A development described as ‘monstrous’ when first submitted has been passed without a planning meeting after developers amended the plans.
The land is at 2 Bunny Lane in Keyworth village centre.
Applicant Bellco Developments wants to turn the former disused British Legion building and restaurant into a sustainable apartment block, retail units and office space, and originally submitted plans to Rushcliffe Borough Council in January 2022.
The plans were for a four-storey building like the image below.
At the time of this first application – residents objected with one describing the building as ‘monstrous.’
Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Bellco Estates said: “ 2 Bunny Lane is a huge opportunity for the village, which will bring a high-profile, central site back to life.
“Importantly, this will be a proudly local development. As a Keyworth resident myself, we are keen to provide employment opportunities for the community, and we use an established design team with strong roots in the local area.
“Keyworth has struggled for a while now when it comes to catering for all facets of the housing market.
“While two bedroom detached starter homes are well placed to cater for couples, for example, they often remain out of reach for those looking to live independently for the first time.
“The accommodation element of 2 Bunny Lane will be suitable for single residents, including those with mobility issues that have not already been provided for by any of the other developments in the village.”
They added the building would also solve a shortage of space for independent shops and businesses in the area and will be a sustainable development featuring electrical charging points and carbon-neutral homes.
After concerns were also raised about the design of the building, including its height and colours, by a Rushcliffe Conservation Officer – new plans were submitted in September 2022 – these have now been passed, but without being discussed at a planning meeting.
Planning meetings, where councillors get to vote on proposals like this, are held if any ward councillor objects to them, in this case, none did, and therefore the planning officers decide themselves.
Out of 36 comments on the application by residents, just one is in support.
One clarifies the position laid out earlier:
The resident writes:
‘I see that this application is still pending a decision. The scheme is clearly a huge overdevelopment of the site with poor design which purports to be neither traditional nor contemporary. The scheme will result in a poor standard of accommodation for residents, lacks adequate parking and turning facilities and would remain a huge incongruous building on this prominent corner in the conservation area for the next century.
‘Please be clear on the duty to preserve or enhance the conservation area under the P, LB & CA Act 1990 and the policies in the Local Plan. This scheme does neither and should be refused as many objectors already point out.
‘I am most concerned that the Ward Members have failed to refer this matter to the Planning Committee in view of the level of local interest and opposition.
‘If this building is approved under delegated powers these members will be held responsible at the elections. If the application is being held back until after May then this is not acceptable and would be a clear political manoeuvre having nothing to do with the planning decision-making process.’
‘This site is located in the conservation area of Keyworth and is a prime location in the centre of the village overlooking the church and should be developed sympathetically rather than with a commercial bias.
‘The demolition and excavation of this site .is likely to cause disruption to the residents and local businesses because of the heavy equipment and lorries that will be required over a prolonged period of time.
‘The excavation for the underground car park could undermine the integrity of the foundations of The Hall, which in turn could cause structural damage to the building itself.
‘The Hall is an important building in the history of Keyworth and the conservation area, and should be preserved as such.
‘What precautions will be put in place to safeguard this building?
‘The style; scale and intensity of the proposed development would not preserve the character and appearance within the conservation area. It is more in keeping with Nottingham City Centre or West Bridgford and is totally out of harmony with the village plan. The height; profile and massing is inappropriate for this site at the heart of the village conservation area.
‘The Bunny Lane/Nottingham Road junction is already one of the busiest in Keyworth, it is the bus route towards Nottingham and there are often vehicles turning across the path of pedestrians, including elderly and children. Any large machinery on the site and waste disposal lorries will undoubtedly cause interruption to traffic and make a busy corner even more dangerous.
‘Delivery lorries/vans and removal lorries will find the loading bay pretty inconvenient as it is positioned at the exact opposite corner of the building to that of the lift access to the apartments. There are already parking pressures on the local roads so any additional parking (whether legal or illegal) could lead to these busy roads becoming, in effect, one way.’
The plans have been passed with S106 conditions committing developers to contribute financially to the community.