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HEREFORDSHIRE: Second plan for city office block

HEREFORDSHIRE: Second plan for city office block

Photo: Google Street View

A three-storey building in Hereford could be turned into 21 single-bedroom flats if plans to turn it into student accommodation fall through.

Sullivan House in Widemarsh Street, within the city’s conservation area, currently houses offices and a warehouse.

Manbro Developments of Bromyard was told last month it could turn the 1950s block into 27 student flats, in partnership with the city’s New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE), which opened in September.

But in a new submission it now proposes “small-scale, high quality residential accommodation aimed at young professionals” in the building, according to a covering letter from the developer’s agent Ed Thomas of Tompkins Thomas Planning.

“Unfortunately, there remains uncertainty as to NMITE’s ability to take the accommodation, and while it very much remains Manbro’s preference that they do, this application represents a viable alternative in the event the student accommodation isn’t taken up,” the letter says.

The application spells out the need for such accommodation in Hereford. One local estate agent, Glasshouse Properties, said: “There is a large shortage of rental properties in general, but in particular we require more good quality, city-centre, one-bedroom properties to meet demand.”

Glasshouse added: “We have noticed a huge influx in the number of single professionals moving to the area for work, and they are all struggling to find somewhere to live.”

Another estate agent, Stooke Hill Walshe, said: “Over the last two years we have seen a huge increase in demand for rental properties, with most receiving multiple applications within 48 hours.”

Under the flat conversion plan, the basement would become a “work and co-working area”. Windows and insulation would be upgraded and solar panels installed on the roof to meet some of the building’s electricity requirement.

New cladding would be applied to the upper floor exteriors, while the current street-level commercial properties, currently a denture clinic, beauty salon and Thai restaurant, would be unaffected.

Three parking spaces at the Catherine Street rear entrance would be retained, while 22 covered cycle racks would be added to the rear of the building. An “urban garden wall” would screen one side of the shared rear foyer.

Several bids to redevelop the building have previously been put forward, most recently a proposal to turn the upper storeys into ten larger flats, which is still valid until next August.

The property was last month offered for sale at £695,000, and has since been sold subject to conditions.

Words: Gavin McEwan, Local Democracy Reporter


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