We take a look the latest and successful planning application for flats at Burlington House on Burlington Street, Chesterfield, in this post.
After the rejection of earlier schemes, mainly because the floor area of many of the proposed flats was below the statutory minimum, the Borough Council earlier this month approved new plans for the conversion of the two upper floors of Burlington House into flats, and the addition of a third floor.
It’s fair to say that Burlington House is a typical 1960s design that lacked quality from the outset; however, it is part of the town’s conservation area and would benefit from the improvements that the proposed development would bring. This being the case, conversion into flats is probably the best achievable short-term solution.
The Civic Society committee has consistently supported flat conversion schemes in the town centre, since we feel that the town would benefit from having more people living in it, and in any case buildings should be used, not left empty.
On the other hand, these should not be done at any price. Some recent proposals have been for very small flats. Despite the revisions that have been made to the Burlington House proposals, there may still be the risk that the flats will be bought by speculators who will rent them out to vulnerable people with nowhere else to live. This is not something anyone would wish to see in a town where great efforts were made by the local authority in the twentieth centre to sweep away a bitter legacy of very poor slum housing. We do not wish to see new slums created.
(The Civic Society wrote in support of this latest scheme, but unfortunately our detailed submission failed to be added to the file for the application and was not referred to in the officer’s planning committee report).