The fate of one of only two villas which remain from the early expansion of a prosperous city suburb more than a century ago will be decided tomorrow.
The detached property was built 1901 in the Arts and Crafts style, with elements of Art Nouveau detailing.
Tomorrow Newcastle city councillors will consider a bid by the Malhotra Group to demolish the villa and replace it with a five-storey block of 18 apartments with underground 33-space car parking and gym and health suite.
The property is set back significantly from the front boundary with The Grove, which is typical of the villas along the north side of the street.
The front boundary is defined by a high stone wall which runs along the north side of the street. This marks the boundary set when the site was redeveloped from the agricultural land around 1901 and remains as a strong feature of the street, say planners.
Eighty responses have been received to the proposal, with all comments being objections. A residents’ group has also been set up called Save Number 37 The Grove which has commissioned its own heritage assessment of the villa.
English Heritage has objected to the proposal on the basis that the existing building contributes positively to the character and appearance of the area and is in a style and form that the conservation area designation was designed to protect.
The proposed new building is considered to represent overdevelopment of the site and would result in harm to the conservation area.
English Heritage also received a request for the building to be listed but declined. In their comments English Heritage acknowledged the significant contribution the villa makes to the Gosforth street scene and that the building was a key building within the conservation area, but concluded that the building was not worthy of listing.
Planners say the high quality materials used for the villa is typical of the intention to display the prosperous nature of its owners.
They are advising refusal of planning permission planning permission on the grounds that it would mean the loss of a large, traditional dwelling which makes a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the Gosforth conservation area and the proposed apartment block is not considered to provide suitable replacement development to justify demolition of the existing building.
The proposed apartment block and alterations to the front boundary, by virtue of its design, scale, massing and proposed materials, is also not considered to deliver a high quality of design in keeping with the character of the locality and conservation area and would fail to integrate into its setting.