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Older Items - Planning News - Planning - April 2019
The approved drawings for the Portlands development showed that public access to the
site was to be provided from Portlands Alley in two places. The upper one close to the
Côte Bistro was to accommodate cyclists and provide level access for electric
wheelchairs and the like. We have accepted that no public right of way exists but have
pressed WDC's planning department for well over a year to ensure that Crest Nicholson
meets its obligations. We remain disappointed by the inability of our Council to enforce
the requirement that it placed on the developer.
Geoff Wood and I visited New Court recently courtesy of Andrew Milsom. The conversion
of Nesta Liston's former house is well advanced and it was very interesting to see how
the rooms of various sizes have been incorporated into individual flats. It is good to see
that Lennox Estates have maintained the overall façade with minor changes. The
cleaning of the brickwork now shows the house in a new light. We may have reservations
on the way WDC disposed of this legacy. At least it remains as a coherent piece of
Marlow's history rather than a demolition site. Note that the circular piece of garden
remains in WDC ownership 'as a public open space or garden for the enjoyment of the
people of Marlow' to quote Nesta's will.
Sorbon Estates has been given planning permission to create 5 flats at the rear of
Windsor House by converting the ancillary buildings originally built to support the retail
unit. The Planning Officer's report includes the following statement: 'The reconfigured
basement will provide 25 parking spaces which meets the Council's current optimum
standards for the combined existing and proposed residential units. Taking account of
the town centre location, alternatives to car travel and availability of public car
parking, it is considered that the amount of parking provision would be sufficient to
serve the development. The Highway Authority has not raised a highway safety concern
from potential displaced parking. And given that the site as a whole meets the current
parking guidance a refusal on the grounds of inadequate parking provision could not be
This is now the default WDC position. However many cars are displaced on to our
already full central roads by approved plans – we just have to put up with it.
79 - 81 High Street
The application by Sorbon Estates to replace the mullioned bay windows of 79-81 High
Street drew a lot of adverse criticism. I had a constructive exchange of letters with
Tamra Booth, the MD of Sorbon, in which she explained that prospective tenants were
dissuaded by the obscuration the windows created. She also said: 'As a long term
investor that cares about the town and its future, it is important to us that we
communicate with organisations such as yourselves.'
An examination of the history of the building established that, although it is listed, the
windows are a relatively recent addition and have no specific heritage. We consulted the
Conservation Officer who was helpful but concurred with this conclusion.
Michael Eagleton recently gave a fascinating anecdote-laden talk on the shops of Marlow
going back over 150 years. It was interesting to see just how typical mullioned windows
were in Victorian and Edwardian Marlow. Sadly, in 79-81 they will soon be a thing of the
Yet again Sorbon Estates, this time Regal House on Station Road. The existing office
block on the former cinema site is up for redevelopment. We are offered a block of 25
new-build flats in a sensitive location next to our only Grade One listed house, Marlow
Place. We have objected on the grounds of overdevelopment, unsympathetic design and
inadequate parking. It was somewhat of a surprise to see a later parallel application for
the conversion of the existing office block into flats.
The Rate of Change
I am losing touch with the rapid rate of change of shops in our town. There were six or
seven empty ones in the High Street on 2nd April and more on the adjacent streets.
Good luck to the new veg and fruit shop in Spittal Street and farewell to Wesley Barrell
in West Street. Surprising that a furniture retailer is to go into Windsor House. One out,
one in. What the medium to long term prospect for our Town is, especially for the
smaller retailers, I do not know - but it worries me. Let us all support them whenever