Shrewsbury Town Council supports controversial plans for The Stew
Shrewsbury Town Council is supporting controversial plans to renovate the town's historic warehouse, The Stew.
Plans have been submitted to Shropshire Council by developer Gareth Leese to transform The Stew at Frankwell into flats, a cafe and a spa.
Despite support from nearby businesses who say the building is nothing more than a “rat and pigeon infested slum” critics say the redevelopment plans would cause harm to the surrounding area.
The former warehouse has been at the centre of a protracted planning battle for a number of years.
Now the town council's planning department has met and is supporting the controversial plans.
Town clerk Helen Ball said on behalf of the council: "The town council is generally supportive of the current proposals to renovate The Stew, retaining as much of the building as possible and creating a use for the building which has been empty for virtually two decades.
"Members however remain at odds with the contemporary design choice of the additional floor and would look to seeing a more traditional pitched alternative being used."
Councillor Alan Mosley, leader of Shrewsbury Town Council, said he supports the latest plan.
He said: "I wasn't at the meeting, but personally I favour getting on with some development down there.
"This plan looks to be a definite advance from what was previously proposed.
"I agree with the decision made at the town's planning meeting because the current proposals will add to the amenities of the town and protect much of the heritage building.
"It's a significant improvement on what was previously proposed.
"This is a building that is important but something must be done to sustain it and give it a valuable future.
"It's obviously deteriorated very rapidly.
"I think it should go ahead subject to conditions that the planning officers will put in place."
In 2015 Mr Leese applied for permission to demolish the building and create a new building in its place.
But the council refused to grant permission and, despite appealing, a planning inquiry supported its decision.
Now Historic England and Save Britain’s Heritage have waded in to the debate, saying that the current plans for redevelopment contravene planning law.
The plans 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.
The plans are due to be considered by the council’s planning department at a date to be set.