Flats plan for former Wisbech Post Office
A developer claims he is hoping to deliver a long-term future for the former Wisbech Post Office building with plans to convert a large part of it into flats.
Mr Azam, of Luton-based East-West Holding Ltd, has submitted an application to convert the majority of the building in Bridge Street into 34 apartments with two commercial units being retained to the front of the building.
There will be seven flats on the groundfloor behind the commercial units and the remaining flats will be distributed over the other three floors: Fourteen on the first floor, eight on the second and five on the third.
A planning statement submitted in support of the application argues the change of use will help ensure the long-term use of the listed building, which was also once the town's telephone exchange.
It says: "It will also ensure the long-term use of a listed building, thereby helping to preserve the building and the character and appearance of the Wisbech Conservation Area.
"The conversion of the former post office building to residential use can be accommodated without causing harm to the fabric of this listed building."
And the statement also claims the move will help contribute to the "vitality and viability of the town centre" by increasing the number of people living in the locality, who will then be "reliant up on it for goods and services".
The building, which was built-in 1887 as a Post Office and then had the telephone exchange added behind in the 1970s, can be converted with minimal internal alterations, says the statement which adds: "A number of modern internal partitions will be removed, and new internal partitions installed to facilitate the conversation.
"Any historic features of interest within the building will be retained.
"It is therefore considered that the any harm resulting from the works would be at the very low end of less than substantial harm and outweighed by the benefit of bringing this Listed Building back into active use.
"As such the proposal is considered to comply with the Planning and Listed Building Act."
The statement also points out: "It is considered that the application proposal would have a positive impact upon the Wisbech Conservation Area, both preserving and enhancing it. Retention of two-ground floor commercial units on Bridge Street will retain the historic character of this part of the site whilst the conversion of the remaining building to residential use will ensure that the rest of the Listed Building remains in active use."
Wisbech Post Office closed 10 years ago and has been used as offices as for WMS Recruitment in recent years. It is a Listed Building and is described as being built in the "French medieval style".