Councillors grant permission for flats to be built on land behind Alma Lodge Hotel
A plan to build eight flats on land next to the Alma Lodge Hotel in the town centre has been agreed even though planning officers recommended they be thrown out.
Planner Maxine Simmons flagged up a number of concerns during the latest meeting of Rugby Borough Council’s December 4 planning committee for the proposed building at the rear of 30 Albert Street which had been put forward by Dr Jim Shera who is a councillor in the area.
These included the harm the new building would bring to both Alma Lodge and the surrounding conservation area and also the loss of light due to how close together the flats would be.
The meeting also heard that there were objections from neighbours including the owner of Quigleys bar who argued that it was likely that future residents in the flats would complain about noise coming from the Albert Street venue which has staged live music for 30 years.
Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Lib Dem Paddox) said: “This is a finely balanced application.
"One of the big concerns I have is that there is just 1.5m between the properties and the loss of light. That starts to beg questions to me as to how sustainable it is.
“But then the other issue is one of viability where we have to maximise everything to get the job away.
“I’m sure that if these plans were taken away and redrawn in a more sympathetic way then you could come up with a more imaginative type of scheme that could go forward.”
But others pushed for the existing scheme to be given the green light.
Cllr Tony Gillias (Con Revel and Binley Woods) said: “I have driven past the Alma Lodge on many occasions and it is a fine building that faces Albert Street. But when you get around the back it is very poor to the eye.
“I do like the design of this new building and it will obscure most of John Barford car park and would be very pleasing to the eye when driving up Albert Street.
“I am concerned about the proximity to Alma Lodge but the desire to have this building in this location will be beneficial - not just to the streetscene but to the borough as a whole in regards to those seeking accommodation.”
Councillors approved the plans by five votes to four.