Flats plan for 17th Century Bridgnorth building is only viable option, claims developer
The developer behind plans to turn a derelict Grade II Listed building in the centre of Bridgnorth into flats claims it is the only viable option to bring the building back into use after 50 years.
Charlie Fox-Davies wants to convert the 17th Century number 3, High Street, into three "bedsits" and said despite calls to turn it into a family home, a lack of space renders this not possible.
The former estate agent, who is now a director of Foxcote Properties in Swancote, said they plan to use "sympathetic development techniques" that would renovate the site while retaining its historic look and ambience.
A previous application to turn the building into seven flats was opposed by the town's civic society before being withdrawn due to confusion over the minimum room size limit.
"I think everyone assumes the inside is like a museum but the only thing that's been in there are rats and mice," said Mr Fox-Davies.
"We're going to use very sympathetic development techniques – we're not cowboys. Essentially it's a derelict building that's been empty for the last 50 years being brought back into use.
"Some of the windows have been ripped out and all the original features have gone. We plan to use old fashioned plaster which is more expensive but will help retain its look, as well as match the windows up."
Mr Fox-Davies, who currently deals with about 70 tenants in the area, added: "There have been a few people saying I'll never get it through and I understand their opposition but there's a lack of affordable renting property in Bridgnorth.
"If you were to search online there's virtually nothing and this property has been empty now for five decades. We have some similar bedsits in Low Town which are very popular and seem to go down very well.
"I know some people have been insinuating it should be brought into a family home but the back garden is smaller than my work van and no family in their right mind would take that on without space outside or somewhere to park a car.
"It just doesn't lend itself to a family home and if we could have done this and thought someone would want it, we would have done."
The three-storey town house, which adjoins a jewellers, is thought to have originally been used as a shop.
The latest proposals show work would result in a two-bedroom flat, and two one-bedroom flats.
Shropshire Council's planning department is set to decide on the plans in the coming weeks.