Uppingham town hall extension faces planning refusal

An architect's impressions of how the new frontage to Uppingham town hall could look. EMN-141216-143904001

An architect's impressions of how the new frontage to Uppingham town hall could look. EMN-141216-143904001

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County councillors have been asked to reject an application to extend Uppingham town hall as part of a wider modernisation scheme.

Plans to redevelop the 80-year-old building will go before Rutland County Council’s development control and licensing committee on Tuesday.

And in an unusual move, council planning officers have recommended a split decision. They have asked councillors to approve the internal refurbishments on the town hall, along with a two-storey extension to the rear, but to refuse an extension to the front.

A report to committee said the front extension would be a “dominant and incongruous addition to the building, to the detriment of the character and appearance of the Uppingham conservation area.”

New Uppingham town clerk Neil Wedge said the idea behind the plans was to create a community hub and bring more services together within the town hall. The front extension could house town information and art exhibits, and would tie in with Uppingham’s popular heritage trail.

He said the town council would work with the county to come up with a solution if the extension was rejected.

Mr Wedge added: “We’ve got a piece of land and we are trying to get as much out of that for the community. Something that people can look at when they are on the heritage trail, for example.

“We want to reach a suitable arrangement.”

Should county councillors refuse permission for the extension, Mr Wedge said the town council would work with planners to come up with an alternative solution.

“We are exploring what we can achieve and deliver for the community,” he added. “It does present us with a problem.

“At the meeting we want to get across our view of what we want to achieve with this extra space. The success of the trail shows there is a demand for people to see more information on the town.”

The modernised hall would include council chambers and the town library.