The team behind plans to build a digital hub in place of a social club have applied to use the existing building until legal issues are sorted out.
Haatch, run by former Kiddicare chief executive Scott Weavers-Wright, won planning permission to knock down the former Cummins Social Club in Blackfriars Street, Stamford, and build a four-storey office in September.
But the Cecil Estate Family Trust, which is part of the Burghley House Preservation Trust, launched a judicial review of the decision, putting demolition work on hold.
Planning law allows Haatch to use a small area of the existing building for two years, which they are currently doing. But the company is concerned the legal proceedings may take longer, so has applied to change the use of the whole building.
According to the latest planning application, Haatch is only allowed to use 150sq m of the building, or about half of the ground floor main space.
The application states that the space allowed is “impractical”, as Haatch “would like to be able to use additional space for ancillary purposes, including breakout space for informal discussion and group working, a staff rest room and a private formal meeting room. Consequently, this application effectively seeks to add the additional space to the permitted use.”
The application added: “Whilst permitted development rights would restrict the use to two years, the uncertainty of the future of the business at this location means that permanent permission is requested. Once the judicial review is finalised, the applicants will review their position and intentions as to the future of the building in terms of which company should occupy it.”
Haatch provides investment for digital startup companies. The idea behind the digital hub is to give these companies a space to work.
So far it has supported a number of firms including Pijon, which sells monthly care packages for students, and retail technology platform Elevaate.
The Cecil Estate Family Trust was one of a number of objectors to Haatch’s original planning application. The trust owns seven listed properties in the neighbouring St George’s Square including the two Grade II listed buildings, 14 and 14A, next door.
In bringing the judicial review, the trust said: “It is the trustees view that the council had failed to consider that the demolition of the former Cummins Social Club and erection of a new four storey office building with 150 seat auditorium in a basement to be excavated would damage the Grade II listed medieval barn and wall of Nos 14 and 14A.”
South Kesteven District Council, which approved the original plans, said it would “robustly defend” councillors’ decision.