‘Urban neglect’ plaque ‘honours’ derelict flats

Monday 20th June 2022 6:00 am
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A FAKE plaque honouring a prominent rundown block of flats as “a fine example of urban neglect” has appeared on the wall.

Former Ross-on-Wye town mayor Cllr Daniel Lister posted a picture of the plaque online, on the wall of the town’s derelict Riverview flats near the town’s bandstand and reopened Hope and Anchor pub.

The cheeky sign, with a blue ‘civic’ background, says: “Ross-on-Wye 2015-2022, fine example of urban neglect, erected by the mayor’s trust”.

And posting a picture, Cllr Lister said: “Well this was amusing… sometimes you just have to laugh.”

The saga of the rundown three-storey flats dates back several years, with a plan to redevelop and extend them to four storeys rejected by a planning inspector last April following an appeal.

They and the rundown Riverside Inn opposite - another contentious planning battleground – have long been eyesores on the Wye Street town gateway.

Coleford-based Denver Rollings applied to redevelop the flats, but was turned down at appeal on the grounds that the four-storey proposal “would no longer form a sympathetic continuation of the adjacent residential terrace” and would be “jarring”.

That was in spite of planning inspector Samuel Watson admitting the “prominent” building was “in a very poor state of repair, overgrown, (with) windows boarded up, and surrounded by fencing”, which was “detrimental to the overall quality of the street scene and to Ross-on-Wye conservation area as a whole”.

People took to social media to have their say over the fake plaque, one posting: “Not really funny at all. Bloody shameful.”

A woman added: “It’s so sad, to see such a prime position in a beautiful place on the Wye, rundown and uninhabited.

“I think, it would be a real money-spinner and much sought-after, by many visitors from far and wide, if it were turned into perhaps, attractive holiday flats?

“Ross-on-Wye is a picturesque place and really attractive to tourists, from all over the world, in my humble opinion.

“However, methinks, almost anything, would be an improvement on it’s current appearance.” One poster said: “They would be fantastic places to live, if someone was allowed to do something with them, but the not in-keeping with the area is a bit pretentious, because they look like an absolute eyesore in an area of outstanding beauty.”

Another posted: “Can’t believe this has been allowed to happen to these lovely flats. I used to work in the one owned by PGL.”

One man joked that the derelict pub could do with a similar plaque, too.

In his appeal of Herefordshire Council’s 2021 refusal of planning permission, Mr Rollings sought an award of costs against the council, claiming it had acted unreasonably by moving from broadly supporting the scheme at the pre-application advice stage to then rejecting it.

But the inspector said: “Whilst it is unhelpful that the council changed their position, I do not find that the change was so significant as to be unreasonable.”

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