Victorian villa in Cleethorpes will not be demolished to make way for Iceland store
A HISTORIC Victorian villa in the heart of Cleethorpes has been saved from demolition.
Controversial plans to knock down the former Wilkin Chapman building on St Peter’s Avenue and replace it with a new Iceland food store have been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.
The application by landowner Maligues Properties Ltd was initially rejected by North East Lincolnshire’s Planning Committee last August, prompting the company to appeal.
Inspector Karen Baker upheld the council’s decision, concluding that the proposed development would “harm the character and appearance of the area”.
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In her report, she described the existing red-brick building as “an attractive property” which has a “strong, positive presence in the streetscene that is reflective of local history and character”.
By contrast, she said the proposed retail building would appear “prominent and visually obtrusive”.
The decision has been welcomed by Cleethorpes councillors and residents who have campaigned to save the building from demolition.
The historic villa has been included on a draft Local List of Historic Assets of Special Interest for Cleethorpes, and is also the subject of an Article 4 Direction, which prevents it from being demolished without planning permission.
Councillor Keith Brookes (Con, Haverstoe) said: “This is excellent news for Cleethorpes.
“Over the years in North East Lincolnshire we have demolished so many historic buildings, so it is nice for once to have saved something and I hope the people will appreciate it.
“It is really up to Iceland now to decide whether or not to accommodate their store in the present property.”
Councillor Matthew Brown (Lab, Croft Baker) said: “Heritage in North East Lincolnshire is very important and it is vital that the roots of an area are not lost whilst we move with the times.
“This building is an example of one of the last remaining Victorian villas.
“One potential use could be a youth hostel for travellers and tourists. It would also make a nice location for a doctor’s surgery or a restaurant.”
Barry Waby, chairman of Cleethorpes Renaissance Town Team, said: “It would have been a shame to lose this building which is a focal point of the street.”
Jason Longhurst, head of development at North East Lincolnshire Council, added: “We will always promote sustainable developments which enhance the character of our area, and which support the growth of our economy and job creation.
“But it is important that we resist schemes where the benefits do not outweigh the harm to the places we live, work and visit. I would encourage the developers to come and speak to us again about how we can see this building brought back into use, or to hear what other ideas they might have for the site.”
Mason Partners, the agent acting on behalf of Maligues Properties Ltd, was unavailable for comment.