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Controversial plans for new classrooms approved at Winchester college
8:20am Saturday 7th April 2012 in Winchester
CONTROVERSIAL plans for new classrooms at one of Hampshire’s top sixth-form colleges has been approved by Winchester planners.
Peter Symonds College applied to demolish a 1930s armoury and build two classrooms close to the boundary with Hatherley Road, Fulflood.
More than 25 residents objected saying the new building would be too intrusive and set a precedent for other development on part of the campus without buildings.
But the planning viewing sub-committee disagreed yesterday (WED) and approved the plans by nine votes to three.
Planning officer Andrew Rushmer said no precedent would be set as the building is a replacement, albeit larger.
The armoury is a utilitarian brick-built single-storey structure, currently used for storage; the new building will be clad in larch and have a sedum roof.
Mr Rushmer said: “It is a well-designed building that is better than we could have expected.”
Most councillors supported him. Cllr Michael Read (Con) said; “It will enhance the area.”
Cllr Robert Johnston (Lib Dem) added: “The impact of what is being proposed is insignificant. This is a good building and an enhancement on what is there.”
But Cllr Therese Evans (Lib Dem_ a former Symonds teacher, disagreed. “I don’t think it fits in with the surrounding area. It is harmful to the character because of its increased height and width.
She called for the college to produce a masterplan to minimise future piecemeal development: “We need to know where the college is going. With the temporary building (nearby) will we see another application?”
Cllr Eileen Berry said: “The impact on the street scene will be enormous.”
The committee backed the scheme but said it could only be used for teaching and between 8.30am-5pm, Mondays to Fridays.
Cllr Ian Tait said that would limit any community use of the classrooms.