Agenda item

21/02364/FUL & 21/0364/LBC Charlton House, Cirencester Road, Charlton Kings GL53 9NE


The Planning Officer presented the report, which related to the demolition of a 20th-century wing and the erection of a replacement extension to an office building. It was before the committee at the request of Cllr. McCloskey, due to the level of local interest and objections to the scheme.

Speaking in objection to the application as a local resident, Mr Mark Smith outlined six key concerns with the summary report. The increase in glazing due to the modern design of the extension would have a more significant impact on privacy than the report acknowledged. The Architects Panel had not commented on the application, so there were no formal comments to say that it was a good design, while incorrect information had been submitted and analysed by the Highways Officer. The question of height was open to bias, as it was more of a stylistic point, while inaccurate information had been provided about the top floor plant room. Finally, the objections raised by residents had not been fully taken into account, with one particular representation being excluded from the supplementary information. He suggested that with this in mind, it would be irrational to proceed with the application.

Speaking in support of the application representing Spirex Sarco, Mr Nathan McLoughlin emphasised that they were committed to delivering an outstanding building linked to the council’s drive towards carbon neutrality. The current structure was not able to deliver this, and the application aimed at changing this. The objections had been taken into account where possible. He was happy that the officer had balanced social and environmental needs against the heritage impact.

Speaking in objection to the application as Ward Member, Cllr. Boyes sought to outline the wider policy context. The cornerstone of heritage legislation and of NPPF was heritage preservation in a manner appropriate to their significance. The proposed works as submitted did not comply with this, as they would not sustain the listed building and its setting. The initial heritage report submitted by the applicant suggested that any extension would appear subordinate to the main building, but this would not be the case, with a higher roof line by more than six metres in some places. The architect’s illustration did not reflect its size, while the planned extension was overly bulky and insufficiently subservient to the existing building. Instead, it needed to complement and respect neighbouring buildings without compromising architectural integrity, while paying attention to character and historical context. This application failed to comply with these principles or take the topology of the area into account. She recognised Spirex Sarco’s value as an employer and that the building was past its best, but believed that the application was not suitable.

Member questions

One Member asked whether Heritage England had commented, and whether they were asked to. The Interim Head of Planning responded that there was no requirement to consult them on this type of application, only on Grade 1 or particularly large sites. If they had been consulted, they would have likely sent a standard response about this not being in their remit.

One Member asked about the standards for curtilage. The Interim Head of Planning explained that this was generally dependent on whether it was built before 1948, but it was not relevant to this case.

One Member asked whether the waste management plan was sufficient. The Planning Officer responded that a full waste management scheme had been submitted, and it had been not included in the report as there had been no objections to it.

Member debate

One Member advocated a pragmatic approach. It was always a shame to demolish a listed building, but the merits of the new building appeared to be greater. Another Member echoed this, noting that the council had made an ambitious commitment to enhance the town by moving ahead with new buildings. This building would welcome people to the town and show them that it was modern and up to date.

One Member suggested it was a difficult application, since it was fantastic design that was also too big and in the wrong place. It was right on the edge of a conservation area and very close to smaller houses which would be impacted, so they could not support it. Another Member praised the design, while another Member suggested that the corner and back of it would be ugly and imposing for local residents.

One Member noted that height was a problem, as it would dominate the street and views of the escarpment. They proposed refusal on grounds of JCS SD4, relating to context, character and sense of place. Another Member seconded this and suggested policy SD8 and NPFF paragraphs 16, 197c, 199, 202 and 203 as further possible reasons.

One Member noted that size was not necessarily a disqualifying factor. Another Member suggested that although it was a large building, its orientation meant that it would improve the views without harming the original site, leading to a roughly neutral heritage impact overall.

There being no further comments, the Chair moved to the vote on the officer recommendation to permit and grant.

FOR: 4




Supporting documents: