CONTROVERSIAL plans to demolish a disused ice rink in downtown Warrington and replace it with an apartment building providing 144 one- and two-bedroom apartments that has received the green light from planners.
Members voted to approve the request despite opposition from nearby St Mary’s Church who said the development would be totally different from the local conservation area.
Father Konrad Loewenstein attended the meeting to voice his opposition due to the size and style of the development which he believes would impact the historic church which has sanctuary activities dating back 2,000 years.
He said the proposed building was “way too tall” and totally at odds with other buildings in the area which were Victorian or Georgian and the Gothic church building.
Cllr Les Morgan also expressed concerns about fire safety issues without a sprinkler alarm system in the current proposals.
But speaking in favor of the enforcement service, Cllr Tom Jennings said Warrington’s vision was to repopulate the city center to help it “regenerate and prosper.”
The building – formerly a Kwiksave supermarket on Academy Street and more recently a Skate Academy – will now make way for a mix of one and two bed properties, along with ancillary accommodation and 88 parking spaces.
Part of the ground floor will be used for retail, while there will also be an open space on the roof for people to sit.
Members of the borough’s development management committee postponed a decision previously after some councilors expressed disappointment that the program did not include affordable housing. During last night’s debate, no mention was made of the lack of affordable housing – although part of the meeting was held in private (part 2).
Two letters of objection were received claiming that the appearance of the building would be poor, without architectural value, that it would be incongruous in its surroundings and would have a negative impact on an area of architectural and historical interest.
All apartments would be for rent – but there is no provision for affordable housing.
Officers said the building would be acceptable in the area and recommended the project be approved.