In February, the Temeside Vets surgery at the Casemill flooded yet again. The disruption to business and service by flooding was becoming unacceptable and the practice has been looking around for alternative premises for years. Fortunately, with the completion of the Grain Loft we have spare space in Ludlow at Marston’s Mill, where the Foyer is based. The surgery has applied for a change of use of the first, second and third floor offices and part ground floor foyer to form a veterinary centre. Any work required will be internal, with no changes to the external appearance.
It’s a good application which I support. The town council has however objected.
There have been ten expressions of support for the move from Temeside to Marston’s Mill and one objection. That objection was made by Ludlow Town Council.
I don’t agree with the council’s arguments, which express concern about a veterinarian business co-existing within residential complex. The council is also worried that residents will use the lift along with animals. Neither of these is the case. The vet complex will be self-contained in Marstons Mill, the old building. Residents live in the Grain Loft, the modern building attached at a right angle. The way that the vets are planning to use the building means there will be minimal risk of disturbance to residents.
The council also raises concerns about fire safety. A fire safety plan is in place and will be updated with the change of use. Fire safety is not in any event normally a planning matter. It is dealt with by building regulations and if these are not met the building cannot be used.
The council said in its objection: “There is no mention of how waste, which would include blood and other fluids, and occasionally dead animals would be deposed of hygienically.” At this point, I begin to suspect that the council has made a hurried response without reading all the details. The application clearly states that that there is already a disposal system in place at the Temeside site. This will continue at Marstons Mill. Commercial waste is also one of the most strictly regulated services in the UK and waste disposal is not normally a matter for planners.
The council also makes objections about the level of car parking, but I am satisfied that the dedicated staff and customer parking is adequate.
I think Ludlow Town Council has not made a robust or credible objection this application.
The application will be decided by planning officers in the next few weeks. I have said that an application like this that has no significant planning issues should not go before the Southern Planning Committee. I look forward to its approval.
It is important that we keep local businesses thriving. We also need to bring this empty space into use. If we do so, the problems Temeside Vets face with being repeatedly flooded out will be resolved. The new use for Marstons Mill will also provide a revenue stream to Connexus which will be used to support social housing projects like the Foyer.