I FAIL to understand why councillors are even bothering to entertain a second wholly inappropriate planning application by Gladedale for the Archery Road site.
The conservation area features Regency and early Victorian architecture set in spacious and elegant surroundings, laid out in a well thought out consistent manner by Burton. Gladedale’s plans feature hideous modern high density ‘blocks’ lacking communal space laid in a manner that completely disrespects the original vision and cannot be accommodated within the infrastructure. The scheme completely lacks architectural merit and includes a number of basic technical errors which should automatically exclude it on grounds of competence.
Apart from the technical problems there is also the issue of financial due diligence. Gladedale’s business model is similar to that of Southern Cross in that it was built up by acquisition backed by massive debt predicated on the delusion that property prices would always be rising. As we all know this is not the case. Local property experts have already advised that these tiny cramped units will be extremely difficult to sell but that well designed larger homes more appropriate to the area would indeed be marketable.
Unless the planning department and councillors on the committee wise up soon, we are highly likely to find ourselves being held to ransom by this unscrupulous company who will demand large cash inputs to complete this totally unsuitable scheme, as has happened elsewhere.
Councillors and planning officers in favour of this scheme should, in my view, be held personally financially responsible if it is passed. Ideally the site needs to be broken down into small units and developed by institutions with both the technical expertise and the financial wherewithal to see it through successfully without disrespecting the original vision and meeting existing residents’ concerns.
West Hill Road, St Leonards