A bid to transform Penrith’s Voreda House has been redrawn for the third time.
Eden Council is bidding to get planning permission to transform the building into the UK’s first net-zero-carbon retrofit office.
The authority’s planning committee refused to grant approval for the major upgrade of the building last month, which Eden has acquired from the NHS to become its new headquarters.
Councillors on the committee threw the plans out because they felt the design and appearance of the development would have had a detrimental impact on the area and create an adverse impact upon neighbouring residential amenity.
As the principle concern was the proposed cladding system and its appearance, 2030 Architects – working alongside Greengauge Building Energy Consultants and the district council – have made changes which, it is hoped, should answer the committee’s concerns.
Externally, the building will now be clad in an ashlar Lazonby sandstone which retains the stone character of the conservation area.
A spokesman said: “The stone will not match the existing buildings, but is of a local stone which has been used on buildings most recently the new police headquarters at Kemplay Roundabout.
“Given that the scheme is intended to be developed under a Design and Build tender we suggest that a condition relating to the final details of the stone cladding is incorporated into the approval to allow the design to be further developed under the control of Eden District Council.
“The ‘green wall’ will be formed from climbing plants including Parthenocissus Tricuspidata Boston ivy and Hedera Hibernica, Hedera Helix Woerner,Hedera helix Goldchild, Hedera Helix Green Ripple.
“There will be also be ‘living wall’ elements up to the first floor level, along the main public elevations facing Coronation Gardens.”
Scott Jackson, chairman of Penrith Town Council’s planning committee, said: “If you could take some of the more visually unappealing buildings in this town and a developer offered to clad them in local stone, you’d bite their hand off.
“This is an application that has become more political than procedural and on a planning basis there isn’t anything to object to. We returned a response of no objection.”
Town councillor Charlie Shepherd, who is vice-chairman of the Friends of Coronation Garden, said this third application for the site was “an improvement on an improvement”.