Development Control Manager
Planning Application No: 14/00433/FULM
Dear Mr Harris,
We thank officers for suggesting that were invited to see a presentation and meet the team promoting the proposed development. That has been very helpful in understanding the proposals and how the scheme has evolved.
We strongly support the granting of planning permission for this project. The overall design, scale, height and relationship with the existing Grade 1 listed building is excellent. Not only is it designed to provide high quality accommodation for residents the project is well conceived to integrate with the existing historic accommodation and to facilitate links with further development in the future. The incorporation of the 'Passivhaus' standard into the new buildings is a very progressive move which is excellent in terms of sustainability and securing low cost heating and ventilation for residents. Adoption of this standard which reduces heating costs by up to 90% is good for sustainability and highly beneficial to residents. In the UK to the end of 2013 only 250 developments in all building sectors had been certified to Passive House standards so it is excellent to see adoption of this initiative here in Lichfield.
There are only two matters on which we have a reservation that the officers may wish to consider exploring with St John's Hospital representatives.
The first relates to the gable ends of the two new blocks as viewed from Birmingham Road. The current proposal is to finish the exterior of the top floor with copper cladding. We consider something in keeping with the high quality of the scheme and the importance of St John's Hospital could be more appropriate. With a suitable setting there could be an opportunity to include on a gable end a cross based on the design used by St John's Hospital. It could be a distinctive and dominant feature on public view unlike the most of the hidden environment of St John's.
The second issue is the brickwork. We agree that an interesting, suitably coloured and textured brick from the Charnwood range has been selected. The concern is how the brick bonding and mortar treatment will be executed with the non-standard brick size. Some clarification of that issue is worthy of detailed exploration in our view as a reserved matter.
It is highly commendable that the trustees of the charity as custodians of this historic jewel in the City are seeking to achieve a scheme which is vastly superior to nearby commercial developments that have been built recently and another new scheme that is currently being promoted.
We are sending a copy our comments to Chris Timothy the planning consultant for St John's Hospital.