Transformation plans for run-down property in 'highly-desirable' area could be blocked by council

A plan to transform a run down property near Lichfield Cathedral could be blocked by the district council despite being backed by residents in the area.

Lichfield
Lichfield

Friel Homes’ proposals are for the former Angel Croft Hotel and adjacent Grade II listed Westgate House and Cottage in Beacon Street. The 18th century hotel has already been refurbished by the company after it was vandalised and raided by thieves.

The scheme would see 29 new homes - a mix of houses and apartments - created at the site alongside eight existing homes and a new 12-bedroom boutique hotel and spa.

There would also be a 54-space basement car park and a pedestrian/cycle path running through to Beacon Park across a proposed footbridge.

More than 40 letters have been submitted supporting the application. The area has been branded “an eyesore” and it is felt the development “will attract more residents and tourists”.

The proposed architecture has been praised as “outstanding” and road improvements, including a 20mph zone, would be “a huge benefit”.

Beacon Street Area Residents Association support the proposal, considering it “well thought out and sympathetic to the character of the Beacon Street area and city of Lichfield as a whole”.

Lichfield District Council has, however, recommended the scheme for refusal.

A report to a meeting of the council’s planning committee next Wednesday, which will consider the application, says the scheme would result “in a poorly articulated and visually cramped form of development which does not respect or reflect the character of the Lichfield City Centre Conservation Area”.

“The proposal would cause harm to the significance of heritage assets, Lichfield City Centre Conservation Area, Beacon Park Grade II Registered Park and Garden and listed buildings Angel Croft, Westgate House, Westgate Cottage, Darwin Erasmus House and Lichfield Cathedral by virtue of impact on their settings,” the report adds.

Historic England, the Government’s advisor on the historic environment agrees believing the proposal is an “over intensive development of this extremely sensitive site”.

“We are not aware that any of the listed buildings within the site are considered to be ‘at risk’ or in need of urgent or substantial repair.

“Furthermore, whilst they may be under-utilised at present, this is a highly desirable part of Lichfield and opportunities do exist for individual sensitive conversion if necessary,” Historic England added.

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