Conversion of downtown Darwen nightclub to apartments approved

A FORMER downtown bar and nightclub in a protected area is to become an affordable apartment building for young working people.

Planning permission has been granted to convert Bar Java at Wellington Fold in Darwen into seven residential apartments.

Candidate Barry Bentley can now begin work on development.

This despite an objection from Darwen West councilor Brian Taylor, who said: “I’m concerned that these apartments are very close to existing nightspots which are inherently noisy.

“We already have a number of empty apartments in the city center.”

A planning officer’s report recommending Blackburn with Darwen Council to approve the scheme stated: “This application is for a vacant building of 287 square metres; a former bar/nightclub known

like Bar Java. The walls are stone and brick, with a slate roof.

“The site is within the Darwen Town Center Conservation Area.

“The proposal is to change the use of the premises, with associated modifications, to seven residential apartments for the open market, comprising three one-bed apartments and four two-bed apartments.

“The agent indicates that the occupants are likely to be young professionals at the start of their career. The program will provide an affordable life for these people.

“The applicant has confirmed that the apartments will be for sale, but nothing prevents an investor from buying them and then renting them in the future.

“The ground floor will accommodate three one-bedroom apartments, with a kitchen living area and a separate bathroom.

“The first floor would include four further two-bedroom apartments, with the second of the bedrooms located on the second floor.

“The applicant has provided comprehensive evidence to demonstrate a need for this type of accommodation, including evidence from local estate agents.

“To ensure that the premises do not fall under a multiple occupancy house / hostel use, a condition may be attached to reinforce the position that the approved use only applies to apartments.

“The proposal is to return a vacant building in downtown Darwen, a conservation area, to active and viable use, which would have social, environmental and economic benefits.

“The exterior changes are positive: reintroduction of sliding sash windows and hardwood doors to improve the appearance of the building.

“The proposal would make a positive contribution to the conservation area by bringing the building back to life, without undue damage, and meeting a demonstrated housing need.”

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