Old Salvation Army meeting hall in Ottery to be turned into flats

A former Salvation Army meeting hall in Ottery St Mary can be turned into flats after planning chiefs gave the scheme the green light.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Development Management Committee unanimously approved proposals for the Hind Street premises.

Applicant Regenerate Property Ltd asked for permission for a change of use at the site, opposite Sainsbury’s, to create two new dwellings.

A meeting last week heard the ex-meeting hall had been vacant for more than two years and the blueprints would be ‘reusing a building that has no other future’.

The committee was told the property had been marketed for 13 months without success.

Ottery representative Councillor Geoff Pratt told the meeting: “At present [in Ottery]there are five vacant shops which have been empty for a considerable time, there are many commercial premises, mostly offices, which have been vacant, and also, believe it or not, two buildings which had been used as meeting places which are vacant.

.“This is not a new aspect of the property market in Ottery, unfortunately.

“This is a valid application.”

Ward member Cllr Pater Faithfull  had opposed the scheme after questioning whether the property had been marketed for 12 months by its new owner, as required by planning rules.

The plans had previously been recommended for approval by EDDC officers.

In a report to the committee, an officer said: “It is considered that the building has been sufficiently marketed for 13 months.

“Whilst this marketing could arguably have been improved through a reduced guide price and clearer details on the website of the marketing agent, the proposal attracted non-residential interest, and one offer, that did not proceed for various reasons.

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