Plans to change the use of the former Dragon Inn restaurant in Uckfield to an estate agents office are before Wealden Council.
The proposal has been submitted by Mansell McTaggart estate agents who hope to move into the building in early summer 2016. They are currently based nearby at 212 High Street, Uckfield.
The application includes using the ground floor for financial and professional service, altering the shop front, converting the existing first floor flat into two one-bedroom flats and converting a workshop/barn to the rear of the adjoining propert to another one-bedroom flat.
Documents with the application say works to main building would focus on 204-206 High Street. The hairdressers and associated residential development at number 206 would remain unaffected.
The former Dragon Inn building dates in part from the 16th century and has been altered over the centuries.
The documents say the building is in poor condition and has lacked proper maintenance for many years. It has sat empty for a considerable time.
The building is laid out as a restaurant and takeaway, and commercial kitchen, on the ground floor and as a five-bedroom flat on the first floor.
To the rear is an enclosed yard which contains a variety of historic and modern outbuildings. One is a former workshop behind 204 which has been converted to ancillary residential space used by 200-202.
The yard wraps around the rear of 200-206 and adjoins other commercial yards to the south and north and a residential property to the east.
The site is within the Uckfield Conservation Area and was Grade II listed in December 1982.
Proposals for turning the building into an estate agents office involve internal layout changes to create a large front of house office space with the existing entrance in 204 being used for access.
There would also be changes to the rear of the building to create male and female toilets and small kitchen/staff area.
There would also be separate accesses to the two first floor flats, one entering through the corner door on number 206 and the other from the rear of the building.
On the first floor the existing five-bedroom flat would be divided into two one-bedroom properties, each with a lounge, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen with the southern flat containing a small study.
There would be ‘very minor alterations’ to the upper floors so as to preserve the ‘important historic fabric’.
It is also proposed to convert a detached workshop/barn, in the yard behind 200-202, to a single dwelling which will include an open plan space at the ground floor with kitchen/dining area and lounge with a mezzanine above which will provide a bedroom and bathroom.
A courtyard will be provided for the new barn, enclosed by a brick wall to provide a private garden to that of the remainder of the yard.
The rest of the site would be cleared, including ‘dilapidated’ modern sheds and structures, and the area landscaped to create a communal garden for the two flats.
A statement with the application concludes that the development would:
- Sustain and enhance the significance of the heritage asset and put the building to a viable use which is consistent with its conservation;
- The building would make a positive contribution to the sustainability of Uckfield Conservation Area and its economic vitality through the new uses proposed within the building, and
- The new development would embrace the local character and distinctiveness of the building which would be retained as an integral part of the scheme.
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