Controversy over homes proposal

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Opposition is building 
towards plans to create 13 new homes opposite the Botanical Gardens.

Developer Primesite UK wants to turn the former Wake Smith Solicitors offices on the corner of Clarkehouse Road and Rutland Park into nine apartments, as well as building four semi-detached town houses on the site of an existing extension and car park, extending to Southbourne Road.

So far there have been almost 20 objections.

Coun Magid Magid, Green Party councillor for the Broomhill and Sharrow Vale ward, is among the opponents.

Coun Magid cited concerns around the impact on parking - 10 spaces are planned for the apartments - and the size of the town houses.

“The application is inappropriate to the site and the design falls well short of the standards required in this location within the Broomhill Conservation Area,” he said.

“It should be withdrawn and only resubmitted after a major rethink.”

The councillor added: “These apartments will clearly be aimed at the top end of the market and that inevitably means car users not bus users. Rutland Park, Southbourne Road and the immediate area have very significant parking issues - hospital users, school runs, proximity to the Botanical Gardens among them - impacting on the residents’ parking schemes.”

However, in documents submitted to the council, designer Peak Architects, on behalf of Primesite, said: “The amount and scale of the development has been carefully considered throughout the design development of the proposed scheme in order to enhance the local context and character of the area.”

The main property - the old solicitors’ offices - was built as Victorian villas in the mid to late 1800s. Wake Smith moved from Clarkehouse Road to a new headquarters at the V1 Velocity building on West Bar earlier this year.

Planning officers will prepare a report ahead of a decision on whether to grant permission.