Aldershot Civic Society (ACS) has said it is "disappointed but not surprised" after planning permission was granted for a block of flats despite its objections.

The society was among objectors to a scheme for a modern-looking block of 56 flats on the corner of Victoria Road and Crimea Road , which has been approved by Rushmoor Borough Council ’s development committee.

A council report described the five-storey building as “emulating features of nearby modern developments”.

However, opponents had likened it to a “converted office building” and labelled it “ugly in a way that modern architecture does not have to be”.

ACS chairman Justin Coll claimed the design of the development had been based on an existing office building further up Victoria Road, but it should instead have been styled on the town’s Victorian architecture.

A three-storey property directly opposite the development site in Victoria Road, called Greyholme, is a Grade Two listed Victorian building.

Yet a council planning officer concluded the development would have “no harmful impact upon the character of the area” as it was surrounded on the other sides by a car dealership and modern buildings of four or five storeys.

“New developments should be based on the Victorian heritage of the town, because that’s what people like about Aldershot,” Mr Coll said.

“The council should prioritise this, otherwise people end up living in what looks like an office block rather than a residential development.

“This development is not pleasant and there’s nothing Victorian about it whatsoever. It doesn’t fit in with the houses opposite.

An artist's impression of a block of 56 flats as it would look from the corner of Victoria Road and Crimea Road in Aldershot
An artist's impression of a block of 56 flats as it would look from the corner of Victoria Road and Crimea Road in Aldershot

“Several other people said the same thing as us regarding this development, so we’re disappointed but not surprised at the outcome.”

Mr Coll accused RBC of ignoring the terms of its own Local Plan, which describes the need to "enhance and promote the town’s historic heritage and built character".

“We’ve been saying this for a while, but the council has still not done anything about it," he said.

"This case brings into focus how inadequate the Local Plan is, as it doesn’t require developers to base new buildings on what people would like to see.

“This is an example of developers in Aldershot being able to cut things so finely that they end up with something functional but not at all nice to look at.

"If this sort of development is allowed, what does the Local Plan actually do?

“We will explore how the objectives of the Local Plan can be put more forcefully in future, because Aldershot deserves better.”