Objection to TWC/2016/0816 -Royal Victoria Hotel -conversion to 7 no. apartments and 21 terraced dwellings.

Mews Housing

We object to the failure to designate any proportion of the proposed houses as ‘affordable homes’.
We understand from the presentation by Mr Phil Edwards of Telford & Wrekin Council to the 20th July 2016 Plans Committee, that certain developer costs can be used to reduce the affordable element and acknowledge that the developer for this application has stated that in his view the rules mean no affordable homes are to be provided for this application. However, given that T&W are considerably behind the target figure of 35% affordable homes for Newport, we would have hoped that through its new Nuplace Limited commercial company, expressly set up to develop affordable homes , T&W would have approached the developer to invest some of the £3.2m that T&W are to receive from developers on two sites elsewhere in Newport/ Church Aston towards the provision of much needed affordable homes in Newport/Church Aston.
The site is ideal for affordable home designation being in the centre of Newport and opposite the safe children’s play area on Victoria Park. It is a brownfield site which does not suffer from any contamination. This can be contrasted with application TWC/2016/0535 where the council through Nuplace Limited are looking to put affordable homes on the previously designated employment land most recently used as the council recycling centre for Newport which suffers from:-
– carbon dioxide in the ground which will need to be vented as per the Groundswork Investigation Report;
– significant adverse noise which will impact on residents as per the Environmental Noise Survey Assessment;
-is located on the edge of town away from the shops and services;
– as per planning officer Kate Stephens when responding re increased traffic issues on Station Road for application TWC/2013/0855 at the Plans Committee on 20th July 2016, she stated that ‘uncontrolled vehicle movements’ on industrial estates can be a problem re. housing, which has implications for the safety of children and elderly/disabled.

For the above reasons we would ask that the Plans Committee urge officers to discuss with Nuplace Limited, the diversion of the part of the funds from the Springfields application and invest in the housing on this application. The council will get better value for its money on this application as opposed to the additional costs to deal with contamination and noise etc. on part of the Springfields development. More importantly, it will provide a far better living experience for the families/ residents which must surely be a paramount consideration.

We also request the reason why the existing two cottages on the boundary of the site with Water Lane need to be demolished as we understand they are Victorian cottages and ,as such, part of Newport’s heritage. It was only in recent years that we understand they were refurbished and brought back into use. Demolition of existing housing stock is surely unnecessary.

See also our comments under Apartments below re. concerns about the increase in the amount of housing stock being used or converted to student housing/flats.

Parking and Access

We are concerned as to the limited parking available on the site.
The developer may well expect and hope that residents will use the council owned car park opposite the site. However, since the regrettable loss of the car parking spaces for the hotel, the council car park is now regularly full and cars that now park on Water Lane cause problems to traffic flow due to the narrow and winding nature of the lane. To add to this with the overflow of cars from both the apartments and the housing will only exacerbate the problems of access along Water Lane.
With other brownfield land along Water Lane also to be the subject of housing development, the site needs to provide sufficient car parking spaces, otherwise if the same few spaces are included on the applications for other sites along Water Lane then the lane will become extremely dangerous both for traffic and pedestrians as well as creating a bottleneck further on.
We would also ask for clarification as to the right of way across the car park from Water Lane to St Mary’s Street which has been used by residents for decades.


We note with great surprise that it is intended that all the ground floor of the former hotel is also intended to be used for apartments. When we discussed the closure of the hotel with Mr Michael Barker, former Head of Planning, at various Newport Regeneration Partnership meetings, he was in agreement that it was important to retain the ground floor for commercial and/or restaurant use. The listed Hotel has formed part of the commercial life and heritage of St Mary’s Street for almost two centuries and this change of use now threatens to change even more the commercial viability of this end of the High St,particularly since the loss of the adjacent former sorting office and Parkhill House to student flats. We are concerned as to the proportion of housing being used by private landlords for student housing ( which may include the new housing stock) both as regards the reduction in housing stock for local families to occupy as well as upward pressure locally on house prices and on rental levels. We understand that Newport Town Council are to include a specific section in the Newport Neighbourhood Plan concerning pressures on housing and related social issues.

We would ask why the commercial use of the ground floor has not been put forward by officers in the pre-consultation discussions with the developer as indicated to us by Mr Barker.

Pre-Application Public Consultation

As far as we are aware and from the information provided on the application form, no public exhibition/consultation of the proposed plans has been undertaken by the applicant.
In view of the central location,historic nature of the premises and the role of the building in the life of the town, we find this absence of pre-consultation with the residents of Newport of great concern.

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