Leicester Civic Society is pleased to hear that the proposals for the over-development of 140 Queens Road have been withdrawn by the applicant.
Readers will be aware that the planning application included the development of a 7-storey residential block on the corner of Queens Road and Avenue Road Extension. The rear of the site is within the Stoneygate Conservation Area.
Friends of Clarendon Park mounted a strong defence of the site – raising nearly 200 objections to the proposal. Leicester Civic Society itself challenged the proposals both through the formal planning process and as part of the considerations of the Conservation Advisory Panel. All objectors agreed that this would constitute excess over-development of the site and neither preserve nor enhance the character of the conservation area. In addition, the development would completely dominate the neighbouring Brice Memorial Hall.
Whilst we’re all pleased the planning application has been withdrawn, the applicant can of course come forward with a new scheme and we’d strongly encourage Leicester City Council to pay due attention to the voices of the Clarendon Park residents and the quality and character of the Conservation Area.
We would also recommend the Council gives serious consideration to some form of protection to the existing building at 140 Queens Road. This is a rather fine building, designed by Leicester architect, Arthur Wakerley in 1896 as a laundry. Yet its importance lies not so much in its architectural quality – fine though it is – but as one of the few remaining examples of something of a Leicester archetype: a remnant of a former industrial function embedded within its suburban residential context. These are diminishing rapidly across the city because their value is often under-appreciated and yet once they’re gone, evidence of that chapter of Leicester’s rich heritage will be lost – forever.