Old garage on Thaxted Road to be converted into flats, council decides

On Wednesdsay, Uttlesford District Council voted in favour of the development of Moore's Garage into

On Wednesdsay, Uttlesford District Council voted in favour of the development of Moore's Garage into ten modern flats for mixed residential and retail use - Credit: Archant

An application to convert the unused Moore’s Garage on Thaxted Road, Saffron Walden, into a modern building of 10 flats was approved by an overwhelming majority yesterday (Wednesday) by Uttlesford District Council (UDC).

Only two councillors voted against the mixed-use scheme, which will house a commercial or retail building on the ground floor and residential properties on the second and third floors.

Councillor Christina Cant said the modern design would be a change from the “pseudo-Victorian buildings we always get.”

“It’s interesting and exciting to see something different. It’s an innovation,” she added.

The site, located at the bottom of Shire Hill industrial estate, has been out of action for a year, and plans for redevelopment have long been in the pipeline, though not all councillors were convinced the proposed three and four storey building was right for the area.

“If this was on Shire Hill itself I would agree with it,” said Councillor Doug Perry. “But as it is, I do not think Saffron Walden is ready for something like this. It is at a much higher level than the surrounding buildings.”

Brian Christian, agent for developers Ford Wells, said the building would “lift this miserable corner, and give a freshness and vitality to this part of the town that is missing.”

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Of the eight objectors to the proposal, Mr Christian added, only three live near the site, and of those three “two live happily in houses I built”.

London Road resident Paul Gadd, 49, also objected to the height of the buildings in the meeting.

“We want to have something there – our main objection is that it does not match the height of the surrounding buildings,” he told the Reporter after the meeting.

“But personally I think it is as ugly as hell.”

The approved plan for the site includes underground parking with 24 spaces, as well as roof terraces. The exact nature of the ground floor building, now designated for retail or commercial purposes, is unknown, although it is stated in the application that the user would be a non-food retailer.

Ford Wells will have three years to begin the development before the approved application expires.