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Water tower flats plan wins approval

Water tower at Fernwood
Water tower at Fernwood

Plans to convert an iconic water tower into two apartments and to build 11 new ones around it were approved by Newark and Sherwood District Council on Tuesday.

The planning committee agreed to an application by Mr Harman Kalsi for the conversion of the 26metre high water tower on Goldstraw Lane, Fernwood, and the construction of new apartments.

There were concerns from residents that the application would lead to more parking problems.

Nottinghamshire County Council highways recommended refusal.

It said the development failed to make enough provision for parking and manoeuvring of vehicles, which would result in more vehicles being parked on the roads and footpaths. They wanted to see 20 spaces for residents and two for visitors.

Fernwood Parish Council welcomed the development and designs for the tower, and felt it was a good way to use and maintain it.

But they lodged an objection because they felt that 19 carparking spaces were insufficient for 13 homes.

“Goldstraw Lane already suffers from inconsiderate parking and is congested,” the council said.

“This development would be likely to lead to more cars being parked on the road.”

The district council’s business director for growth and regeneration, Mr Matt Lamb, recommended refusal because of insufficient parking.

Mr Neill Mison, who represents the area on the district council, said the building had been unused for 50 years and said it was an unfinished issue for the community for 20 years.

“This is an iconic building that Fernwood wants to retain. They want to see it enhanced and used,” he said.

“You know you are nearing home when you see it.”

However, he said residents were concerned about parking.

Mr Ivor Walker said it was a landmark and one that he wanted to see retained and developed.

He knew only too well about the parking problems and suggested the application be deferred so they could see if they could be overcome.

Mr Walker suggested that part of the footpath could be used to create parking areas.

“I would desperately love to vote for it, but I know the parking situation very well,” he said.

Mrs Maureen Dobson agreed that a decision should be deferred.

“We have been waiting all this time for this fabulous building to be developed,” she said.

“For the sake of a month we could try and get some resolution.”

Mrs Celia Brooks said she loved the design.

She said the development was only one residential space short of that required by the highways authority.

“The visitors don’t have to park on the site so we are only talking about one space,” she said.

Mr Peter Duncan said parking was always an emotive issue but there had been developments in Newark approved with no parking provision at all.

He felt it was a very positive development.

Mr Roger Blaney said a previous application to demolish the building was turned down because it was felt it had not been demonstrated that there was no viable use for it.

“Who can’t not like this?” he said.

“I think it is fabulous.”

Members voted 11 to two in favour of the application with one abstention.

Work on the water tower started in the 1930s but was halted by the second world war and was not finished until 1957.

It was a familiar landmark on the former Balderton Hospital site — an area that has now been developed as Fernwood.

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