Town office block gets green light for conversion to 46 flats

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Christchurch flats
The designs for the site in Somerford Road, Christchurch (Image: Arc Architecture)

PLANS to extend a “redundant” office block in Christchurch and convert it into a block of dozens of flats have been approved.

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BCP Council has granted planning permission to London-based developers to extend 153 Somerford Road into a four-storey residential building, despite concerns about it being a retail-focused area, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Planning officers said the scheme would make a “valuable social contribution” to the town.

Applicant 153 Somerford Holdings Ltd had two proposals to convert the office building into 25 and 27 flats approved by the council last year.

But in November, it put forward more ambitious plans to add an extra two storeys to the building to house 48 one- and two-bedroom flats.

As a result of discussions with council planning officers, it later revised the scheme, reducing the number of flats by two.

Despite being classed as a “major” development due to its scale, no affordable housing is included due to concerns it would be unprofitable if a contribution had been made.

Three objections were made to the application, with particular concern raised about potential issues with the provision of residential accommodation in a retail-focused area.

Despite these, BCP Council has granted planning permission for the development due to concerns that the area was not meeting the requirement to have a five-year supply of new housing schemes.

Planning officer Sophie Mawdsley said concerns raised had been “carefully considered” and that potential flooding issues on the site had been overcome.

“The development would contribute an additional 46 residential units towards the five-year housing land supply and as such make a valuable social contribution to the Christchurch area,” she said.

“The site is within a sustainable location, being within walking distance of local services and facilities.

“Furthermore, the development would provide some economic benefit through employment during the construction phase and it enables the re-development of an empty site on one of main corridors in the area.”

A spokesperson for the developer said: “The plans have been meticulously designed to meet the growing requirement for high quality housing priced at an attainable level for the residents of Christchurch.

“Springacre Property group are working with a local contractor, who in turn will provide extensive employment opportunities throughout the 15-month build program.

“It was an opportunity to redesign a tired, redundant building and give it a new lease of life, whilst making a valuable contribution to local housing provisions.

“We are scheduled to deliver this exciting new scheme in spring 2022, and are confident it will have a positive impact on the local community. “

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I am sick of councils allowing, these people to come in and build what they like ,they are ugly and not in keeping . These are not affordable or for locals . You wonder why we get flooding….the amount of concrete your putting in the ground is it any surprise???.I was raised when purewell was a village and Christchurch was a town with fields and farm now it’s a mass of concrete and over populated the drs,hospitals and schools , cant cope, the roads are a mess all your thinking about is greed of the council tax .

    • What a ridiculous comment from S Bailey! This building already exists, so how much additional concrete do you think will be poured into the ground – they’re extending upwards not outwards? Look at the footprint on Google Maps and you won’t see a significant change. Exactly what flooding do you anticipate this will generate? Also, you say it’s not in keeping with the local area but, if you knew anything about this site, given your long association with the town, you’d know it is significantly screened from the road and not really in an area of existing housing – so, I ask, in keeping with what? The retail unit next door? The pub over the road? And what difference does it make and to whom…? Do your research before making yourself look stupid. Finally, how do you know they’re not going to be affordable for locals? Crystal ball perhaps?

      How about focussing your attention instead on using the correct form of “you’re” rather than “your”. It might help you to be taken seriously.

  2. So at least 48 more cars trying to get onto and off of Somerford Road. Someone has thought that through haven’t they. None of these flats are going to be affordable housing because of the cost! 1 & 2 bedroom holiday lockups?
    No thanks.

  3. I can only agree Christchurch is full look what there doing with the old police station sardines comes to mind

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