Plans have been submitted to add a door to the front in the central window feature

An application has been made to change the frontage to the former Post Office on Hoddesdon High Street, due to difficulties experienced in letting the ground floor retail space.  Planning permission has already been granted to convert the first floor office and storage space into two flats.

 

The Planning and Access Statement is detailed and explains that despite the attractive frontage and good location, the space has not been let since 2018 because of the lack of direct access to the main retail space (entry being via a door to the side into a small lobby) and visibility into the retail space from the pavement.

 

The plans propose replacement of the central window with a door opening into the central retail space, and replacement of the windows to the left and right.  It is only the glazing and framework which will be removed, save for the central part where the door will be placed.  All other structural elements and brickwork, including mullion, lintel and piers, will remain as they are.  These changes will allow customers to walk directly into the retail space and see inside from the street. 

 

Whereas many of us would not usually support changes to a historical frontage, in this case the difficulties with the space are understandable and visible.  The proposed alterations are sympathetic to the central window bay and should complement it (subject to perhaps requiring timber frameworking and a suitably selected door frame and furniture).   It is often better to allow sensitive changes to a historical frontage to enable it to work as a retail space in the modern high street, rather than that building remaining empty or ultimately being converted into flats.  

 

The planning reference is 07/20/0530/F and comments can be made to the Council in the usual way.  A date has not yet been set for the end of the consultation period (likely to be the end of July).

6 July 2020

Application to change former Post Office frontage