The Society is currently commenting on the planning application to refurbish the building at the station end of Station Road.
The Society is very pleased to see plans to improve the appearance of this site. Continuing the line of terraced houses along Station Road has the potential to enhance the setting of both the conservation area and the listed station complex.
Our main concern, however, is that the street level frontage to Station Road would not be in keeping with the character of the area in which the houses are to be set. All the buildings along Station Road have front doors and windows facing the street, clearly indicating their residential use. In contrast, the proposed frontage would be dominated by doors for bin store areas. There would be no normal windows. The ground floor would lack the interest which comes with a conventional residential frontage and, we fear, look more like a row of storage units than a terrace of houses.
Although this site is just outside the conservation area, it is one of the first places seen by people arriving at the station. Development on it must create an attractive entrance to the town for visitors. Although what is proposed may be better than the present eyesore, we would like to see improvements to what is proposed.
An attractive frontage to Station Road could readily be achieved by continuing the existing form of housing of which it will be a part, with conventional front doors and windows at street level. In addition each house could be provided with a small enclosed front garden by making use of part of the present forecourt. Although as currently proposed, the houses have no rear access, this could be provided by a shared path from Victoria Road, which could be used to reach bin and cycle storage at the rear.
The Society would welcome and support revised plans which create a more appropriate and attractive frontage to Station Road.
A couple of pictures from the application are shown below.