DPC gives green light for mortuary project, with conditions
Outline planning permission was granted for the construction of a mortuary on Cemetery Road during Thursday’s meeting of the Development and Planning Commission.
During the meeting Christopher Key, the interim Deputy Town Planner, read the Town Planner’s report noting the comments from various entities.
However, the lack colour of the building and parking for a hearse to unload or load a coffin was noted, with a recommendation that the issues be addressed when filing for full planning permission.
The building would be sited where the temporary cabins are located at the entrance to the cemetery.
“In terms of overall assessment we have no objection to the removal of the cabins, they are an eyesore,” said Mr Key.
“We also consider that this is an appropriate site for the location of the mortuary, especially its proximity to the cemetery.”
“We have no objections to the proposed scale, mass or height of the proposed building.”
“We have no objection to a simple design building and we do know that there are industrial buildings in the area.”
“However, whilst we appreciate that it's an outline application, we do have some concerns with the design of the buildings such as the facade treatment and the colour and the tones which are proposed.”
“Currently, the visuals have been submitted present the building as slightly generic and slightly gloomy.”
“We feel it could be visually enhanced and improved through the detailed design process.”
“We feel there's potential to incorporate design features of the surrounding such buildings such as the stairs, the green bounding, which is on the adjacent cemetery buildings and also feel that they can incorporate terracotta so that tiles which do exist, and that features like this could provide added warmth and depth to what's being proposed.”
The DPC also suggested including green landscape features such as planters or creeping plants on parts of the elevations, in order to “soften” the proposed building.
“We also have concerns that it seems to be that parking issues have been overlooked in terms of what's been proposed as there's no designated parking for hearses, visitors or employees,” Mr Key added, while acknowledging the constraints of the site.
“At the very least there should be motorcycle cycle parking for and there should be a designated area for hearses to stop and carry out their business.”
Overall, the town planner recommended that outline planning permission be issued, but subject to conditions regarding design and parking.
Dr John Cortes, the Minister for Heritage, agreed that “the design needs a lot of work”.
“I think we can't forget that the building to the west is an old cottage, a very, very old cottage,” he said.
“In fact, it appears in the rock model in the museum.”
Claire Montado from the Heritage Trust also voiced concerns on the design because the building is in a historical area.
Although not a planning consideration, Janet Howitt from the ESG asked if anyone knew if the services of the mortuary would be provided free by the Government, as in the past, or whether a private firm would take over the operations of the business and therefore charge a fee.
None of the DPC members had the knowledge of the planned workings of the mortuary to answer her question.
Also gaining approval during the meeting was the proposed extension to Rock Gardens to provide two additional residential units, including installation of a lift, gym and ancillary works.
There were four objectors to this development, with both Ms Howitt and Dr Cortes voicing the fact that when the original development was proposed nearly 20 years ago, they were against its creation then and would be against any expansion today.
However, with seven people voting in favour the application was approved.
The proposed loft conversion, extension and other works to 51b Europa Road was also approved by all members.