A derelict former nightclub which has stood empty for years could be given a new lease of life if a planning application is approved.
A London development company has bought the former Minstrelz nightclub in High Street, March, and is seeking permission to transform the 19th century building into a block of 15 flats.
A previous planning application, approved in 2009 and renewed in 2012, allows for ten flats to be created, but developers H and C Architects say the existing proposals would not provide a sufficient return on the works required.
In a new application to Fenland District Council, the firm says: “As a consequence of the building being left unoccupied, and poorly maintained since 2006, and the extensive repair and refurbishment work that will be required, it became apparent that the relative costs of the project were high, and that against local property values, the existing application would not generate enough development value to sustain the development. In fact it would most probably make a considerable loss.”
The company now wants to create six two-bed flats, six one-bed flats and three two-bed maisonettes. The work would involve the demolition of existing single and two-storey extensions to the building, to be replaced by new two and three-storey extensions.
They argue that smaller flats “are proportionally more valuable” than houses and they say that the increased footprint of the latest plans are only five per cent over that of the existing permission.
With a listed façade, the new owners have been working with the council’s conservation officer to produce a viable scheme. They have also been given a grant from the council’s renaissance fund for listed buildings.
“This building needs urgent attention which granting the permission would enable,” they say.
No parking is proposed on the site but the developers are claiming exemption on the grounds of the building being within a conservation area, involves a listed building, and their proposals will bring back into use a derelict building.
Consultation notices have been sent out to neighbouring properties. They have until June 27 to respond, before the application is expected to come before the council’s planning committee in July.
If successful, the flats could be completed early next year.