Members Reject Council’s Own Application For Museum Flats Canopy

Rear walkway at Museum Flats

Rear walkway at Museum Flats

Councillors have rejected the Local Authority’s own planning application to build a canopy over the walkway at Museum Flats, arguing that it would unduly affect the residents.

The Council wanted to build a covered canopy over the shared, first floor entranceway to the flats in the building, in order to protect the ground floor museum space from water damage.

The application had already been resubmitted because sufficient notice hadn’t been given to the two privately owned flats in the complex. The other four are owned by the Authority.

Head of Place Craig Dryden had recommended approving the scheme, but faced fierce opposition from elected members who, one-by-one, objected to the proposal.

Cllr Avril Mumford said she understood the museum’s problems and it was obvious that water was coming in from the walkway above.

But she felt there was no need for the canopy, which would reduce fresh air to the kitchens in the flats and make it difficult to clean and paint windows.

Avril felt the Council should look at how to repair the walkway and ensure the gutters and downpipes were working.

Cllr Andy Guy agreed, saying that the canopy was just covering up the problem.

Cllr Steve Sims said the building was “a fine example of 1960’s Scillonian-Bulgarian Brutalism” and said it was “a shame we can’t just demolish it.

Cllr Fran Grottick asked Craig whether the Council had performed a full structural survey to determine the underlying problem.

He didn’t answer, saying councillors could only judge the application based on the merits of the application.

But on further prompting by Planning Chairman Gaz O’Neill, he admitted that he wasn’t aware of any survey actually taking place.

Cllr David Pearson felt that without a survey, they couldn’t decide whether this was the best solution to the problem and Cllr Roy Duncan highlighted the strong objections made by residents of the flats.

He felt the proposal would make life much more uncomfortable for them.

But Craig insisted that councillors couldn’t just reject the proposal. They would either have to defer it, or give a valid planning reason why it was being refused.

Craig said rejection could leave the Authority open to an appeal.

But then Gaz pointed out that it meant the Council would be appealing over its own planning decision.

Craig eventually suggested the application could be rejected based on “residential amenity” to which Cllr O’Neill responded, “that’ll do.”

Councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposal.