Southend Road Penrith
Proposal for a Sainsbury's superstore, other retail, housing, restaurants, cafes, and office uses. Designed by Turley Associates.
7 October 2010
Planning reference: 10/0746
We regret that we are unable to support the current planning application. Our support for the approved scheme for this site was based on the integrity and quality of its architecture. The quality of materials and construction detailing now proposed is significantly reduced. Other positive aspects of the approved scheme remain. We continue to support the urban design, based on a series of characterful streets and spaces. We think that constructing the development in two phases is reasonable, and support the landscape planting proposed for sites not part of the first phase. We think similar provision should be made for the development of an office fronting the car park, as a later phase. The reduction in residential units, with a greater proportion of town houses improves the housing mix. The realignment of retail units along Brewery Lane seems acceptable. With further thought it should also be possible to achieve a scheme that is both financially viable, and provides buildings of lasting quality for Penrith town centre. We wish to support Eden District Council in demanding higher quality materials and construction, before granting planning approval.
Materials and construction
In the current scheme, natural stone has been replaced by precast concrete ‘Artstone’. Whilst natural stone ages gracefully, we think ‘Artstone’ is likely to age badly in the Cumbrian climate. In our view the local authority should encourage a return to natural stone, particularly for the window surrounds of houses, where relatively small quantities of material are involved. For the Sainsbury’s supermarket, if stone is no longer affordable, we think other materials and a different architectural expression should be considered. In our view, it would be preferable to omit faux chimneys, rather than construct them from glass reinforced concrete, as is now proposed.
We think the change from a sculpted timber façade to the multi-storey car park, to powder coated metal fins could be acceptable, subject to the quality of their detailing, and the way they are lit at night. The screening of the car park by landscaping including trees is welcome. Climbing plants could further soften the appearance of this large structure.
An office building was previously proposed wrapping the front elevation of the car park. We think it is essential that the scheme does not preclude the delivery of this as a later phase of development.