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Grade II listed former Wisbech beauty salon may become 11-room HMO

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A £400,000 Grade II listed shop in Wisbech town centre – until recently a beauty and hair salon – could become a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for 11 residents.

Top To Toe, in Hill Street, which once employed 13 staff, closed in June last year – blaming the Coronavirus pandemic for its demise.

Newly formed Dragon Property Developments Ltd has applied to Fenland District Council to turn the former Top to Toe salon in Wisbech into an HMO.

Owner Paul Davies said: “Following the most turbulent 18 months of forced closure and restrictions I have had to take the devastating decision to close the doors of Top To Toe.”

Newly formed Dragon Property Developments Ltd has applied to Fenland District Council to turn the former shop into an HMO.

The application has won support from Wisbech town council that would see the property converted to include three ensuite rooms, 8 bedsits and a one-bed flat.

Newly formed Dragon Property Developments Ltd has applied to Fenland District Council to turn the former Top to Toe salon in Wisbech into an HMO.

A 2.125 (max.) metres high entrance gate to the HMO at 27 Hill Street is envisaged.

Dragon Property says the town centre location is “appropriate” for housing.

“The scheme will help meet housing need and support the local economy,” it says.

Newly formed Dragon Property Developments Ltd has applied to Fenland District Council to turn the former Top to Toe salon in Wisbech into an HMO.

“It will also bring a listed building back into active use.

“Changes to the use class order and the introduction of the prior approval process signal Government’s clear intention to introduce more flexibility into the planning system.”

It says the change in approval processes allow the council “to respond to change demands including for retail space, a situation which has been exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic”.

Dragon Property adds: “The change to residential use will also contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

The company says the proposal has been discussed with the council’s conservation officer prior to submission.

“Only one minor external alteration is required to facilitate the conversion to residential use,” says Dragon.

“It is proposed to replace the existing fixed glazing in the upper part of front ground floor windows fronting Hill Street with fanlights.

“As such there would be no material change to the features of the building located within the listing description.

“It is considered that this scheme strikes the right balance between the delivery of a commercially viable scheme which will be implemented and the protection of this historic asset.

“Any harm resulting from the development is assessed as being at the low end of less than substantial harm and outweighed by the benefit of bringing this listed building back into active use.”

Newly formed Dragon Property Developments Ltd has applied to Fenland District Council to turn the former Top to Toe salon in Wisbech into an HMO.

Car parking will be provided to the rear of the building.

12 designated parking spaces are proposed along with space for 5 cycle parking stands

Only one objection is showing on Fenland Council planning website.

A neighbouring shop keeper says local services and local schools will be unable to cope.

The objection also includes fears of noise, the HMO being out of character for the area and a fear of anti-social behaviour.

“I feel I must object to this application because this is primarily a retail street and once one application is approved more will follow,” says the objector.

“There should be more to attract small independent retailers not living accommodation.”

The application reference is F/YR22/0886/FDL and be viewed on the council planning site.

 

 

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