Our excellent councillors in Addiscombe - Maria Garcia, Russell Jackson and Andrew Price - have got me involved in a planning issue which demonstrates how the law can sometimes be an ass. A developer has applied for planning permission to knock down two locally-listed buildings at 40-42 Elgin Road and replace them with a block of flats that would out of character with the existing streetscene and have a detrimental effect on neighbouring properties. The Council rightly turned down the application and the developer has appealed so the decision will now be made by a Government inspector based in Bristol (who, despite being completely unaccountable, is incredibly allowed to overrule the Council’s decision - about which, more in a few days time).
Because the buildings are locally-listed, anything that replaces them must be of equal merit. But bizarrely there is nothing to stop the developer just knocking them down and that is what he has just notified the Council he intends to do. I am supporting Maria, Russell, Andrew and the HOME Residents Association’s campaign to get the whole of the East India estate designated as a conservation area, which would provide this historic part of our borough with the necessary protection against both demolition of historic buildings and insensitive development.