The Albion Tavern in Albion Street, Kenilworth, is set to be demolished after the planning committee at Warwick District Council (WDC) approved permission for six semi-detached houses to be built in its place.
Despite an objection from Kenilworth Town Council, the vote to approve the plans was unanimous.
We could do better but there’s no good reason to refuse the application.Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s)
Speaking on behalf of Kenilworth Town Council, Cllr George Illingworth (Con, Abbey), reiterated the council’s disapproval of the houses being built rather than the demolition itself.
He said: “Six houses seems fine at first, but what we have is six four-bedroom houses, and between them they have 30 lavatories. This is overdevelopment of the site.
“To fit in so many rooms the houses have to be three stories high. These kinds of houses are not what the town needs - it will have a greater impact on the street scene than the pub did and off-street parking will be lost.
“The bat survey actually found bats, and is likely to have implications on the design and development of the houses.
“I urge you to reject the plans so that a more appropriate and suitable scheme can be found.”
Despite Kenilworth Town Council’s reasoning, the planning committee could not find strong reasons to reject the application even though some councillors thought the plans could have been better for Kenilworth, especially with regards to affordable housing and the appearance of the houses.
Cllr Rowena Hill (Con, Abbey), said: “I think an opportunity has been lost for a more interesting design, and we could do with more affordable housing in Kenilworth. It’s not a wonderful plan.
Chairman of the planning committee Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s), agreed with Cllr Hill, but said that refusal was still inappropriate.
He said: “We could do better but there’s no good reason to refuse the application. It could have been something a lot better, but that’s a matter for the developers. not for us.”
Looking at the proposed designs, Cllr Alan Boad (Lib Dem, Crown), said: “The height of the new buildings are pretty close to being the same height as the pub.
“If this is the case then the pub must also have been ‘out of character’ with what was in the street. I think the plans are in keeping with what’s there now.”
Referring to the town council’s concerns about car parking provision, he added: “The pub’s car park is not a public car park. Yes, some people used it, but the fact that it is going is not a reason to throw the plans out.
“I can’t think of a good reason to say no to this application.”
The Albion Tavern had been bought by developers Marshall Developments in August from former parent company Punch Taverns, and an application to demolish it and build houses in its place followed soon after.
Reports submitted to WDC said the pub was no longer viable as a ‘wet trade’ establishment, which refers to a pub that relies on drink sales.
It also described the pub as being ‘run down and unloved’, suffering from ‘rot and infestation, and that its time had expired.