Call for new apartments plan in prominent Chesterfield town centre building to be rejected

A call has been made for planners to reject proposals to turn part of a prominent Chesterfield town centre building into flats.

Friday, 29th April 2022, 1:10 pm
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 1:12 pm

Developers hope to convert and refurbish the first and second floors of the mock Tudor 43 Knifesmithgate, which will create four town centre apartments.

Chesterfield and District Civic Society says it tries to support any plans to ‘bring empty property back into beneficial use’, but has issues with the current proposal.

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A call has been made for planners to reject a proposal to turn part of this prominent Chesterfield town centre building into flats.

Chairman Philip Riden said the flats are too small and feature ‘odd-shaped rooms’.

"We do wonder if the applicant has actually thought about who might want to live in such small flats, especially the one with a triangular living room and a triangular bedroom,” Mr Riden said.

"Only, we suspect, tenants of very limited means unable to afford anything better.

"We feel that it would be much better to aim flats on Knifesmithgate at a better class of tenant, who would pay more rent, stay longer and probably look after the property better.”

A planning statement, published on the council website, says the proposed development will ‘hardly alter the general external appearance to Knifesmithgate at all’, and will fit in with ‘the character of the surrounding buildings in terms of scale and appearance’.

Mr Riden said it was important to consider the front elevation to Knifesmithgate.

"Most of the black and white buildings on Knifesmithgate are not individually listed but are in a Conservation Area.

"This means the street frontages should be conserved.

"No 43 is a striking, very nicely detailed frontage, with a double jetty as well as a pillared arcade over the pavement.”

He added: “Our considered view is that the application in its present form should be rejected, on the ground that it will merely add to the stock of small, unsatisfactory flats in the town centre, and the applicant should be encouraged to submit a modified scheme for two decent sized two-bedroom flats, one on each floor.

"This we feel could still be successful commercially and would be of greater benefit to the town.”