14:00 Thursday 29 November 2012

Thumbs-up for water tower housing plan

Written byKATIE BOWLER

PLANS to transform a Victorian water tower into a modern house look set to go ahead after planners recommended it for approval.

Ashby’s water tower looks set to be transformed into a new home
Ashby’s water tower looks set to be transformed into a new home

The 50 ft tower in Moira Road, Ashby, could be converted into a two or three bedroom home.

Ashby Town Council, which owns the Grade II-listed brick building, is behind the proposal after submitting the plans to North West Leicestershire District Council.

The proposal includes a two-story extension to one elevation, a three-storey staircase tower to another and a new window to a third, and a 30ft high two-storey glass conservatory.

The disused water tower is located on the edge of the cemetery along with its boundary wall and cemetery gates.

The application has sparked controversy with neighbours and Ashby Civic Society, who have been lobbying the town council at every planning and town council meeting held since the application was submitted in August 2012.

The application was deferred from November’s district council planning committee meeting, after the Civic Society pointed out that the proper consultation of English Heritage had not been undertaken.

English Heritage has now raised objections to the plans. They advised that they were unhappy with the degree of alteration, and asked that he stair tower be relocated and the proposed living wall be abandoned.

They requested that the alterations to the design needed to be undertaken before the application was resubmitted.

However, the town council has defied English Heritage and the original design is due to be determined at the district planning meeting on Tuesday.

Ashby Civic Society vice chairman, Chris Tandy, said: “We will support a suitable conversion that safeguards the integrity of the building.

“However, the design submitted has no merit and is architectural vandalism of a landmark Grade II-listed building.

“We are appalled that the objection of English Heritage, guardians of listed buildings, can be so easily brushed aside.”

Any residents wishing to comment on the application can email development.control@nwleicestershire.gov.uk before Tuesday.

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