Major proposals to redevelop the St Joseph’s Orphanage site look set for approval.Advertisement
Czero Developments who took on the site have applied to convert the chapel and tower buildings to become three apartment blocks and 10 townhouses with 67 rooms in total.
Five of the existing buildings at the grade-II listed St Joseph’s in Mount Street would be demolished under the proposals.
Chief executive of Preston City Council Adrian Phillips is set to decide the planning application in the absence of the planning committee meeting in light of the coronavirus pandemic. The city council is using emergency powers to continue to decide major planning applications.
Planning officers have listed the scheme for approval as long as a section 106 order is put in to obtain community funding from the developers.
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The two blocks being demolished date to 1872 and 1877 and the developers face Lancashire County Council’s archaeology stating the plans would ’cause substantial harm to the signifiance of the site’.
As previously reported on Blog Preston, The Victorian Society have objected to the scheme and the orphanage, which was then the Mount Street Hospital, is listed as one of the UK’s top 10 most endangered buildings by the society.
Cedar House Counselling Centre who are opposite the former orphanage have objected raising concerns about damage to property and noise disturbance.
While a resident in Bank Parade has written in support of the application to say ‘too many old buildings are being left to rot’.
Czero developments said at the time of lodging the plans in September last year: “By taking some of the most damaged and structurally unsafe elements of the existing complex away, new life can be breathed into the remaining and most salvageable buildings.”
Planning officers in recommending the scheme appear to have agreed.
They write: “It is considered that this report has detailed how the existing buildings are in a poor state of disrepair, and that the application as submitted is the most viable option in respect of retaining the elements of the site that can still be saved whilst providing a scheme that generates a profit and therefore gives a developer an incentive to implement any permission.
“It has been established that a scheme that involves retention of more of the buildings would likely be considerably less profitable and would therefore be unlikely to be implemented, and thus what is proposed is considered to be the most realistic scheme for this site.
“Furthermore the report has identified the clear public benefits arising from this proposal and it is considered that these public benefits outweigh the substantial harm to the heritage assets that has been identified.”
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The full report can be found on the city council website and the city council’s chief exec is due to take the decision on Thursday 7 May from 11am.
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