Architect shares concerns over height of flats impeding Cathedral view on former Solstice nightclub plot

The architect wants plans to be considered further so the building doesn’t spoil the Cathedral vista

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st July 2022, 7:11 am

The first stage of the planning process for a new building in Northminster has been approved, despite several objections that it might block the Cathedral view.

The proposed nine-storey building on the site of the now demolished Solstice nightclub will have up to 112 apartments, as well as ground floor restaurants, retail units and parking.

Of the speakers in attendance, two supported the application including leader of Peterborough City Council, councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, and two objected primarily on the basis of height, bulk and mass and the impact the building could have on the community, if approved.

An architect has said that the new plans for the former Solstice nightclub are only 2.1 metres lower than Northminster House.

Local architect, David Turnock, had concerns over the bulk of the proposed building and objected the application on the grounds of height.

He said: “I think the plans that the applicant has submitted to remove part of the block along the north side of the site certainly now gives it a degree of separation from Northminster House, reducing the overall bulk of the building but this building will be bulkier and taller than previous applications with the two extra floors having been added to it.

“This will make it just 2.1m lower than Northminster House – a project we’ve worked on taking careful evaluation of opinions from all over the city that it did not ‘loom over’ the cathedral, so, it is vitally important, we believe, that this project do the same.”

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A proposed view of the new apartment block development in Northminster, which is being questioned over it's height.

Members of the city council Planning and Environmental Protection Committee were reminded at their meeting (19 July) that they were only to consider the application in terms of layout and scale.

Any considerations of appearance, access, landscaping, or internal layout would be put to them at a later meeting.

‘No reason’ not to grant application

Speaking in favour of the building, councillor Wayne Fitzgerald said: “I’m speaking in support of economic growth and the regeneration of Peterborough where there is much need for the type of houses and businesses this application proposes.

“I have no pre-determinations about ten or even 15-storey planning applications from private developers, which we should determine on their individual merits.

Objections about the views, historic and cultural concerns are those we’ve all heard before and I believe they’re minimal in terms of impact compared to the benefits we will gain from such a project.

“The applicants have already scaled-back their plans in order to be compliant with the surrounding area – I would remind the committee that officers recommendation is to grant this application, and I cannot see any reason why you should not do so.”

Members of the Planning and Environmental Protection Committee approved this first stage of the planning process by majority vote.

Further planning applications will come before the committee at a later date and these will cover the outward appearance, access to, landscaping of, and the internal layout of the nine storeys and the 112 apartments, restaurants and retail units.