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Charity unhappy with plan for the Stew in Shrewsbury

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A charity dedicated to preserving Georgian buildings has objected to the redevelopment of Shrewsbury's historic warehouse, the Stew.

Developer Gareth Leese wants to transform the Stew in Frankwell, into flats, a cafe and a spa.

But The Georgian Group has said the proposed work would cause “significant damage” to the building.

An image of how the Stew could look if the latest proposals are given the go-ahead

In a letter to Shropshire Council, Gareth Roberts, an architectural conservationist from the group, said: “The current proposals do not adequately address the significance of the Stew to the conservation area.

“While we would welcome an appropriate scheme to redevelop this area, the current scheme is unacceptable.”

He said the main issue is with the proposed roof structure which has been designed to accommodate seven apartments.

“The scale of the proposed extension is too large and as a result would dominate the original structure,” he added.

“The design of any addition should compliment the original fabric in terms of scale, design and materials. Unfortunately the current proposals fall significantly short in this regard.”

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Significance

The Victorian Society has also added its objection saying the plans are not sympathetic to the building. Anna Shelley, conservation adviser, said: “While the principles of repair and re-use with some adaptation would be broadly acceptable, the current proposals pay little attention to the significance of the Stew.

“We therefore request the current application is refused.” The two societies are the latest in a string of organisations to object to the plans despite support from nearby businesses, which claim the building is nothing more than a “rat and pigeon infested slum”.

In 2015, Mr Leese applied for permission to demolish the building and create a new building in its place.

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But the council refused to grant permission and, despite appealing, a planning inquiry supported its decision.

The fresh plans will be considered by the council’s planning department at a date to be set. The former warehouse sits disused between Theatre Severn and Guildhall, the home of Shrewsbury’s university in Frankwell.

The plans, submitted to Shropshire Council, suggest creating a spa, cafe, and flats in the building.

They retain 75 per cent of the original building, and include a new modern roof, designed by Base architects to “sweep” from the theatre to the Guildhall. Carl Huntley, the architect in charge of the new design, said the plans have been drawn up to address “historical concerns” but warned the future of the Stew will be bleak if the latest proposal is rejected.

Mr Leese, 45, who owns the building with his wife Samantha, said he is pleased with the latest plans, which he says will would ensure the building was fit for purpose for another 100 years.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

News reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering North Shropshire, including Ellesmere, Whitchurch and Wem.

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