Dursley granted permission for youth centre
WORK can now begin on Dursley's new youth centre after planning permission was finally approved.
The plans for the conversion of the ground floor of the Dursley Tabernacle minister’s former house, called the Manse, hung in the balance after Stroud District Council asked English Heritage to reconsider its approval.
The building on Parsonage Street is considered a listed building so the organisation was asked if it thought the plans would harm the historic nature of the building.
While listing no objection, the body revealed concerns about the removal of the internal staircase, prompting SDC to ask for them to look at the application again.
The delay meant the item was not brought to the development control committee meeting at Ebley Mill on Tuesday, July 9, where it could have potentially been given the green light to start work.
Head of planning at SDC, Phil Skill, said the youth centre issue had been particularly vexing but was pleased to have approved the planning application.
"The council had to balance the loss of historic fabric against the benefits to the community from a much-needed youth club," he said.
"In the end the staircase was not considered to be of such merit that it should stand in the way of the community’s wider needs."
The Dursley Youth Centre Working Group, consisting of Dursley Town Council, Dursley Tabernacle Church and the Cam and Dursley Youth Forum, released a joint statement saying they were delighted with the news.
The permission also allows the church to make improvements to the community hall on the first floor.
A detailed plan for the conversion project is being drawn up and the tender will be issued soon.
Before the major work can begin, the group is seeking any local DIY experts or tradesmen who may be prepared to volunteer a few hours to make a start on the project, for example stripping wallpaper and removing old fittings.
Anyone with decorating, plumbing or electrical skills and qualifications are being particularly sought for.
Contact Dursley Town Council clerk Helen Bojaniwska on 01453 547758 if you think you can help.
Deputy town mayor Cllr Clare Nelmes said the council was really pleased to have reached the important milestone.
"Young people in the town have had a long wait for a new youth centre, now that the planning permission has been granted the plans and project can finally move forward and become a reality," she said.
"Once the conversion work is complete it will provide a much-needed, multi-use space for young people in the community."
Ruth Allen, from the Cam and Dursley Youth Forum said it was a great relief to get planning permission.
"So many people have put so many hours into this project, and everyone is really excited that it's finally been confirmed that it’s going ahead," she said.
"The young people of Cam and Dursley are all looking forward to finally being given a place they can call their own."
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