PROPOSALS to convert a 17th Century village shop into a house have been submitted to planning bosses.

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According to plans lodged with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, the post office and shop in Great Thurlow would become a three bedroom house with services moved to another village site.

Documents state that the Grade II Listed property, which is operated from part of London House, on the Street, has “historical, architectural and cultural significance” and has been used as a shop since the 1840s.

The proposals, submitted on behalf of the Thurlow Estate claims the site is no longer suitable and that the current post mistress wishes to relocate to “more commercial” premises at Thurlow Garage.

Documents prepared by Acorus Rural Property Services, state: “The shop has however become increasingly unsuitable as a shop with restricted parking opportunities outside, restricted headroom internally and a very steep stepped access which is unsuitable for the disabled.

“It has also been recognised that due to the location of London House within the village, the shop cannot be as flexible as it needs to be. Village shops need to be more dynamic in what service they provide to the community.”

Pre application advice suggested that provided the shop has successfully relocated to a new site the change of use application would be “viewed favourably”.

The documents explain that another plan has been submitted by the same applicant to redevelop the Thurlow Garage to incorporate the shop and post office but warns: “This proposal is for the conversion of London House from shop and dwelling and site to a dwelling and an annex. Should the application be refused for the post office and shop to be moved to Thurlow Garage, they will close anyway as London House is not suitable for the use.”

A heritage statement that accompanies the application describe the plans as “carefully conceived” and that external alterations “produce a visual benefit to the heritage asset” while internal alterations cause “less than substantial harm.” Consultation on the application runs until January 30.

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