Plans to demolish one of only two surviving villas from the early days of a city suburb have been rejected.
The Malhotra Group wanted to replace the villa with a five-storey block of 18 apartments with underground 33-space car parking and gym and health suite.
Eighty responses were received to the proposal, with all comments being objections. A residents’ group was also been set up called Save Number 37 The Grove which commissioned its own heritage assessment of the villa.
Planning Officers recommended refusal of the application for several reasons, primarily on the grounds that:
*The proposal would result in the loss of a large, traditional dwelling;
*The loss of the building was considered to be detrimental to the character and appearance of the conservation area;
*The proposed replacement building was considered to be inappropriate development for the conservation area;
*The proposed replacement building was considered to be harmful to the amenity of neighbouring residents.
Members of the city’s planning committee voted unanimously to agree with the recommendations and the application was refused planning consent.
Acccording to planners, the villa is an important element in the historic expansion of Gosforth in the Victorian and Edwardian period.
The detached property was built in 1901 in the Arts and Crafts style, with elements of Art Nouveau detailing. It 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 agricultural land around 1901 and remains as a strong feature of the street, say planners.
English Heritage 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.
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 said the high quality materials used for the villa is typical of the intention to display the prosperous nature of its owners.