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Magpas HQ may be replaced with 30 flats

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Thirty retirement flats could be built on the site of Centenary House -the Magpas HQ in Huntingdon.

Headley Stokes Associates Limited says it has been instructed by Walnut Tree Holdings Limited and joint venture partner Gainsford Properties Limited to apply to Huntingdonshire District Council for consent.

“The proposed retirement flats will involve replacing at outdated 1970’S building that does not respond to its site and surroundings in a sympathetic architectural language,” says a design and access statement to the council.

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“The new building provides much needed retirement flats and enhances the conservation area with a building that is both sympathetic and understanding to its immediate surrounding.”

Centenary House will be demolished and replaced with 30 flats and related communal spaces if planners agree. Magpas is moving out of town to Alconbury.

The site is located at the junction of St Marys Street and Castle Moat Road within the town centre.

The applicants say “the prominent position makes it one of the gateway sites within the town centre.

“For this reason, the proposed building takes advantage of its position and makes a clear architectural statement.”

Headley Stokes says Magpas are proposing to relocate their accommodation to an alternative site.

“Our client has researched the Huntingdon office market and concluded that there exists very little in demand for both a single occupier and for smaller self-contained office units,” says Headley Stokes.

“The Huntingdon office market has remained weak for a number of years and is not anticipating any improvement for the near future.

“Our client owns other commercial properties within Huntingdon, two of which have been vacant for more than one year.

“It is proposed to change the use of the site to retirement flats for which there exists a high demand within the town centre.

“This scheme proposes a four-storey building that reduces to three storeys to part of the St Marys Street elevation.

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“To the Castle Moat Road elevation Pathfinder House dominates the streetscape with its larger repetitive bulk and scale. Although we propose four levels to Castle Moat Road both the elevational treatment and scale is well below the presence of Pathfinder House.

“The current building found on site was designed in the 1970’s and is typical of its era with a complete disregard for its important corner position together with its immediate context.

“The current Centenary House appears insignificant and overwhelmed by Pathfinder House as seen from Castle Moat Road.

“Within the St Marys Street area, the current Centenary House relates awkwardly to surrounding buildings in terms of materials/scale.

“To the rear of the scheme we propose an access road with limited parking and unloading facilities.

Centenary House, Huntingdon, and current HQ for Magpas could be demolished and replaced with 30 flats

“The majority of the scheme’s parking provision is accommodated on a separate site on the opposite side of Castle Moat Road. This parking arrangement replicates the current provision of Magpas Air Ambulance.”

Hadley Stokes adds: “The existing grass area to the front of the site at the junction of St Marys Street and Castle Moat Road will be retained as a main feature within the new scheme.

“At roof level a communal garden is proposed for the use of all residents. This will bolster the wellbeing of residents and encourage the social side of living in this type of housing provision.

“At ground level landscaping will be incorporated to soften the impact of the scheme.

Centenary House, Huntingdon, and current HQ for Magpas could be demolished and replaced with 30 flats. Visual of new flats

“The prominent existing tree located on the adjoining site near to the site boundary has been celebrated within our scheme and retains its focal point for surrounding buildings.

“We have designed a substantial buffer zone between our proposed building and this feature tree.”

APPLICATION DETAILS ON HUNTINGDONSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL WEBSITE

22/01580/FUL | Demolition of existing building and erection of new four-storey building comprising 30 No. retirement flats with associated communal facilities and external landscaping, together with re-use of existing vehicular parking facilities on adjacent site. | Centenary House St Marys Street Huntingdon PE29 3PE

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