Residents of a Bury St Edmunds street are being invited to an open meeting next week to discuss proposed renovation of three neighbouring properties.
Lark Valley Projects Ltd, a property development and engineering company based in Little Whelnetham, wants to renovate 31-33 Guildhall Street, which have stood empty for some time but were, for many years, used by car accessories retailer Motorspares.
The company, which is operated by father and son, Barry and Matthew Denny, has in recent years renovated and brought back into use six previously empty houses in Bury and the surrounding villages, including a Grade II listed property adjacent to the Abbey Gardens and, most recently, the Metcalfe Arms in Hawstead.
In a letter inviting residents from the southern end of Guildhall Street and other nearby properties to a meeting, Barry and Matthew said: “Everyone seems to agree that the continued use of the property for retail, whilst allowable, is not really viable nor desirable, and it fits with local and national policy to convert such properties to residential use.
“However, the unusual format of the buildings presents us with significant problems, comprising a four-storey tower and a single-storey lean-to extension under a corrugated iron roof, with an angled parapet wall linking the two. And of course Guildhall Street is part of the historical grid and, as such, changes to properties need to respect this.”
The duo applied for planning permission in January last year to convert the four-storey tower into two luxury apartments and to build a new house to replace the lean-to section. Permission was refused, as was their appeal.
They then re-applied to convert the tower on its own into two one-bedroom apartments, with a separate application for a new design of house to replace the lean-to section, but both of those applications have also now been refused.
“We are therefore calling this meeting to let local residents have their say on what should be done with these buildings, which most will see as a deteriorating and embarrassing eyesore in the middle of an elegant street,” says Barry’s and Matthew’s letter.
“We will be keen to listen to all viewpoints. We will also invite local councillors and officers of St Edmundsbury and Suffolk County Councils.”
The meeting will be held in the Green Room at the Hunter Club, in Guildhall Street, at 7.15pm on Tuesday (January 13).