DEVELOPERS of a Kenilworth shopping centre are “reviewing their options” after planning permission to build new apartments and retail units was refused.
Warwick District Council’s planning committee voted to refuse a plan by Cobalt Estates to create 43 residential apartments and two new retail units on the site of Talisman Shopping Centre’s temporary car park.
Planning officers had recommended the plans be approved, but the committee went against officers’ advice.
Bill Wareing, spokesman for Cobalt Estates – the owners of Talisman Shopping Centre for the past 23 years, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that, after 18 months of consultation with Warwick District Council and responding to all of its requirements at considerable cost, that the planning committee has decided to refuse consent against the advice of officers. A very similar larger scheme had been granted planning permission in 2017.
“During Cobalt Estate’s ownership, we have managed to attract such retailers as Waitrose, Robert Dyas and WH Smith, amongst others, to Kenilworth town centre and have also assisted all of the businesses at Talisman Shopping Centre through the Covid crisis.
“I am really disappointed that a scheme that was to bring £15million of private investment to Kenilworth town centre, creating much needed residential accommodation for single and young people, as well as new business units, has been turned down in this manner in these difficult economic times. It feels like an opportunity missed which could have a long-lasting effect on the vitality of Kenilworth town centre, particularly having just lost the Wilko’s store.
“Cobalt Estates will now review their plans, look at the reasons for refusal and commence further discussions with Warwick District Council.”
There were a host of objections to the application from residents, as well as Kenilworth Town Council.
The town council objected to the proposal as members do not believe it harmonises with the surrounding buildings and is too great in mass.
They have also raised strong concerns about parking for prospective residents and point out there are no plans to include affordable housing.
There were also 143 letters of objection from residents.
Concerns included the design being too large for the site and out of character for the area, the impact it will have on nearby Grade II listed buildings The King’s Arms and the Castle Hotel, and the detrimental impact it could have on privacy.
Concern was also raised over the poor outlook the proposed apartments will have over the car park, while other residents said it would add to existing “parking stress” and traffic congestion and constitute a loss of community space. There were also fears about the loss of car park impacting on traders in the town.
Councillors refused to grant the appliaction on the grounds it would conflict with policies set out in both the Warwick District Local Plan and Kenilworth Neighbourhood Plan.
Planning officers recommended councillors to grant the application as they believed the design and scale of the development was acceptable and would add to the vitality of the town centre.