Councillors throw out plans to create flats at Kirkby’s Diamond Centre

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COUNCILLORS have unanimously rejected a proposal to create flats at Kirkby’s Diamond Centre amid concerns about its design.

Plans were submitted by Nottingham-based firm Leaworks Ltd to create three self-contained living units, with a total of 28 bedrooms, and parking at the community centre on Diamond Avenue.

Residents have previously raised concerns that the building could be used to house ex-offenders - although bosses from Leaworks said it would not.

During a meeting on 10th May, Mark Watson, who is headteacher at nearby Morvern Park primary school, said: “The internal lay-out makes us question who the future occupants will be.

“Our school is united in our objection to what we feel is an immoral application.”

Council leader John Knight said he was ‘disappointed’ that the Victorian building could be turned into what he described as ‘a glorified squat’.

“This is not an attractive proposal,” he said.

“We have said that we want to turn Kirkby into an aspirational town. How is this going to do it? It’s going to do exactly the opposite.”

Coun Jason Zadrozny slammed the design of the proposed building.

He said: “We have so few buildings of historical importance that are in such condition when you see monstrous plans I think it’s particularly shocking. It could be restored so sensitively.”

Other councillors said the public had opposed the plans.

Warren Nuttall, whose Kirkby ward includes the site, said: “Every street and every parent is up in arms about what is being proposed.”

Meanwhile, Coun Rachel Madden raised concerns about road safety and the visual impact on the street scene.

Officers recommended that the plans were rejected because of lack of parking, insufficient information provided about noise levels, the lack of outdoor space for future occupiers, the impact on a historical building and the loss of a community building - and the councillors upheld these suggestions in the vote.

At the moment, the Diamond Centre is leased to Community CentrePoint, part of Trinity Methodist Church.

A spokesman for Leaworks Ltd has previously said that it would honour its five year lease with Community CentrePoint.