PLANS have been submitted to change a controversial building in Bembridge — moving on from its chequered history — to include a flat.
New owner of 5 to 7 High Street, Bembridge, John Midgley, has put forward plans to the Isle of Wight Council to change the internal layout of the building — but the much-loved fishmongers, Captain Stan’s, will stay.
Having signed a new ten-year lease with the property’s previous owner Bembridge Parish Council (BPC) in January 2019, Captain Stan’s secured its future on the high street, with Mr Midgley confirming the shop will remain.
Posting on the Open Bembridge Facebook group, Mr Midgely said he was pleased to be the new owner of the iconic Bembridge property.
He said: “I am looking to get initially some maintenance done, including repointing and [replacing the] windows — both in keeping with the property.
“Later, I intend to enhance the property and make better use of the grounds, possibly to include units or workshops.
“Of important note, is the fishmongers will stay! It is early days so would welcome some ideas.”
BPC agreed the property would be sold in May 2018 — using the money to repair and build other assets.
However, the decision divided the village, with results from a poll showing almost two-thirds of residents who casted a vote did not want the property to be sold.
After a year of ups and downs, including a potential judicial review into the conduct of BPC and the property withdrawn from market and then put back on, it sold at a Clive Emson auction in September 2019 for £185,000.
Now, layout plans show the former BPC offices on the first floor will be transformed into a two-bedroom flat, with Captain Stan’s being internally extended to allow more retail floor space.
The currently closed public conveniences will also open — however, the three male and three female toilets will be downsized to one disabled access, including baby changing facilities, and one unisex toilet to allow for the internal extension.
Externally, the property could be decorated and given new double-glazed windows.
In a design and access statement, developers say the work will give the building a much-needed overhaul and a new lease of life.
It said: “It is hoped the proposal is not seen as being controversial – it is expanding an existing retail unit, providing a community facility with the public toilets and making use of an empty office to create a two-bedroomed flat in an extremely sustainable part of the Island.”
During the coronavirus lockdown, no site notices will be put up by the Isle of Wight Council’s planning officers — instead neighbours will be contacted and planning applications advertised in the local press.
Comments on the planning application (20/00582/FUL) can be made online or via email to the planning team within 21 days from when the application will be advertised. In this case, the application will be advertised from April 24.