THERE were heated scenes at the district council chamber as a controversial proposal to extend a dentist surgery was approved.
Cries of ‘shameful’ and ‘dreadful decision’ were heard from residents exiting the Avenue Road building following the debate on Wednesday (August 20). The angry locals then continued to remonstrate with Hirdeep Sanghera, owner of the Malvern Link based practice, afterwards for several minutes in the car park.
They had argued his proposal to extend his dentists, which is an NHS surgery, to two storeys was out of keeping with the rest of the buildings along the street.
But their main concern lay with existing parking problems on Richmond Road, which they said was practically ‘one-way’, and they feared the expansion would mean extra customers and staff in the future who would add to the issues.
Although, Mr Sanghera’s plans state the extra space will be used mainly for office and storage.
Rodney Hatfield, speaking on behalf of residents against the proposal, said: “No-one has had positive comments about this.
“The overall design and height of the new building will dominate the area. The materials won’t do and we can’t accept it.
“We have had rather weak assurances more staff will not be hired and there is chronic illegal parking already. If more people work there, they have got to park somewhere.”
Despite the scenes at the end of the meeting, Mr Hatfield said he had since contacted Mr Sanghera and hoped to remain on good terms with him.
He added he was mainly disappointed with councillors who approved the plans and highways officers who also gave them the thumbs up.
“I don’t think the councillors have done a great job for us, but I am angry about highway allowing this to go ahead,” Mr Hatfield said. “Their no objection was pivotal in the decision and overruled our concerns. I don’t think they have even bothered to come down here, they have probably just looked at a map. It is really irresponsible.
“Something has to be done about the parking, someone is going to get hurt.”
The council’s Southern Area Development Management Committee ruled in favour of the plans by 10 votes to seven after a move to get them thrown out failed.
Coun Brian Pilcher said: “We can’t stand still architecturally. This is a very modern looking building which will give an interesting contrast to its neighbours.
“Also there is a wonderful car park not 200 metres away from the surgery. The majority of patients are able bodied and will walk from there.”
Mr Sanghera said he did not want to be drawn into any further arguments with residents and stressed he had followed the proper planning procedure as advised by council officers. He added he was glad the proposal had been discussed publicly so residents’ concerns were aired properly.