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6th Jul, 2022

Decision caps bottle plant bid

Malvern Editorial 15th May, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

DEVELOPERS have celebrated after winning a three-year ‘long haul’ battle to transform the historic Schweppes bottling factory.

Herefordshire Council recently approved Blue Cedar Homes’ proposal to demolish most of the buildings at the Walwyn Road site in Colwall to build 25 homes, a shop and a 46 bed nursing home.

The plans will also see the Grade II listed Tank House retained which the developer hopes to rent out as a small workshop when the project is completed.

Schweppes built the plant in 1892 next to the Great Western railway so bottles could be easily transported from the factory. It was the longest remaining continuous bottling plant around Malvern before its closure in late 2010.

Blue Cedar Homes completed the purchase of the plot in December 2011 and have since endured a lengthy battle against various national heritage organisations who wanted to see the buildings retained and adapted for a modern use.

Among the objectors were English Heritage, the Victorian Society as well as local groups the Malvern Civic Society and Malvern Spa Association.

Colwall Parish Council also expressed concerns that the nursing home was a ‘poor use’ of the site pointing out that Colwall needed 129 homes by 2031.

But most local residents were in favour of the plans with 11 people penning their support and the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells also endorsing the proposals.

Nick Cooper from Blue Cedar Homes, said: “It has been a long haul. This is a brown field site inside the settlement boundary which met national planning policies however it has been put through the mill.

“Local people had taken the trouble to walk and look around the site and did not consider these buildings were worthy of being saved. Most of the objectors were national groups who did not even visit the site.

“After a huge effort we are delighted we now have planning permission. We haven’t just covered it in housing, there is a real good mix and there is a clear need for a nursing home.”

Mr Cooper added despite the factory having hundreds of workers in its prime the nursing home would more than double the 17 jobs which remained by the time the plant closed.

Edward Nash, from Nash Partnership which have designed the new scheme, said it would have cost a substantial amount in remedial works to restore the buildings which would have used up funds allocated for landscaping, building the new shop and restoring some of the other features.

He added the Tank House was currently hidden away in the site but the development would bring it ‘centre stage’

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