By Bruce Sinclair
PLANS to demolish and replace Tenby’s “austere modernist” former Royal Mail sorting office with a larger 19th century-style development are expected to get the go-ahead.
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park planners, meeting on Wednesday, are recommended to back an application for the demolition of the sorting office in the conservation area, replacing it with a four-storey mixed development of 34 residential units and ground-level commercial properties.
The application, made by Trillium (RMF) Ltd, includes five affordable housing units, four of which would be socially rented.
The proposed demolition of site buildings on the vacant site also requires conservation area consent, which will also be discussed on the day.
Tenby Town Council has made no objection to the demolition of the building itself, but has recommended the main scheme be refused due to what it sees as a lack of affordable housing and – along with similar concerns from Tenby Civic Society – impact on the surrounding area.
Six letters of objection have been received, raising concerns including over-development, a lack of affordable housing, and a lack of parking.
A report for the March 8 development management committee states: “Whilst the somewhat austere modernism of the complex offers a contrast to the Victorian chapels to either side, the post office complex is not of high architectural or historical merit.”
It later adds: “In the opinion of the report’s author, the demolition of the existing low level late 20th century industrial utilitarianism style building and its replacement with a much taller building, in a 19th century-style reminiscent of buildings on High Street but not in the South Parade area would have a positive effect on the setting of the Town Walls.
“The design captures the Victorian character of the town well and responds both to the topography and adjacent listed buildings in terms of stepped heights. A high level of detail will be required under appropriate conditions of typical joinery details, render, slate, retail windows etc.
“As stated above, the main block is of four storeys with attic, but the ridge does not exceed that of the chapels either side, the latter remaining pre-eminent in the streetscape, as their architects and congregations intended.
“As such, it is considered that the character and appearance of the conservation area is retained.”
If the development management committee approves the plans on March 8, they would then be delegated to senior officers for final approval, subject to legal agreements on the affordable housing aspect.
Pic: Courtesy of LDRS Partners – Google Streetview