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Major planning applications - Tricorn House

Tricorn House in Cainscross has stood empty for many years, despite extensive efforts by Stroud District Council and partners to encourage the owners to bring it back in to use. Ownership changed at the end of 2022 and the building is being refurbished for residential use. It is a site with issues which concern many people. Here are answers to questions which are often asked about it.

Tricorn House was built in the early 1970’s and was used as an office building for the Government Department of Health and Social Security.  It was vacated in 1996 and has been largely empty since that time, falling into disrepair and becoming increasingly derelict.  The site has had a number of different planning consents to be redeveloped over the years, but none of these have been progressed by the owners, until now.  The current planning consent that is being implemented is for a conversion of the building into 44 residential apartments.

Viladnik Holdings Ltd. It has owned the building since the end of 2022. Stroud District Council has never owned the building.

The owners (Viladnik Holdings Ltd) has employed a team of contractors to redevelop the site.

There is a 'Permitted Development' consent to convert the building into residential apartments. Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Instead, applicants submit a Prior Notification to the council. Permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations to control impacts and to protect local amenity.A condition of this consent is that the development must be completed by the end of May 2023 and Stroud District Council will need to take a view at that time on whether the works to convert the building are sufficiently complete, and if not, what action may be appropriate.

A separate planning application has also been received (February 2023) for new windows and entrance to the building, as well as a structure to house bats. This is because bats are present in the building and they are a protected species. This new application is currently out for public consultation and is in addition to the main ‘Permitted Development’ consent mentioned above.

The owners have confirmed that consultation on the current Permitted Development works will not be undertaken, as these works already have consent. The separate planning application for the windows and entrance area (referred to above) is currently out for consultation and the public can comment by 8th March 2023).

The current consent for the building provides 34 parking spaces for the 44 residential units. The permitted development process did not require car parking to be provided in accordance with normal parking standards. The site is small, so there is limited opportunity to provide any more than 34 spaces. Stroud District Council has offered to discuss making additional spaces available and owners have confirmed that they are prepared to talk to Stroud District Council about this, although the current consent does not require this.

The owners have said that there will have been substantial progress towards completion by the end of May but the date of full completion is not yet known.

Stroud District Council understands that there will be a peak of 50 to 60 construction workers per day on site in the period up to end of May 2023.

The developer will abide by the considerate constructor’s scheme and will regularly keep Stroud District Council officers up to date with works on site.

Stroud District Council’s main role is as the Local Planning Authority, responsible for ensuring that the building is developed in line with the relevant planning consents.  The Council has also represented the long-standing community concerns about the building when encouraging owners to progress with the redevelopment.

Stroud District Council has been in regular dialogue with the different  owners over recent years, reminding them of their responsibilities for the safety and security of the building and supporting their plans – as far as possible - to bring it back into positive use for our community.

Stroud District Council cannot purchase a building unless the owners wish to sell.  The previous owners would not allow Stroud District Council access to the site to value it, to potentially make an offer for the building. There is a legal power known as a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) that Stroud District Council attempted to use to force the owners to sell the building (in 2008), but this was not successful. Efforts since that time have focused on encouraging owners to redevelop the site using the various planning consents that have been granted by Stroud District Council.

A building can only be demolished if the owners want to demolish and have the necessary consent. Previous owners have had planning permission to convert the building, but these plans have not been implemented. The works that are now under way (Feb/March 2023) are being carried out under a ‘Permitted Development’ consent.  The Council can only demolish a building that it does not own and/or control, if it is an unsound structure. Tricorn House is not regarded as an unsound structure. 

A planning application for a bat mitigation structure has been received (see above). This is in accordance with a licence from Natural England.

Communal winter starling roosts are most noticeable in late autumn and winter when the resident population is augmented by large numbers of birds from continental Europe. By the end of February/beginning of March, the winter roost is abandoned as the European birds begin their return journey to their home breeding grounds and resident birds disperse to local breeding areas.  

Starlings are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill, injure or take a starling, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents. Starlings are also a Priority Species (Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC)), which means that public bodies need to have regard to biodiversity conservation when carrying out their functions.

The owner is conscious of the presence of roosting starlings in the ivy which has grown on the side of the building in the last few years. The owner of the building is concerned of the potential damage to the building structure and ongoing maintenance costs of retaining the ivy, so is preparing to remove it prior to the 2023 bird nesting season. 

A winter roost is different to a nest, however, if this winter roost must be moved on (as the ivy has to be  removed as part of the redevelopment work) then it should be undertaken in an appropriate manner.

The owner has sought their own specialist advice about appropriate mitigation and this  this  includes timing the work to ensure that no birds are killed, injured or taken The birds are likely to disperse naturally from the beginning of February to the end of March and are likely to find alternative winter roosting sites, particularly as they have only recently occupied the site in the last few years.

To enhance the site  the owner proposes to install  starling nest boxes on the building on the elevation where the ivy has grown. This will provide some potential  nesting and roosting opportunities for Starlings on the building for future years.  



Contact Details

The developer is part of the Considerate Contractor scheme and can be reached on 020 8802 1102 or 07511 050 741

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