The city council agreed that the existing building, which had previously been used as a snooker hall, flat and cafe, did not represent landmark architecture and was not listed. However, it pointed out that the oldest part dated back to 1847 and had been designed by a local architect responsible for various buildings in the area. The inspector agreed that it retained many of its original Tudor Gothic features, despite its integrity being marred by unsympathetic extensions.
As the building contributed positively to the area's character, he ruled that the appellants had to show that it was not suited to alternative uses. Although the council accepted that restoration and conversion would not be viable, he found the evidence inconclusive. A lower rate of return might generate a viable project, he opined.
Given the limited marketing of the property for six months in 2005, he was not convinced that detailed examination of alternative uses had been adequately explored. He concluded that neither of the proposed schemes would preserve the character and appearance of the conservation area.
DCS Number 100-050-572
Inspector Andrew Poulter; Inquiry.