16th January 2023
Thank you for the consultation on the Retford Town Centre NP. On this, Conservation has the following comments:
- Pages 15-16 – Bassetlaw Local Plan: This section should include Policy ST42: The Historic Environment.
- Page 17 – In the ‘Sites Identified’ table, Site NP03 has not included the Planning Permission granted on the front of the site for 4 dwellings, our reference 19/00194/FUL – “Erection of 4 Dwellings”.
- Site NP01 (Home Bargains) – Whilst Conservation would defer to the views of our Tree Officer on the matter of tree health, there are concerns with the likely impact the loss of trees on the west part of this site would have on the setting of the Conservation Area and the setting of nearby Listed Buildings. This large grouping of trees is prominent in the locality and also helps to screen the large retail buildings (Morrisons and Home Bargains) from views within and around the Conservation Area. Any allocation here would need to have regard to the protection of a tree buffer along the front (south) boundary to help screen any development in the context of heritage setting.
- Site NP02 (Ebsworth Hall) – This building was opened in 1923 as a memorial to the late Canon Ebsworth, who had been vicar of St Swithuns for 32 years. The building is owned by the church, was last used for associated purposes, and is on church land. As such, it is considered listed by curtilage association to the grade II* listed church. It is a building of considerable architectural and historic interest, with the feature entrance porch, roof-mounted vent, front gable oval-shaped vent and foundation stone. Most of the building has a typical early-20th century hall/school arrangement, with full-height windows along its length. Sadly the building has been poorly maintained in recent years and it is evident that there are water ingress issues with the roof. There is also a degree of brick spalling and many of the windows require repair or replacement. I have also been made aware of internal ceiling/roof problems. However, there is no clear and convincing justification for the loss of this important historic building, considered to be listed by curtilage association. The building could be brought back into use relatively easily, it is a key part of the character of this part of Retford, and is a memorial to one of its longest serving vicars. The building was also paid for by public subscription. Conservation has discussed the condition of the building with the PCC and Diocese previously and argued strongly for the building’s repair and conservation. On this basis, Conservation cannot support the allocation of this building to be replaced. This element should be removed from the NP.
- Site NP03 (Tenterflat Walk/Bridgegate) – This site is in the Conservation Area and in the setting of a range of nearby Listed Buildings, including St Michael’s Church (grade II*). Conservation is very much supportive of the development of this site, subject to suitable design, scale, layout and materials, reflective of the historic context the site is within. Conservation would suggest the 2019 approval, reference 19/00194/FUL, is used as a basis for future proposals, especially for the Bridge frontage which is the most heritage-sensitive part of the site.
- Site NP04 (Rear of 27-37 Bridgegate) – Conservation has strong concerns with the allocation of this site. It is within the Conservation Area and in the setting of several Listed Buildings, including St Michael’s Church. Much of the site is visible from the footpath on the west side of the River Idle, and provides an open setting to the church when viewed from this position (similar views are had from the churchyard). Development on this site would irrevocably harm this open setting, and any discernible public benefits for this development could easily be obtained with a development located elsewhere around the town in far less sensitive locations. On this basis, Conservation cannot support the allocation of this site. I should point out that there are likely to be considerable flooding issues here too, as the east part of the site appeared to be lower than the river level when the site was visited (10th Jan 2023). I would defer to the views of flood experts on that matter however.
- Site NP05 (Retford Registry Office, Chancery Lane) – These buildings date to the 1960s and appear to be an example of the CLASP method of construction, typical of administrative buildings such as offices and schools in that period. Whilst their construction method is of a degree of interest, they are of a neutral character, and contribute little to the historic appearance of this part of the Conservation Area and setting of nearby Listed Buildings. On this basis, Conservation is very much supportive of the replacement of these buildings. This is subject to appropriate scale, materials, layout and design.
- Site NP06 (Goodwin Hall) – This was constructed in 1963 as a hall for “the elderly and physically handicapped” (Coventry Telegraph, 29th Oct 1963), paid for by Sheffield Industrialist and philanthropist Sir Stuart Goodwin (£6,000) and opened by his wife, Lady Florence Goodwin, on 28th Oct 1963. Goodwin also provided £10,000 for the maintenance and operation of the building. Whilst of historic interest, architecturally the building is of a neutral character and appears to be in poor condition. It contributes little to the character of this part of the Conservation Area. On this basis, Conservation has no concerns with the replacement of this building. However, this is subject to a suitable design, materials, layout and scale. It is also recommended that some form of interpretation to the Goodwin family/‘Sir Stuart and Lady Florence Goodwin Charity’ be included in any replacement. Conservation is happy to advise on this element.
I trust these comments are of use. I would be happy to meet with the NP group and discuss the above in more detail if this is needed.
Retford Town Centre Neighbourhood Planning Group.
Progress Update - 1st February 2022
Retford Town Centre Neighbourhood Planning Group (RTCNPG) is now completing the first phase of public consultation about the potential elements of a Neighbourhood Plan for the Retford Town Centre Area. The response from the public has been excellent so far with many helpful suggestions put forward. This phase of consultation continues until 22nd March 2022 and further input to the plan would be welcomed.
The designated Town Centre Area was increased during 2021 to include the NW Bridgegate area and leaflets were distributed to all properties in the area to inform the residents and businesses, and to invite their participation in the Planning Group.
The plan has addressed the themes of the green agenda, health and accessibility, heritage, education, and the future of the high street. The following objectives have been constructed for consideration during the consultation:
To support environmental enhancements to public spaces that create a more attractive shopping area.
To support the growth of a vibrant day time and evening economy.
To create an environment that makes it attractive for micro, small and medium sized businesses and shops.
To improve the accessibility of the town for all.
To Improve the legibility of the town to help people find their way around.
To protect and improve the wide range of community facilities in the town centre to ensure it can meet the growing needs of an ageing and expanding population.
To seek solutions that will accelerate the town to Net Zero by the end of the current planning period (2037) by promoting the use of solar energy, enabling cycling, improving biodiversity and wellbeing through enhanced green spaces, and delivering better recycling and waste management.
To ensure that all new development is designed to a high standard and respects the style and layout of the historic town centre and enhances the character of the town centre.
To expand the role of Retford Town Centre to support the growth of the local economy and provide a range of job opportunities for local people.
To ensure that the housing stock is of a high quality, varied, and suitable to meet the needs of existing and future residents.
To encourage developers to work with RTCNPG before planning applications are submitted so that they can produce schemes that ensure the most positive benefit for the town.
The areas most mentioned during the public consultation so far have been: Movement/Transport; Retail, Hospitality, and Business; Built Environment and Public Realm; Safety; Housing; Green Spaces and the Environment; and Activity, Events, and Tourism.
DRAFT VISION AND COMMUNITY OBJECTIVES
In order to shape the direction of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan, a Vision Statement and 13 supporting Community Objectives have been drafted. As a draft, refinement is possible, and so all views and comments are welcomed.
By 2037 Retford will be a safe, healthy, accessible and sustainable town centre, supporting people of all ages, which is proud of its heritage buildings and attractive to businesses as a place to grow and prosper, providing a range of employment sites and premises. Retford Town Centre is future facing, the home of people and businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The value of natural assets will be enhanced and extended and investment will create a rich mix of shopping, leisure, sports, health, cultural and social facilities making Retford Town Centre appealing as a place to live, learn, develop, work and spend quality leisure time.
CALL FOR SITES
Featured in January 2022 issue of Retford Life.
Part of the process is to identify properties and land in Retford Town Centre which have the potential for development for a range of purposes e.g. housing, retail, public green spaces etc. If acceptable sites can be found, then the Neighbourhood Plan can propose appropriate development.
RTCNPG needs to compile a comprehensive list of all potential development space. If you own land or property with the potential for development or know someone who does, please contact
Once the list is established, there will be an independent assessment to determine which sites are the most suitable to accommodate the developments wanted in Retford Town Centre.
Information about the Neighbourhood Plan can be found on the Retford Business Forum website (www.retfordbusinessforum.org.uk/RTCNPG) and any comments should be sent to