Home plan for empty offices
Proposal to attract commuters to village
EMPTY offices are to be turned into housing to attract more commuters to a village.
Several office blocks in Marsham Lane, Gerrards Cross, have stood empty for years.
A planning application was heard by South Bucks District Council for a redevelopment of one of the office blocks at 49 Station Road, to build 15 flats and a basement car park, by Inland Homes.
Deirdre Holloway, councillor for Gerrards Cross, argued there was a need to make use of the empty office space and it would improve the area.
She made her comments speaking at the planning committee meeting on Wednesday, October 1.
She said: “These offices have been empty for years. There’s been an office empty for 15 years and another office empty for some time.
“I think that area was overdone and there was too much emphasis given to office space.
“If there was a development and move towards residential, then I think it would be lovely to see flats there.
“It could work for first time buyers with the help the government is now giving, though this area is expensive, but they can commute to London.
“It would attract more people to the village and make it better than the empty offices we have now.”
However, concerns were raised as the plot was deemed not viable for affordable housing.
Councillor Jennifer Woolveridge said the lack of affordable flats ‘saddened’ her.
The Earl of Stockton, who also sits on the committee, raised issues with the narrow road leading away from the site.
He said: “I know I drive a Chelsea tractor, but I have to go up on the grass if a Tesco delivery van is coming the other way.
“I worry about increase of traffic.”
The plans also did not meet requirement in the core strategy, which states that a development of 10 units or more needs to have at least 10 per cent renewable energy.
However, the committee decided the benefit of filling the empty offices with homes overruled this and voted in favour of the application.