Conversion plan for Earby offices

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Plans to convert two Earby office blocks into a total of 20 apartments have been submitted to Pendle Council.

Applicant AV Developments (North West) Ltd has applied for separate permitted development notifications for the two Wardle Storeys office blocks in School Lane.

Wardle Storeys in Earby which could be turned into 20 apartments.

Wardle Storeys in Earby which could be turned into 20 apartments.

An application to convert the block on the Grove Street side of School Lane into four large apartments was approved in 2007 and consent renewed in 2010.

However, applicant Alan Kinder has said in an application letter that was only ever promoted due to the fact there was a housing constraint at the time which meant a building could only be converted into five units.

He states that the new idea for eight apartments with increased off-street parking is much more economically viable.

The second block, which backs on to Earby bus station, is proposed for conversion into 12 first and second floor apartments specifically for the elderly, complete with a lift already there and the addition of nine car parking spaces for residents and visitors.

Mr Kinder has proposed a nursery for the ground floor with five car parking spaces for nursery staff and four short stay drop-off places on School Lane itself.

However, Mr Kinder states that this would only be considered once the use of the upper floor has been finalised and acknowledges a separate full change of use planning application would be required for this down the line anyway.

Wardle Storeys is scheduled to relocate out of the red brick block in spring 2014 while the stone-built block opposite is unoccupied.

Chairman of Earby Town Council, Coun. Chris Tennant, said the plans had been discussed by town councillors at a meeting on Monday night.

Coun. Tennant said: “The town council take a proactive view on it in general terms I think.

“The one for 12 apartments was generally welcomed as this is the sort of accommodation that is very much needed.

“I think apartments for the elderly right next to the bus station and at the end of the main street for shops, you can’t go far wrong in that sense.

“It is bringing a building back in to use as very shortly it will be empty.”

However, alongside what Coun. Tennant called more minor issues such as a partial loss of beck embankment for parking and the retention of the oak tree planted to mark the Millennium, councillors were very concerned about traffic on School Lane.

Coun Tennant added: “Something definitely needs to be done to address the traffic management in Earby.

“The town council has asked for a meeting with the county council highways department.

“We need to sort it once and for all. I have had a strongly held belief for a long while that there needs to be some sort of one way system.

“Overall, yes there’s issues, but we are generally supportive.”