We can at long last see the completed conversion of the former Magistrates Court to flats. We engaged in a hard campaign, supported by many members, to stop demolition and replacement with a bland block of flats. The finished product fully justifies the effort to save this landmark building. To be fair to developers, having once accepted the refusal of their original planning application they have done an excellent job with the conversion.
The exterior is essential undisturbed and we are especially pleased that they did not pursue an earlier idea of building a modern extension to the rear.
A little further up the High Street the renovation of the Conservative Club is complete. Here again the conversion work involving the re-alignment for the roof to accommodate a flat with a dormer window and the conversion of the upper two floors to flats has been undertaken with appropriate sensitivity. A slate roof and renovation of the original windows has preserved the historical authenticity of this attractive building. The Conservative Club continues to function by leasing the ground floor from the developer. In the centre of the High Street the frontage and roof above Boots Opticians/Cancer Research has been tastefully altered to provide new dormer windows and a slate roof with sash windows below.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the developer of both of these properties lives in the area, and so has a personal stake in the well-being of the town. Alas the same cannot be said of many developers who have no interest whatsoever in the attractiveness or suitability of the buildings they construct or alter.