PLANS to help boost a town’s retail fortunes with the creation of several new shop units have been approved by councillors.
Durham County Council’s planning committee meeting today (Wednesday, May 13) endorsed the plans for 11 Trafalgar Street, Consett.
Sterling Developments propose to alter the ground floor from three shop units to create nine shop units, while the first floor of the building will be converted from a commercial space to 11 residential dwellings of varying sizes.
Committee members were told only one of the ground floor units is currently in use, while the first floor - which used to be a nightclub - is completely vacant.
The application was deferred by a planning committee meeting in March due to concerns about waste storage and collection and the limited size of the proposed dwellings.
Principal planning officer Fiona Clarke told Wednesday's meeting that since then the applicant had made efforts to revise the scheme.
This includes the merging of two studio flats into a single one-bedroom flat, while internal alterations have also been made to accommodate separate waste storage and access areas.
It its supporting statement, Sterling Developments said the conversion and modernisation of the building would bring back into use an unsightly property, while the provision of new shops would “significantly increase the quality of the retail stock in the area”.
The residential aspect of the development will comprise one two-bedroom apartment and ten one bedroom apartments.
Ms Clarke said highways officers noted, though there is no parking associated with the proposal, the building is directly next to the bus station and surrounded by waiting restrictions. They, therefore, had no objections.
There were no public objections to plans.
Recommending approval, Ms Clarke said: “The development will reuse the site, which will be of a benefit to the area and will improve the appearance of the area.”
Cllr Ivan Jewell, who moved the plans be accepted, said: “Looking at the plans I can see there are quite a few advantages. It brings the building back into use, which is a very positive thing,
“It also improves the area aesthetically and gives additional accommodation which I think is all positive.”
Addressing the lack of parking, he said anyone moving in would be aware of it – and there is car parking available within walking distance.