Future of Royal Gunpowder Mills is “uncertain”

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Our Head of Planning, Salvatore Amico, comments on the recent planning refusal relating to the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire.

Our Head of Planning, Salvatore Amico, comments on the recent planning refusal relating to the Royal Gunpowder Mills in Waltham Abbey, Hertfordshire.Local newspapers have dubbed the future of the Royal Gunpowder Mills as being “shrouded in mystery”. An application to convert part of the site to a children’s activity centre has been refused by Epping Forest Council in a special meeting called to discuss the application. Twenty-six Councillors voted for refusing the plans, compared to eighteen against and two abstentions.Council officers recommended approval of the scheme, which included accommodation buildings, dining and changing rooms, conversions of historic buildings for accommodation and classrooms, a new water lake, as well as zip wires and ‘tunnel trails’. Historic England back the proposal as it supports the fact that disused old buildings would come back into use. The development is backed by a Heritage Lottery Fund of £5million.

The Gunpowder Mills needs regeneration and investment amidst concerns that the centre in its current form is not financial viable. It is claimed that despite regular events and exhibitions the site receives grants of approximately £400,000 a year to stay open. Planning always involves a balancing exercise. A difficult planning judgement needs to be made in this case, on the one hand are the financial arguments of keeping the site open and operational and equally significant is maintaining the historical importance of the site, in the form of the World War One cordite factory. All interested parties will need to discuss potential ways forward, together with heritage and planning experts, to make sure the correct balance is struck.

For any planning advice please contact Salvatore on 01992 568027

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