Plans to revamp hall are refused

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THE agent behind plans to revamp a dilapidated hall is “disappointed” by a council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

Robert Gooding applied to South Kesteven District Council on behalf of First Hamblin (Eastern) to turn the former Darby and Joan hall in North Street, Stamford, into two shops and a three-bedroom house.

The plans would have transformed the derelict building, which has been boarded up since 2004.

But on Friday last week the council rejected the change of use. Councillors were concerned traffic to and from the new homes and shops would be at a higher level than when the building was previously used.

A report said delivery vehicles would be forced to reverse out of the access road and the increased traffic would disrupt the free flow of vehicles in North Street.

Councillors also said the applicants had not given enough evidence to suggest the building should be used for retail.

Mr Gooding said: “We are disappointed the application has been refused.

“Our next steps are to have further negotiations with the local authority to overcome the reasons for refusal.

“We do intend to resubmit the plans.”

After briefly speaking to council planning officers, Mr Gooding is convinced that amended plans will be approved if the developers can address the concerns over road safety.

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.