Plans have been submitted to turn a building in Grange Road, Uckfield, formerly used by King’s Church into three flats.
Documents accompanying a planning application before Wealden Council says the “Sussex Studios” building has been empty since 2015 and no viable tenants have come forward.
The premises are believed to have been built during the 1920s and were used as a meeting hall by King’s Church until they moved out in 2015.
No viable tenants
They have been marketed by commercial agents Lawson Commercial for more than 12 months and it is thought lack of interest from prospective tenants is because parking provision isn’t commensurate with modern office use.
Also the lower ground floor area is limited, and first floor accommodation lacks sufficient headroom for extensive use as office space.
The report adds that demand for small office space within Uckfield town centre is relatively low, given the high rental value and high levels of business rates.
The plan, from Carvills Construction, is to provide three self-contained two-bedroom flats on the three floors of the building. The lower ground floor is set below the general street level and the first floor level set within the roofscape.
A planning statement says: “Whilst the building is in reasonable condition, it does require refurbishment in order to bring it up to modern standards, and the removal of certain later alterations to the fabric of the building, including the recent introduction of landscape-style windows to certain openings would improve its external appearance.”
It continues: “This scheme seeks to make more efficient use of the existing building envelope, whilst trying to minimise the degree of change in its character and its effect on the street scene.”
• Uckfield Town Council has opposed the planning application. Members said the parking layout was impractical and not sufficient for the needs of the property and the bin store was likely to be “impractical” adjacent to a public footpath in a busy road.
They also said no elevation drawings were provided and that made it difficult to visualise the new proposed street scene with the proposed new roof line/height compared to the existing building.