Pearl Walk Planning
  • No time to look at in great detail now, but Pearl Walk is up at CBC Planning on 15th Nov [PDF]
  • Taylor Wimpey wanted to convert 4 unsold commercial units into flats but a decision was delayed for 6 months to give more time to market them.  One has now been sold but it is proving difficult to sell the others because of the poor parking provision (one parking place per unit). I do not think it would have taken a genius to predict that it would be difficult to attract commercial occupants with nowhere for staff or customers to park but sometimes I think planners live in a world of make-believe. The recommendation in the committee report is that permission to convert the remaining three units to flats should be given although it is recognised that parking is inadequate, but there is no space for more.  Taylor Wimpey will provide one unit of social housing as a condition which will be offsite at the Garrison.
  • How widely were they advertised as commercial units, I wonder.
  • Shame they didn't allow retail or restaurant/cafe/bar use.
  • social housing as a condition which will be offsite at the Garrison.

    {sarcasm}
    Good to see we are shipping out the poor, plebs & undesirables again.
    We don't want that kind around here.
    {/sarcasm}




  • I have been meaning to comment on this planning application ever since it went in and have missed my chance to so this is just a little vent really...

    I really hope they keep them as business units. I think they have never had any intention of selling them if they can possibly help it- the contrast between the marketing effort on the residential units and business ones is vast- I realise the residential are more profitable but still.... when you phone up about the residential you get bombarded with glossy brochures detailing benefits of living here, follow up calls, mortgage advisors who can be consulted and shown around the site. Unsold units are reduced in price and have extras thrown in to make them look more appealing, deals can be done. On the business units you are lucky if anyone is prepared to talk to you, no assistance is forthcoming and you are buying two walls and an area of concrete floor. A lot of work and money are required to make them useable and you cannot raise a commercial mortgage against this cost meaning even more capital outlay. I notice that the fact they were allowed to sell them as a shell has already been noted in the planning application discussion and I definitely think this along with a total unwillingness to engage, will have helped them to stay unsold. Plus at the moment it is a very noisy building site and the other units were also empty.

    The three most expensive units have been purchased now although one of these is yet to be fitted out. I think these three are all operational it will increase the attractiveness to other potential purchasers. I think this application is being called in early because TW are worried they are going to sell them as offices, despite their best efforts not to. Frustrating! I think an office share space would be great if they don't  get made into flats.
  • Bah and humbug! Looks like it has been approved so they will be made into flats.


  • No it has not been approved, merely a recommendation made by the planning officer.
  • oooh good and apologies for posting misinformation. What does this mean Samwaski? Does it mean it has to go to Wivenhoe Town Council for approval or will CBC have to approve it?
  • No, basically the planning officer in charge of the application makes a recommendation to the committee on their opinion based on planning evidence.  "Approve conditional" means the recommendation is to approve the application but with conditions as outlined in the officers statement.  The committee is a panel which consists of borough and town councillors amongst others, and only applications which are "called in" or recieve TC obejction have to go before the committee rather than be decided by the officer.

    Planning law is bewildering and is a confict of government, county council, highways, borough / district and town council objectives. When the original planning application was approved, it was an application that met government guildelines which at the time required (amongst other things) employment re-introduced on former employment land.  They did this by providing these business units and multi-use homes nearby.  The LPA will always approve something if they know the inspectorate would allow it on appeal, and had been down this route.  Then the crunch happened, commercial property became a no-go, and understandably Wimpeys wanted to do something to try and shift the units, so lets not forget the previously refused application to keep the units commercial but lose the restrictive B1 usage.  Now they are investigating residential usage and following the condition to keep the units on the market for a further six months, they want a decision made quicker than that so they can get on at the garrison site.

    The council don't want property sat about empty because it can cause decay, vandalism, etc. 

    In other words, you cannot make everyone happy all of the time!!!

  • Looks like the remaining offices are definitely turning into flats....

    TW are now asking £200k each for what were £90k as shells.

    At £269 per square foot, these new Pearl Walk flats come in just a few pounds more expensive per square foot than some of the new top spec Vaughn and Blyth houses in the gated developement on the Avenue.

    For example the £800k, 3000sq foot Holly House, was slightly less expensive at £266 per sq foot than the new Taylor Wimpey flats. Although of course, Holly House also came with 1/3rd of an acre and a double garage versus a single allocated parking space and no garden.

    Now, I know there are economies of scale when buying property and that the Pearl Walk units get to look over the wet dock, but still, I am hoping there will be enough money swilling around for pot hole fixing when TW have sold them.

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Wivenhoe Diary
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1 - 30 April, James Dodds exhibiting at Over the Sofa Gallery, Wivenhoe Bookshop
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11 April, Wivenhoe Watching Wildlife Springwatch, Sailing Club, 7:30 - 10pm
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