at the entrance and to the rear of the property where he had a ‘smoking area’.  He had a licence for music and dancing on Friday and Saturday evenings and was concerned that complaints would affect the business which he had run for over 20 years.


Mr Nolan, Agent, explained that the Cottage Hospital no longer met the requirements of the NHS Trust.  A new building had replaced its use and the cottage hospital had closed.  No buyers had been found for the building and so redevelopment of the site was proposed.  He had worked closely with the Officers to produce a scheme with the potential to refurbish the hospital building and provide employment.


A Thetford Member was disappointed that the NHS Trust had not found an appropriate use for the old hospital.  She was concerned about the potential effect on the Snooker Centre, which was a well run business with a good reputation; the lack of parking; and the potential overlooking of the Doctor’s surgery, especially as it had permission for an extension.


Another Member felt that there should be a buffer zone between the Snooker Centre and any new housing.  He was also concerned that when the existing extension to the hospital was removed it might damage the building and he suggested a modern extension should replace it, providing two units of accommodation in place of units 12 and 13.


The Principal Planning Officer (Major Projects) said that considerable thought had gone into the site’s layout.  They had considered repositioning the new access adjacent to the Snooker Hall to provide a buffer zone but as the Hall was almost on the road, it would be difficult to achieve a safe access there.  He suggested that a condition could be imposed if permission was granted requiring details of the means of making good the hospital when the extension was removed.


Members discussed:


·                    the location of units 12 and 13 - and suggested replacing the units with more parking spaces; replacing the two units with one house; or having an acoustic wall along the boundary;

·                    the lack of parking, and the effect of residents parking in public car parks;

·                    affordable housing – it was confirmed that if the DV disagreed with the figures, the application would come back to Committee;

·                    overlooking – requesting that the window overlooking the Doctor’s surgery be moved;

·                    the imposition of an archaeological condition.


The recommendation to approve the application was not supported.


RESOLVED to defer the application to allow the applicant to submit amended proposals to address the concerns raised.


Supporting documents: