Rushden memorial clinic flat conversion refused AGAIN

The former NHS clinic dates back to the 1890s.
The former NHS clinic dates back to the 1890s.

Plans to convert the former Rushden Memorial Clinic into a flat block for the over-55s have been knocked back again.

East Northants Council’s planning committee turned down the plans to turn the former Victorian villa in Hayway into 14 flats because members decided it would be an overdevelopment of the building and would negatively impact on a non-designated heritage asset.

This was the third time a scheme for the former NHS clinic, which was purchased by Rushden residents in the 1940s to care for people who had fought in the war, have been refused. Until 2011 it was run by the NHS which then moved to the Nene Park outpatients clinic in Irthlingborough.

There is an appeal being taken forward against an earlier decision to refuse for a similar development of the site.

At the meeting last night (Jul10) a number of planning committee members spoke out against the scheme. Cllr Gill Mercer said the extension ‘was a step too far’.

The meeting heard that a planning clause to only sell the homes to the over-55s was not enforceable.

Ward councillor Dorothy Maxwell, who is not on the planning committee, spoke out against the plans for the red brick villa.

She said: “This development has been turned down for mass over-development. The latest application has increased the number of flats to 14 from 10. What’s changed? Who thinks the over/55s like living in boxes? The sizes of these flats are very small and the kitchen, lounge leaves little space to move around and there is no family space at all unless you are matchstick people.

“These flats will be sold to anyone and rented out, in all likelihood, to a transient population.

“The history of this house is important: it forms part of local heritage going back to 1890.”

Cllr Maxwell said nearby residents did not have an issue with the property being developed, but it should be for a smaller number of larger apartments and sensitive to the exterior of the building.

The plans put forward by the developer included extending to the side of the building and having a flat roof extension. It would have included 10 two bedroom and four bed flats.

The refusal was proposed by Cllr Andy Mercer and was unanimous agreed.