Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District
‘Ugly modern office block’ conversion plan approved
An office building in the centre of Canterbury is to be reborn as an upscale development of offices and flats in just over a year.
Planners unanimousl y approved an application to convert the former Kent Highways building at the corner of Beer Cart Lane and Stour Street.
Chartham firm BDB Design drew up plans for the building, which Quinn Estates will transform into eight offices and 14 apartments.
The developer said it will start work on the conversion within 10 weeks and intends to have the building ready by autumn of 2014.
A report before the council’s development management committee on Tuesday night stated: “The current building is an ugly modern office block that sits uncomfortably within this sensitive location in the historic area of Canterbury.
“The scheme is considered to enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and the settings of nearby listed buildings.”
The building has been empty for four years. Its Beer Cart Lane side will comprise the offices while the Stour Street side will house the flats.
Bob Jones, chairman of Can- terbury City Centre Partnership, praised the development.
He said: “The plans to bring a building back into use which has lain dormant for all this time is most welcome.
“We are pleased with both the scale and quality of the develop- ment and we welcome the high quality apartments. This will act as an economic generator.”
John Ellaby, of the St Mildred’s Area Community Society, added: “This is an intelligent use of a building which has been empty for several years. It comprises office and residential use and we recognise the value of that.”
At the planning meeting, there was one objection from Richard D’Ath, of Stour Court, who complained the building would be too high and too near homes on the opposite side of the road.