THE former police station in Basingstoke is being demolished to make way for retirement apartments, after an application refused by the borough council was given the go-ahead by the planning inspectorate.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council refused to allow Churchill Retirement Living to build 56 apartments at the site of the former police station in London Road in February 2020.

It was the second application to be refused by the council, after Churchill Retirement Living previously applied to build 55 homes at the same site in February 2019.

The plans were described as “incongruous” by the borough council who also said the development “would fail to respect the established pattern and character of surrounding development”.

Concerns were also raised over harm being caused to the adjacent White Hart pub, a grade two listed building.

However, the planning inspectorate disagreed and granted permission for the development in June this year.

A decision report stated: “In my view the local character of the area is varied, with no particular style of building, footprint, scale, building line or materials being particularly prevalent.”

It added: “Whilst the building would be larger than the existing development on the site, it would still appear as its own building.”

The inspector concluded that the proposal would “deliver a quality design, which, in combination with the retention of the existing landscaped front of the site, would not materially harm the character and appearance of the area”.

Referring to the impact on the White Hart, the report said: “Whilst the proposed building would be taller and located closer to the listed building than the existing development on site, I find that the overall historic significance of the listed building would not be harmed.”

The inspector determined the appeal based on the council’s lack of land for housing, explaining: “It is acknowledged by the council that, at this moment in time, they are unable to demonstrate a 5 year supply of housing land. On the basis of the information before me, I see no reason to disagree with this position and I have therefore determined the appeal on this basis.”

The development will include a collection of one and two-bedroom retirement apartments.