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Gloucestershire Business News

'Yes' to civic society's plan for heritage hub

Cheltenham Civic Society (CCS) has been granted permission to create a new heritage hub in the town

CCS applied for a change of use of 26 Cambray Place; a detached, grade II listed villa located within the Montpellier Character Area of Cheltenham's Central Conservation Area.

The building is laid out over three floors, with an existing office use. CCS sought planning permission for the change of use of the building to residential providing four new flats and a community hall and meeting place.

Last year CCS launched a campaign to raise £450,000 extra funding for the refurbishment and restoration of the building, called 'Parmoor', which it purchased in 2022.

CCS planned to use the residual funds from the sale of its former building in Montpellier - which was a gift from Lord Parmoor in 1964 - but to achieve all of its ambitions, the society needed to raise an additional £450,000 to restore some of the building's original features that were damaged by fire in 1926, create a new forecourt with an accessible ramp, and fully equip the building for use as a heritage hub.

The proposed work included the reinstatement of the Regency frontage by replacing the extensively patched existing render with stone ashlar.

CCS also wishes to radically change the current tarmac forecourt to an attractively landscaped garden with railings and provision of a drop-off and loading space. The plans for this feature a curved ramp leading up to give level access to the front door.

The building also needed equipping with everything from chairs for the meeting spaces, to audio-visual facilities for audiences of up to 100 people.

The new venue at Parmoor will also provide supporting facilities including a separate meeting room, toilets and a refreshment area, plus an office for CCS.

Cheltenham Borough Council permitted the application today, subject to conditions.

An officer's report said: "It is considered that as a result of the works, there would not be an unacceptable impact on the amenity of existing adjoining land users.

"The proposed use of the building is considered acceptable in this town centre location. With regards to the impact on the amenity of future users, the proposed community/meeting space is not considered to result in an unacceptable impact on the users of the residential flats on the lower ground floor and first floor.

"The proposal is therefore considered acceptable in terms of protecting the amenity of adjoining and future uses, complying with the relevant policies and guidance."

The application site falls within Flood Zone 2 but officers said the proposal was acceptable in terms of ensuring the new residential development and is not at risk of flooding.

The report added: "The application proposes a number of alterations, both internally and externally, to bring the building back into use whilst addressing current requirements including climate change. There are outstanding concerns raised by the conservation officer with regards to the impact of the works on the significance of the heritage assets. However, when taken on balance, the proposed works are considered acceptable, or can be addressed by condition.

"The proposed works will result in an improvement to the existing building and its condition. As such, the proposal is considered to be acceptable and concerns and constraints have been suitably addressed."

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