Development gets approval despite concerns over parking
Its days as a High Street watering hole may be over but one Hertfordshire pub is set for a new lease of life as a block of six apartments.
Plans to transform The Boot in Baldock were given the green light by the North Herts District Council’s planning control committee, despite concerns that the four parking spaces listed in the proposal would not be enough.
Under the proposal, the pub would be extended to the rear and sides to create four two-bedroomed and two one-bed flats. However, the council’s own guidelines suggest that size of development should provide 10 spaces.
But, speaking in support of the application, planning consultant Tom Donovan was reported to have told the meeting that extensive local competition and the pub’s configuration made it unviable, making the switch to residential use the most logical as it would also contribute to the housing shortfall in the district.
And, while acknowledging a ‘slight’ under-provision, he said the four parking spaces were a ‘sensible compromise’.
Councillor Jim McNally, speaking as a community advocate, said the development was appropriate and sustainable but admitted serious concerns regarding parking. He was quoted in The Bucks Herald as saying: “Squeezing in small bays with inadequate manoeuvring space is simply asking for trouble.”
Officers told the committee the original plans included six spaces but were changed in response to the county council’s concerns that the cars would not be able to leave the spaces in a forward gear. But it was noted there were adequate alternatives for those without private transport, with a bus stop outside and the railway station within walking distance.
Although they expressed their concern about the parking issue, councillors voted in favour, with Cllr Tony Hunter saying: “Town centre developments are happening across the district without any parking whatsoever.
“I think if this committee were of a mind to throw it out on that issue, we would not stand a chance on appeal.”
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