No go for Towie dad’s ‘Gherkin’ in Brentwood

�A controversial “Gherkin of Brentwood” proposal has been thrown out by the council’s planning committee because of overdevelopment – despite similar sized buildings in the same street.

The site, which has been dubbed “Towie Towers”, is being developed by Paul Mecklenburgh, the father of The Only Way Is Essex (Towie) TV star Lucy Mecklenburgh. It includes the demolition of a former bike shop and construction of a four-storey building of 17 flats and shops.

The site has been derelict for five years and is the gateway from High Street to Crown Street – a row of independent and boutique shops, which owners say are hidden behind the building.

‘Welcome addition’

Cllr Julie Morrissey, said during Brentwood Council’s planning committee on Wednesday: “It is great to see a proposal come forward for this corner, however Crown Street is a special area and it’s important to protect it.”

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Cllr Russell Quirk said: “I don’t agree that it’s too big.

“It is in an area where there are other buildings that are high. There is a building that is 12 to 15 feet higher than this. On the other side is the multi-storey car park and a big office building which has a big shed on it for air conditioning.”

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He added that in context “if it’s dominant – so what? It’s the town centre. If you look at the Shard and the ‘Gherkin’ [landmark buildings in the centre of London], they weren’t turned down – if anything they attract to the area.”

But Cllr Karen Chilvers said: “I don’t want a ‘Gherkin’ in the town centre. I think it’s very important to protect this space and the multi-storey is the other side of the road.”

After the meeting Lin Heath, owner of the French Quarter in Crown Street, said: “The dilapidated buildings are off-putting, and if people don’t look beyond it, they won’t see our shops.

“‘Towie Towers’ will be a welcome addition to the road and will open up both Crown Street and Ropers Yard to the High Street, thereby making us more visible and accessible to High Street footfall.”

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