Suttle House – Civic Trust Response

 REPRESENTATIONS IN RESPECT OF APPLICATION 14/0363

PROPOSED DEMOLITION OF GRADE II LISTED BUILDING

SUTTLE HOUSE, WIGTON ROAD, CARLISLE

Carlisle and District Civic Trust are strongly opposed to this application to demolish Suttle House.

It is to be noted that consent for the redevelopment of this site for housing relied heavily upon the retention and conservation of Suttle House itself at Appeal (APP/E0915/A/06/2029472) with the additional development enabling the conservation of a Heritage Asset. Had this not been the case it is likely the Appeal would have been lost and the opportunity to resurrect Suttle House in a more appropriate setting would have remained alive.

Inspector Keith P Durrant MA BArch(Hons) RIBA ARIAS MRTPI FRSA wrote in his Appeal Decision Letter at paragraph 4:

“I conclude, therefore, that the chosen urban design concept and resultant architectural form, sympathetic materials and landscaping is locally appropriate; and will both preserve the setting of Suttle House and be compatible with the character of the adjacent residential areas…”

Whereas the Trust questions whether the density of the surrounding development was appropriately supported by the inspector it supports the design concept which focusses pre-eminence on the vista to Suttle House from Wigton Road i.e. as intended in its original and repaired form regarding which the inspector recorded within his paragraph 3:

“… the layout enhances the prominence of Suttle House from Wigton Road by creating a potentially attractive space around it…”

At paragraph 128 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) we note that in determining applications including heritage assets, that local planning authorities (LPA) should require an applicant to describe the significance of the asset including the contribution made to its setting and at para 129 the LPA should take such an assessment into account.

In compliance with much of the NPPF para 128 the applicant has submitted a detailed ‘Historic Building Appraisal’. The Trust has read this appraisal and find the case proven for the retention and repair of Suttle House. There is no justification to be found within the appraisal in support of the application – indeed it acts as a very concise statement of the quality of the architectural survival and its historic significance and, therefore, why the application should be refused. It is unusual for an application for demolition to be submitted to an Authority with such a candid, conflicting and unsupportive document.

The Trust also wishes to support the consultation response by the Georgian Group which echoes our own views on this highly damaging proposal.

The Trust believes the successful appeal allowed harm to the heritage asset’s setting which currently would not meet the requirements in para 132 of the NPPF – this being the likely case it makes the retention of Suttle House all the more important and for its setting to be made no worse than the extant consent.

We would also like to draw the Authority’s attention, once again, to the ongoing damage by vandalism and lack of necessary maintenance and that the applicant, as owner, has an obligation to maintain the listed building and that any depletion in condition will not, in any way, alter or influence determination of this application which, we believe, should be a resounding rejection as supported by para 130 and elsewhere within the NPPF.

 

REPRESENTATIONS IN RESPECT OF APPLICATION 14/0362

PROPOSED HOUSE TYPE & LAYOUT ALTERATIONS

SUTTLE HOUSE, WIGTON ROAD, CARLISLE

Carlisle and District Civic Trust wish to make representations opposing aspects of this application. This representation should also be read in conjunction with the Trust’s views of application 14/0363 by the same applicant.

It is understood that redevelopment of this site to application 06/0692 has been allowed at Appeal APP/E0915/A/06/2029472 for 41 dwellings and commenced in amended form 07/1357 for 33 dwellings. The development site sits within the curtilage of a grade II listed building.

We note the application follows trading changes to Border Construction and the involvement of the Esh Group. Esh now seek to reduce the density of the number of dwellings proposed and substitute their own house types.

The Trust would welcome the reduction in density if it did not introduce negative and discordant elements which adversely affect the setting of the listed building.

In the approved scheme a significant ‘buffer’ space is provided around Suttle House itself. Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the extant consent are tightly linked elements offering a processional symmetry from Wigton Road inducing a focussing effect. This emphasises its character and enhances the main facade of the listed building which, as a result, is uncluttered and retained, respectfully, as a dominant feature. In contrast the current application shows no hierarchy to the development and detached dwellings appear to simply be distributed with little cognisance to any processional symmetry or deference to the setting of the listed building.

Of significant concern is the introduction of isolated ‘pavilion’ garages close to the access road where the vista of Suttle House from Wigton Road is entirely lost. This was a particularly redeeming element in the approved scheme – and referred to favourably by the Inspector at his paragraph 3 in his Decision Letter.

In addition the house types themselves are generic standard designs typical of volume house builders developing across many regions. This is considered unacceptable in Carlisle and North Cumbria where local distinctiveness should be recognised and essential within the curtilage of a listed building like Suttle House.

The Trust opposes approval of this application in its current form. It urges the Local Planning Authority to ensure:

  • The retention of a symmetrical and understated vista of Suttle House from Wigton Road.
  • No garages or other visual obstructions to obscure the vista.
  • New development is kept a discrete distance from the listed building – no closer than the existing approval.
  • External house materials and forms to reflect Carlisle’s local distinctiveness.

 

Carlisle & District Civic Trust                            www.carlislecivictrust.org.uk

4 September 2014