Published Date: 05 February 2009
Multi-million-pound proposals for a three-storey Roman baths museum in the heart of Chichester have been given the go-ahead despite opposition from residents.
Permission was granted for the plans by the district council’s planning committee, which has sparked outrage among residents living nearby.
The controversial developments were criticised by resident Mike Lawson, who lives opposite the site in Tower Street.
“The design is a huge monolithic monstrosity,” he said.
“We probably do need a museum in the city and this is the right location for it. But it is not in context with the houses around it because of its bulk and mass.
“We are not going to have a building that future generations are going to be proud of.”
There was a wide difference in opinion at the planning meeting. Voting was 7-5 in favour.
Colin Rhodes, whose house is opposite where the museum’s entrance will be, said: “It will be a featureless block and will tower over the existing homes. It has been shoe-horned into a small parcel of land.”
The proposals were strongly criticised by Chichester City Council, the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee and some local residents, but praised by the South East Regional Design Forum.
Architect Keith Williams told the committee an ‘exemplary project’ had been created, which would underscore Chichester’s cultural future.
It would be capable of extension, and would provide more than twice the exhibition space available at the current museum.
“I see it as a key part of the city’s future architectural heritage,” he said at the meeting. “I do believe this will be an extremely fine building. It is a subtle building, not showy, which is right for the city.”
A call has also been made for the district council to put the whole £6.9m scheme on hold until the money is available to provide a better development.
HOME PLAN RECEIVES GO-AHEAD
A new block of 26 flats proposed for a site next to the Roman baths museum was given the go-ahead by district councillors.
This scheme will raise funds to help provide the museum, together with proceeds from the sale of the existing museum site, in Little London.
Proposals were criticised by city councillors and conservationists, but planning officers recommended approval, and voting by the southern area development control committee was 7-4 in favour.
The decision is subject to the completion of a formal legal agreement.
Filed under: Britain |