Bid to convert high street art gallery into home rejected

Thompsons, Aldeburgh - permission to be a house refused

Permission has been refused to turn an Aldeburgh art gallery into a home - Credit: Google Street View

Moves to turn an art gallery in a vibrant Suffolk seaside high street back into a house have been refused by planners.

Sue Thompson applied to East Suffolk Council to make the change, which would see the loss of the Thompson's gallery, because of the impact of the pandemic.

Ashton Design Company, for Ms Thompson, said: "The very poor recent commercial trading was severely impacted by Covid restrictions employed within the town which saw highway pedestrian access restricted having a direct impact on trade and revenue."

However, Aldeburgh Town Council and the Aldeburgh Society both said the town had a thriving and vibrant High Street and it would be detrimental to lose a commercial unit.

Planning case officer Mark Brands said: "The primary shopping area in Aldeburgh has a high occupancy rate and the loss of this retail unit is therefore unjustified with the reduction of retail floorspace negatively impacting the vitality of the primary shopping area.

"There is no evidence of marketing or justification submitted to justify the loss of the retail space or demonstrate there is a lack of demand to retain the retail space at this site. Additionally, if it could be demonstrated there was a lack of demand, other options should be explored."