THE ARCHITECTS of a proposed town centre care home complex have defended the development after a letter raising concerns about the plans was sent to residents in the area.
The anonymous letter, sent to nearby residents last week, urged residents to object to Oak Retirement and Audley Holdings’ £18m plan to build 73 extra care apartments in what would be known as Caldecott Square, on the site of the former Herbert Gray College behind St Andrew’s Church.
The author requested English Heritage be re-consulted about the proximity of the flats to St Andrew’s Church and its visual impact on Church Street and Regent Street.
“We are sad to see that St Andrew’s Church House will be lost.” it read.
“English Heritage were not prepared to list it as a building despite the fact it was unique to Rugby but not to our region.
“We also have concerns about any future occupants residing at this location given its close proximity to an existing nightclub.” the letter continued.
“We believe this building should be set further back with high levels of sound insulation, and perhaps some amenity space and railings to separate it from the alleyways and service road.”
But Rickett Architects, which is designing the development, has assured residents these matters had been taken into consideration.
The complex, if approved, would comprise 73 care apartments predominantly for the over 55s, with care support and central community facilities, and a café open to the general public overlooking the central square.
The Little Church Street development will cover the area currently occupied by Herbert Gray College, Marjorie Hume House and St Andrew’s Church House – that the church has already agreed to sell.
A 1970s-built section of the Grade II-listed college building would be demolished, but the 18th and 19th century sections remain. It was the national headquarters of relationship support charity Relate until 2008.
Rickett Architects’ managing director Dan Rickett told us the proposed development would have no greater impact on the surrounding buildings than a previously approved, but subsequently abandoned plan to bring a hotel to the site five years ago – and added English Heritage was consulted during the pre-application stages.
“The loss of St Andrew’s Church House has been considered carefully, notwithstanding the existing planning consent for its removal, and we have continued to discuss alternative solutions with the church regarding the loss of community space.
“We continue to work with the local authority and independent acoustic engineers to resolve the relationship of the proposed residential use with the adjoining leisure use.”
Today (Thursday) is the last day comments on the plans from the public will be accepted by the borough council.