Members of Richmondshire District Council planning committee yesterday (Tuesday, July 29) resolved to allow applicants Mulberry Homes Yorkshire to make a start on the house and apartment complex at former care home Richmond House, in Reeth Road, Richmond.
However, councillors said there were still issues around road safety, pedestrian crossings, zinc covering one of the more prominent roof lines, and some roof-level windows that needed to be less obtrusive.
Chief planning officer Peter Featherstone said: “The layout is hugely different and big improvements have been made.
“Consultees are also welcoming the changes, but there are still a couple of concerns that need addressing.”
Ward councillor Stuart Parsons said he felt it was a fantastic improvement since the plans were first submitted to the committee in April, when it was labelled as “bland and inappropriate for its surroundings”.
The development site, which overlooks Temple Grounds and has panoramic views of the Swale valley and Richmond Castle, was described in April by Cllr Linda Curran as unique – and she said a site like it would not become available in Richmondshire again.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Parsons said the roof line windows, that would give an unwanted reflection and be visible to people across the valley, could easily be dealt with, and that alternative roofing materials to zinc should be considered.
Mark Whyman, from the Richmond and District Civic Society, said he had no doubt a lot of progress had been made on the Temple Grounds elevation of the project.
He said: “However, we remain unhappy about the size of the Victoria Road elevation and the use of zinc on a very prominent feature.
“The zinc is referred to in the planning officer’s report, which offers Trinity Church in Richmond’s Market Place as an example of the visually successful use of zinc in the town.
“In one sense I have to agree with this as you can’t see it – a very limited view can be obtained from the highest level of the castle and even that is obstructed.”
Cllr Parsons added: “There are serious problems that need addressing with Highways.
“We need to have a priority system rather than just a little roundabout that will get congested and add to Richmond’s traffic problems.”
Chris Dennis, director of P&HS Architects working for Mulberry Homes, said: “We have worked every inch of the way with the council to ensure we produce a scheme that addresses concerns by residents.
“We believe it now reflects the unique character of Richmond and is worthy of this wonderful site.”
Councillors agreed to approve the plans so development could begin – but the committee chairman and vice-chairman, Cllrs Jane Parlour and John Blackie, together with Mr Featherstone and ward members Cllrs Parsons and Curran, would work to address the outstanding issues of highways, the zinc roof and windows with the applicant.