Plan to turn Shropshire councillor's shop into flat

A vacant town centre shop owned by a Shropshire Councillor is to be turned into a flat.

High Street, Cleobury Mortimer. Photo: Google StreetView.
High Street, Cleobury Mortimer. Photo: Google StreetView.

Councillor Gwilym Butler has applied for the change of use of the shop premises at 28 High Street, Cleobury Mortimer, from retail to residential.

A separate application has also been submitted for listed building consent, detailing the internal alterations necessary to make the property habitable.

The shop, which has a two-bed flat above, has been empty for several months and planning officers have recommended permission be granted in order to preserve the Grade II listed building. No external alterations are proposed.

A design and access statement by Councillor Butler’s architect, Stewart Mumford, says the proposals are a result of a shift in the balance of the town centre’s economy.

It says: “If the property is converted to residential as per the enclosed plans, should the market conditions change it would be easy to convert it back to retail or office subject to a planning application.

“In recent years the High Street retail presence has changed. The medical centre moved to the top of the High Street, taking the pharmacy from Church Street. The new Co-op close by has shifted the epicentre of retail, reducing footfall in this area of town.

Potential

“In recent years, Jones Newsagents, Instep Frozen Foods, tea rooms, Wakemans Homewares – all within 100 metres of the property – have been converted to residential.

“The change of use of 28 High Street to residential will secure its future, as revenue from the rental tenant will contribute to the building’s maintenance and upkeep.”

The applications will be decided by Shropshire Council’s southern planning committee at a meeting next Tuesday.

A report by planning officer Heather Owen says the shop has limited retail potential due to its small size.

It says: “The applicant’s agent advises that the property has been marketed with local estates agents and via the national sales websites since November 2019 when the last tenant vacated. No offers or interest have been registered.

“The council also acknowledges that there is an acute need for small accommodation, particularly for young people.

“In addition the scheme would secure the immediate conservation of a listed building.

“When all these factors are weighed into the planning balance it is considered in this instance these benefits would outweigh the loss of this retail unit and the vitality and viability of the town centre would not be significantly undermined to justify refusal of the application.”

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