Plan to demolish town’s healthcare centre to build flats rejected

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Plans to demolish a town’s former healthcare centre to build flats have been rejected.

Councillors said proposals to construct 12 homes on the “postage stamp” site in Horbury were “not in keeping” with the area.

The site, on Westfield Road, is next to a conservation area.

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Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee knocked back the application after a plea from the town’s civic society.

An application to demolish a former healthcare centre in Horbury to build 12 flats has been rejected  by Wakefield Council.An application to demolish a former healthcare centre in Horbury to build 12 flats has been rejected  by Wakefield Council.
An application to demolish a former healthcare centre in Horbury to build 12 flats has been rejected by Wakefield Council.

Graham Roberts, chair of trustees of Horbury Civic Society, told the meeting: “The civic society welcomes good development and we are certainly in favour of development of site of the old health care.

“It is currently an eyesore and a blot on the high street landscape.

“But what is proposed today is not good development.”

Mr Roberts said the design of the homes ‘rode roughshod’ over minimum space requirements for housing.

Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee knocked back the application after a plea from the town’s civic society.Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee knocked back the application after a plea from the town’s civic society.
Wakefield Council’s planning and highways committee knocked back the application after a plea from the town’s civic society.

He added: “Horbury is a successful place.

“It’s in all our interests to sustain that success.

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“This site is important for Horbury. It is on the high street immediately bordering a conservation area.

“This design, which is badly lacking in architectural quality, does nothing to create a sense of place.

“It falls far short of the quality we expect.

“We expect our council to support our efforts to protect our heritage.

“A mistake made here will be long-lasting.”

Committee member Gwen Page asked Mr Roberts: “What would be acceptable?”

He replied: “It just needs to be better.

“We want to keep it nice.

“This doesn’t do it and we want to see something better.

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“This is just done for profit. Quick, short-term profit was the motivation.”

Council officers had recommended the application be approved.

The former NHS building has not been in use since 2016 and has fallen into disrepair.

The plan included building two blocks of flats, each containing six one-bed properties.

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Objections were submitted by 43 people, including local councillors.

Resident living near to the site on Bank Street raised concerns about loss of privacy.

Christopher Lee, a property agent representing the applicant, said the development would improve the current derelict site and would allow people to get on the property ladder.

Coun Samantha Havery asked Mr Lee if the number of properties could be reduced from 12 to three or four.

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He replied: “Twelve works from a commercial point of view. There has to be a profit.”

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of rejecting the scheme.

Reasons given for refusal were that the plan was not in keeping with a conservation area, was overbearing to residents and was an over-development of the site.

Coun Steve Tulley said “Where does it as stop? What we have got, as far as I see, is a postage stamp.

“The only way you could support this application if you are prepared to reduce it by at least 50 per cent.”