A scheme for retirement flats in Horsham was rejected with councillors calling plans ‘ugly’ and a ‘monstrosity’.
Developer McCarthy and Stone planned to demolish the empty office building Norfolk House in North Street and construct a new five-storey block of 21 retirement apartments, but plans were thrown out by Horsham District Council last Tuesday.
Planning officers recommended the scheme be refused on the grounds of design, with the mass, scale and height of the building representing an overdevelopment of the site.
Norfolk Road resident John Connolly called it an ‘overblown and disproportionate planning application’, while John Walker-Lee felt it would be ‘overpowering and inappropriate’ compared to the surrounding buildings.
David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) described the area of Victorian houses as having ‘great character’, and questioned the developer’s wishes to close off Norfolk Road for construction work.
Frances Haigh (LDem, Horsham Park) said: “I think it’s a pity that McCarthy and Stone have not been able to come up with a building that fits into the area. It’s a special part of Horsham.”
Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) added: “I think it’s out of character, it’s ugly, it’s too big and looks like something out of Moscow Central in the 1950s.”
Meanwhile Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) expressed disappointment that McCarthy and Stone had not been able to bring something forward that was fit for purpose or in keeping with the area.
He added: “This in inappropriate. It’s something 40 to 50 per cent bigger. It’s just a monstrosity. Even if it was in keeping with the scale of existing buildings the design is not appropriate and in keeping.”
An application for prior approval to convert the existing offices into 17 residential units was submitted to HDC in 2013, while a further application for alterations to the building is pending.