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Thumbs down for latest student flats plan at historic former Lancaster pub

The former Moorlands Hotel in Lancaster

The latest student flats plan for a historic former Lancaster pub has been given the thumbs down.

A developer's planning application to build an extension for eight student flats at the Moorlands Hotel building on Quarry Road has been refused by Lancaster City Council.

They said the part three-storey, part single storey side extension at the former pub would be "poor and overbearing".

The plans were for eight self-contained studio flats within the former side yard area to the side of the building fronting Dumbarton Road.

A council report said the outline, part retrospective plans had been rejected on several grounds.

"The creation of high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve," said the report.

"By reason of its inappropriate design, scale, massing, form and material palette the proposal represents an incongruous form of development that would undermine and compete with the aesthetic and architectural interest of the former Moorlands Hotel.

"Consequently, the development would cause harm to the historic character and significance of the asset and visual amenity of the area.

"By virtue of the siting of the proposed development directly adjacent to the access for the existing studio 6, it is considered that an unacceptable standard of privacy would be provided for the future occupants of studio 2. 

"By virtue of the siting, scale and massing of the proposed development relative to the existing residential units, the development would result in a poor and overbearing relationship with the existing property, thereby causing unacceptable harm to the standard of amenity that the occupants of the existing studios could reasonably expect to enjoy.

"The block wall along the northern site boundary has been erected directly on the existing highway boundary (rear access to Dumbarton Road properties). It is considered that the application of an appropriate facing material would overhang the adopted highway thereby reducing the overall width to less than 2.980 metres.

"The submission fails to provide adequate arrangement for waste provision. The proposed bin store doors would open outwards over the proposed access ramp which would be enclosed by railings, thereby preventing refuse bins being taken in and out of the store. This represents an unacceptable arrangement with regard to access to the bin store.

"The proposal fails to provide satisfactory arrangements for the provision of cycle storage for the existing and proposed accommodation. 

"The plans submitted with the application contain inconsistencies between floor plans and elevations."

The use of the ground and upper floors of the 19th century Moorlands building for student accomodation was first agreed in principle by the council in 2014.

There have been several planning applications at the site since then, some refused and some agreed by the council.

"As it stands, the building has consent for eight studio flats at ground floor and a six bed flat and seven bed flat over the first and second floors," said a council report.

A heritage statement issued with the planning application, by developer Zubeir Mister, said: "The subservient scale of the extension and simple use of traditional materials will ensure the prominence of the existing building is maintained, therefore impact upon the existing building will be minimal."

A sustainability statement from the developer said: "The method of construction is typical of the period, solid external walls of local stone, load bearing internal walls of brickwork and partitions of timber stud with lath and plaster finish. Floors are of timber carried on a mixture of timber and steel beams. Roofs are pitched and covered with Westmorland slate. The proposed works will meet modern needs of thermal insulation and reduced energy needs in line with current legislation."

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