Unanimous approval of Grange Court scheme

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Unanimous approval of Grange Court scheme

Posted: 13/08/2009 23:50:36

Leominsterís historic Grange Court is to be given a new lease of life in a £2.7m improvement scheme approved by Herefordshire Council. Members of the planning committee voted unanimously to give the green light to extend and upgrade the former market hall, which was built in 1633, for the benefit of the community.

Central to the scheme is the recreation of a first floor hall for local events, weddings and conferences and an extension in the sunken garden at the rear to provide modern and flexible office accommodation, which can be let to bring in money to cover the running expenses of the complex. A bank of solar panels will generate electricity for the building, which will be improved to new Ďgreení standards. A new lift and staircase will be fitted and access for disabled people improved.

Leominster Area Regeneration Company (LARC), a public, private and voluntary sector regeneration partnership, will take over the ownership and management of Grange Court once the improvements to the carved black and white timber building are complete.

The planning decision (7 August 2009) was welcomed by Leominster councillors as a crucial turning point for improving and safeguarding for the future an historic and attractive resource important to the people of Leominster. It is one of the first examples of a scheme to transfer public assets to communities to meet local peopleís priorities, as outlined in the government sponsored Quirk Review of 2007. The review concluded that every community should have the chance for more active citizenship, a greater role in running services and owning assets, and improving wellbeing in their communities.

Architects for the project are S T Walker and Duckham of Worcester. The council will now have to refer the application to the Secretary of State to seek listed building consent before work commences.

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