Nearly 100 apartments are to be built on a scruffy, overgrown stretch of land which forms one of the main gateways into Rugby.
Increased traffic, air quality worries and potential parking problems were all considered by councillors at this week’s planning committee of Rugby Borough Council before they voted in favour of the development on the corner of Newbold Road and Wood Street, just be the railway bridge.
“It is about time the town was tidied up and as this as part of the entrance to the town then it will make it look a lot better,” admitted Cllr Belinda Garcia (Con Revel and Binley Woods).
And Cllr Peter Butlin (Con Admirals and Cawston) added: “We are not going to get the perfect solution and will have to compromise if we are to get anything at all on this site – it has been derelict for a considerable time.”
A report from planning officer Nigel Reeves explained that the scheme would see 98 apartments built on the former gas works. A number of containers now litter the land which has most recently been used by a car wash business.
He said that the building would range between three and five storeys, the tallest part being on the most prominent corner of the site to provide a landmark feature for those driving into town. Different building materials will be used ranging from red brick and wooden boarding through to zinc roof panels.
Mr Reeves explained that a previous application with 81 parking spaces from developer Harcourt Rugby Ltd was opposed by highways bosses at Warwickshire County Council and Rugby District Council’s own environmental health team but these objections had been overcome when the car park was reduced to just 61 spaces.
But neighbours remain unhappy with six letters of objection being sent in, the majority of them highlighting the lack of parking in the area with the nearby Worcester Street the only road not part of a residents’ permit scheme.
Others objected to the pavement on one side of Newbold Road being narrowed as part of the development so that a ‘ghost island’ could be constructed to help cars turning right into the car park.
Cllr Kieren Brown (Lab Newbold and Brownsover) said: “There have been significant parking issues and there probably will be in the future but I cannot see any reason why this cannot be approved. We need to use this brownfield land and we need more houses for those who can afford them.”
Councillors granted planning permission with just two voting against it.