‘Brutal’ plans for Victorian villas spark objections

A CIVIC society is opposing plans to convert a pair of Victorian houses facing onto “a jewel of an inner city park” into nine flats.

The proposals for Kingston Villas, a pair of three-storey houses, on the corner of Pearson Park have sparked objections from Hull Civic Society, as well as the Avenues and Pearson Park Residents Association (APPRA).

The poet Philip Larkin lived in a house overlooking the park, which earlier this year was awarded Lottery grants of more than £2.3m. Residents argue that the grade 11 listed park, which is an conservation area, needs to be protected from “unsympathetic” developments.

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An earlier proposal for 11 flats, including one in the coach house at the back of the buildings, was refused earlier this year. The latest plan would see the villas, last used as mental care facilities, divided into five one-bedroomed and four two-bedroomed flats.

The developer wants to put parking at the front for three cars and six at the back, creating an access through the prominent hedge at the front.

Planners who are backing the plan, due to be discussed on January 7, conditions could be put on any approval so the rest of the hedge stays and the flat roof can’t be used as a roof terrace, another bone of contention for objectors.

However one resident wrote: “It would be counter-productive to surround the park with too many small flats such as are proposed. Front gardens full of cars and multiple rubbish bins are not the best way to ‘enhance and conserve’ one of Hull’s best public spaces.”

And APPRA said they remained opposed: “We are accustomed to plans that turn former gracious and well-proportioned residences into a warren of sub-divided rooms which ruin the original design and elegant spaces; but we were hoping that the time for this sort of brutal and inconsiderate approach to fine old Conservation Area houses had gone.”

They would support plans for six flats, two on each floor.

The HLF described Pearson Park earlier this year as still “resonating with Victorian grandeur.”