Former training centre to convert to shops

A former management training centre has been granted permission to convert into five self-contained shop units.

Stratford Academy, Bridge Street, Oakengates
Stratford Academy, Bridge Street, Oakengates

Stratford Academy, in Oakengates, previously provided degree- and postgraduate-level tuition, but has been vacant since October 2019.

After its change-of-use application was green-lit by Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning department, it can now convert into non-food retail space.

Oakengates Town Council was consulted, and supported the application, but expressed concern about traffic going in and out of the 887-square-metre site.

The academy, at the corner of Bridge Street and Church Street, was a branch of the Stratford College of Business and Management Ltd, and consisted of three meeting rooms, three offices and a reception area.

Oakengates Town Council discussed the proposal when it met on February 4.

“Councillors support the change of use but have expressed concerns about the egress on and off the site onto Church Street,” its comment read.

Blueprints submitted by Lightmoor-based Gareth Hickman Architectural Ltd on behalf of Stratford Academy show it plans to refit the interior and divide it into five identically-sized retail spaces, each with its own toilet and kitchen area.

The planning permission approval notice, sent by the planning department, says the five units are not allowed to “merge with other units to increase in scale”.

It says this rule is in place “to ensure the units are an appropriate size for the locality”. Under the terms, trading is only allowed on the premises between 8am and 6pm, and the 14 car parking spaces currently on site would all be retained.

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