A GRADE II listed building just off Wellington’s town centre could become a housing estate if freshly submitted plans are approved.
The proposals to build 29 new homes on the 1 hectare site would involve the demolition of Popham House to help make way for the new dwellings.
In a statement prepared for Taunton-based property developers Gadd Properties, Stephen Baimbridge of Greenslade Taylor Hunt said the demolition would bring ‘significant benefits.’ He told planners:
“Turning to the visual impact, there are significant benefits derived from the demolition of Popham House and the modern additions to the south western side of The Court.
“The scale of some of the existing modern piecemeal extensions are significant. The demolition reduces a significant quantum of incongruous massing to the benefit of heritage and character.”
A heritage report has been submitted by Cotswold Archeology, after carrying out an assessment on behalf of Gadd Properties to understand the impact of demolishing Popham House, and part of the Grade II listed Popham Court.
After carrying out what they described a principally “desk-based study” the firm concluded that the demolition of ‘out of place’ modern elements would benefit the site. In a statement they said:
“Proposals for the development of the Site include the demolition of Popham House and the partial demolition of The Court, along with the restoration of the historic core to residential use. At present, development proposals are likely to offer a potential for enhancing the significance of The Court, principally through the demolition of incongruous modern structures and additions and works to improve integrity of the historic fabric and form.
“[T]he proposed development is predicted to offer ‘no harm’ to the heritage significance of either Wellington Park or Wellington War Memorial.”
The former care home has been unused for a number of years, following a finding by Care Quality Commission inspectors that the service required improvement.
Mr Baimbridge said that by bringing the site back into use, it would provide a number of benefits, including access for pedestrians travelling through the site. He said: “The Court is currently well-screened within the site and under a care home use that naturally does not permit the land to be used as a pedestrian route.
“This scheme will improve the pedestrian experience in this area of Wellington, offering a direct route to and from key services and increasing pedestrian footfall and thus the enjoyment of The Court as a heritage asset to the local area.”
Planners expect to arrive at a decision before early May.