DECISIONS about three controversial Stevenage planning applications are due to be made at a meeting next week. Applications for Gunnells in Fairview Road, Manulife House in St George s Way and Chells Family Pub in Chells Way will all be discussed at Stev
DECISIONS about three controversial Stevenage planning applications are due to be made at a meeting next week.
Applications for Gunnells in Fairview Road, Manulife House in St George's Way and Chells Family Pub in Chells Way will all be discussed at Stevenage Borough Council's planning and development committee at 6.30pm on Monday.
Council planning officers have recommended that the application to demolish Gunnells, a house built in 1924, and erect six two-bedroom flats and two three-bed dwellings should go ahead despite strong opposition by residents.
Members of Fairview Road Residents Association (FRRA) - set up primarily to fight the demolition of Gunnells - have been left outranged at the recommendation.
A past application to knock down Gunnells and replace it with two blocks of 14 flats was refused in January but the developers have lodged an appeal against that decision with the planning inspectorate as well as making this new application.
Catherine Shadbolt, a FRRA spokesman, said: "We are speechless to how they can recommend this application with such strong evidence to retain it.
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"I think we should also remember that Stevenage Borough Council keep quoting English Heritage as not listing this building, but keep forgetting why."
She said it was not because of the building's lack of architectural merit but simply on the grounds of the number of similar properties still existing in the UK.
"If it didn't stand up to their stringent criteria they would not have even considered the building for listing, which they did. Considering Gunnells is the last one in our town and others like it are offered protection in neighbouring towns why are we penalised?"
Another resident said: "The rejected and the new application are identical in bulk, design and volume - hence inappropriate for the site and not according to guidelines for planning."
Next on the agenda is Manulife. The application to turn it into a 140-bedroom hotel has also been recommended for approval.
The council has received many objections to this application. Residents are concerned about the lack of parking around the planned hotel, the "awful and hideous" artist's impression of the hotel and the lack of need for another hotel in Stevenage.
Also being discussed is the demolition of The Chells Family Pub and erection of a block of flats. Again officers have recommended this be approved.
Back in April the planning development committee refused an application for a block of 19 flats because it would "be detrimental to the safe and free flow of traffic along Mobbsbury Way".
This latest application is for a block of eight flats with vehicle access from Mobbsbury Way.