Fresh plan for ‘quirky’ historic shopFresh plan for ‘quirky’ historic shop

Tuesday, 30 April 2024 00:35

By Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter

A fresh plan has been put forward to finally transform a ‘quirky’ old Walsall antique shop which has been encased in scaffolding for years.

Developer Thahar Sardar wants to convert the empty Grade II Listed building on Freer Street into two HMOs with a total of 11 rooms and breathe new life into the empty property.

Mr Sardar had originally gained permission to convert the building into three flats but feels this would not be viable given the amount of work needed to restore it.

His latest proposal would see a five room HMO on the ground floor and a six room HMO on the first floor if it was given the go-ahead. The property was once home to the Curio Shop but has been vacant for well over 10 years and structural issues have resulted in the authority having to spend around £12,000 per year on scaffolding to keep it safe. Agents Town Planning Expert said:

"Given the location of the property, its poor condition and lack of amenity space or on-site parking it is unlikely that anyone would seriously consider the property for use as a single dwelling.

“The applicant considers that given the level of work required to restore this property the use as flats would not be viable, and now seeks permission for use as two small Houses in Multiple Occupation.

“Each HMO complies with Walsall’s HMO standard and will provide for quality accommodation. The intention throughout has been to retain the essential character of the building and its contribution to the heritage of the area and be of good quality and appropriate scale.

“The HMO on the ground floor provides for en-suite facilities to each room and a communal kitchen. On the upper floors the arrangement of the existing windows precludes en-suite facilities so communal bathrooms are proposed together with a communal kitchen.

“Amenity space would be retained within the existing courtyard. Any attempt to provide further amenity space or parking would require the loss of some of the present fabric of the building.

“Occupants would have access to public open space at St Matthew’s church and Parkers Green Park to the south. No on-site parking is available and on-street parking outside the property is limited to 30 minutes.

“However the location of the property is considered very sustainable lying as it does within Walsall town centre. As such it is within easy walking distance of shops and services as well as rail and bus services.”

They added: “In the opinion of the applicant the proposal would restore this historic building, providing much needed accommodation and adding vitality to the town centre and as such complies with national and local policies and guidelines.”

When the building was under offer in 2022, Council leader Mike Bird said: “I know many people will remember the Curio Shop, in all its quirkiness, with great affection.

“It’s been sad to see this historic building unoccupied and not in use for many years.

“I very much hope that, through the endeavours of the purchaser, the building is brought back to use again and can continue its story as part of Walsall’s history.”


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