Plans to convert former HSBC bank into flats
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Plans to convert the former HSBC bank in Great Dunmow into four flats have met with mixed feelings.
The planning application, lodged with Uttlesford District Council, is set to be determined by March 17.
The one-bedroom apartments at the High Street and White Hart Way junction have received the town council’s support.
Deputy town clerk Jackie Deane said: “The town council's Neighbourhood Plan High Street Policy seeks to protect ground floor commercial units.
“However, on balance, the council supports the residential use of this building.”
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Linda Gilbert, who works in Dunmow, where she has lived for 17 years, said: “It’s a shame this site isn’t being turned into a sit-in restaurant as it’s a nice corner plot with big windows.
“However it’s no surprise that in the current climate, no one is rushing to open new restaurants.”
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Resident Pete Lewis said: “I moved to Dunmow roughly five years ago and HSBC were moving out then, and it’s sat empty since. It’s better it’s used for something than nothing.”
In a statement submitted to UDC, agent Chris Loon of Springfields Planning and Development said permission should be granted.
He said minor external works will not negatively impact the Conservation Area or the local character.
His statement added: “The development makes a contribution to addressing housing shortages and will provide starter accommodation, possibly also suited to downsizers.
“Two parking spaces are provided.”
Surveyor Ajay Tohani of Dobbin and Sullivan Chartered Surveyors said his firm was asked to secure a letting or a sale of the property in September 2017.
Mr Tohani described the interest as “generally subdued”.
Interested parties intended to convert it into a restaurant, a café, a nursery or a travelling clinic.
He said the main concern of applicants was lack of high street footfall.
He added: “Great Dunmow High Street has only a limited appeal to shoppers and the busiest commercial unit in the area is the food store Co-op.
“There is a distinct lack of diverse attractive shops units.”
The premises were sold in March 2019 to a purchaser who was proposing finding an office user.