Former Darby and Joan hall in North Street could now become shops and a house

The boarded-up former Darby and Joan hall
The boarded-up former Darby and Joan hall

A DILAPIDATED hall which has been a boarded-up eyesore for years could be given a new lease of life.

A planning application has been submitted to revamp the former Darby and Joan hall in North Street, Stamford, into two shops and a three-bedroom house.

The application was submitted to South Kesteven District Council by agent Robert Gooding on behalf of First Hamblin (Eastern), based in 
Peterborough.

Mr Gooding said there had already been interest in one of the shops but wouldn’t reveal who from because it was “commercially sensitive”.

He said: “My understanding is that it has been vacant for a long period of time and we believe there is a commercial opportunity.

“I think developing it will be welcomed. We definitely need to do something with the site rather than let it continue to deteriorate.”

He said he did not know when work would begin on transforming the derelict building, which has been boarded up since 2004.

The application states the building appearance would be “improved” and that the facade would be in keeping with the property next door, which is Jim’s Pets.

People in the town have long complained about the state of the site. The building has steel panels over its 
windows and the gardens outside are overgrown and full of weeds.

The mayor of Stamford Bob Sandall said he was sad that the hall had deteriorated into its present condition.

“I would have preferred to see it remain as a building for the elderly or a community centre but this is the next best thing,” he said.

“Two new shops will bring jobs into the town and it will make the building look a lot better than it does at the moment so I wish the applicant every success.”

Alan Waling, joint owner of AJs Card Craft off North Street car park, also welcomed the news.

He said: “Anything this side of town that is commercial has got to be a good thing for us because it would draw customers in and it is a bonus that it will be tidying up the site.”

The Darby and Joan hall opened in 1954 but by 2001, membership of the Darby and Joan Club, which used the hall, had dropped and it was rarely used for private functions.

By 2003 the building had fallen into disrepair and it was boarded up in 2004. In 2004, a planning application was submitted to knock it down and build a £1m recreation centre for the elderly.

The plans were initially turned down but later approved in 2006. The centre didn’t come to fruition because of the cost.