The institute of Physics has submitted plans for a new building in the tired old site at the junction of Balfe Street and Cally Road, near Tesco behind the cocktail bar. I know there is a lot of local interest in this one and IoP have been consulting locally. People are keen to see this much abused site come back to life (it’s been a long time since TG Lynes left). But the site is in a conservation area and backs onto a much loved set of community gardens. A couple of pictures are pasted in here, but the full plans etc (P2014/3577/FUL) are online here where you can comment by 2 October. The drawings are in a big 30mb pdf and the planning statement thing which explains it in english is here.
Balfe Street elevation
No doubt there will be plenty of comments (please add below). Going through the material I keep returning to the sense that the IoP (who are lovely people and will i am sure be good neighbours) are trying to fit a quart into a pint pot here. As their planning statement says:
‘The IOP wants their HQ to be a statement building, promoting both excellence in design and the values of the IOP to achieve sustainable development. In achieving this it has been required to transcend the limitations of adopted policy and guidance, most noticeably in respect of the roof extensions to Caledonian Road and Balfe Street’.
The building proposed is substantially bigger than the volume of the existing buildings and is designed, self avowedly to be ‘eye catching’ which is odd in a conservation area. There seems to be a lot more glass and steel than one sees on York Way for instance. And the factory North light roof in glass is (literally) OTT.
So it’s a classic local planning debate – do we want nice new neighbours or to drive a coach and horses through the conservation area, which will then create a precedent for neighbouring properties.
I should declare an interest in that I own a small flat about 100 metres North of the site.