Plans by one of Fred Done's property development arms to demolish the Black Horse Hotel in Salford and build a private rented sector (PRS) complex with 399 apartments rising up to 21 storeys high look set to be given the go-ahead.
Property (Done) Ltd's application for a 4.5-acre site immediately to the south of the A6 and Salford Crescent Meadow and west of Oldfield Road will be considered by Salford City Council's planning committee next Thursday (7 April). The only remaining building on the land is the vacant Black Horse Hotel pub, which has fallen into disrepair.
The site lies within the 76.4-acre Crescent conservation area, which contains several grade II-listed buildings.
The developer wants to build a 22-storey block, a 17-storey block and a six-storey block. There would be 156 one-bed apartments, 223 two-bed apartments and 20 three-bed apartments along with 8,891 sq ft of commercial floorspace.
Betfred co-founder Fred Done is one of the directors of Property (Done) Ltd.
Ahead of the meeting, a planning officer's report has recommended that the committee should approve the proposal.
It said: "It is accepted that a high degree of harm is caused to the setting of the conservation area and of the listed buildings on Crescent frontage.
"However it is considered that substantial weight should be given to the regenerative benefits that accrue from delivery of a high-quality scheme for almost 400 new homes in this part of the city."
Meanwhile, national architectural charity the Victorian Society has urged Salford Council to reject the plans.
James Hughes, senior Victorian Society conservation adviser, said that it would be preferable to incorporate the Black Horse Hotel alongside an appropriate and viable housing development.
He added: "This is a large site with huge scope for redevelopment. Salford Council should push for a far more appropriate scheme that actually complies with local and national planning policy."
According to Hughes, the exterior, while needing work is well-detailed and largely intact. Moreover, he believes that the site contributes positively to the character and appearance of both the conservation area and nearby listed buildings.
He added: "The Victorian Society rarely sees such unsympathetic and inappropriate proposals. This development is not sustainable, fails to preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area and is contrary to both local and national policy and legislation on the historic environment.
"The harm caused by the locally listed hotel's demolition would be compounded by the proposed new buildings. The height and massing of the towers would be wholly at odds with the scale and appearance of existing buildings within the conservation area and would harm the setting of the listed buildings.
"The very high level of harm this scheme would cause cannot be justified and Salford Council should refuse consent."
The proposed development, known as the Crescent, would be the sister scheme of the Trinity PRS scheme. The Crescent has been designed by 5plus Architects.