Charity’s flats plan for city community centre

By Gavin McEwan   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Friday 1st July 2022 6:00 am
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A Christian charity plans to convert its office by the river Wye into five flats.

Vennture, formerly the Hereford City Mission which runs the city’s Street Pastor scheme, has submitted the proposal for the large Victorian building at the end of Vicarage Road in Hereford’s conservation area.

Originally the vicarage for the nearby St James Church, in 2005 it became the Riverside Centre, a learning and community hub run by its then-owner the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service.

“Unfortunately, high running costs made the building use unviable in the long term,” the current application says.

The new plan is for part of the building to be used optionally as a nursery – though a previous proposal for the neighbouring St James school to run this has now been dropped.

Currently an arrangement for this “is not yet in place” and indeed the project “may have to proceed without a nursery”, the application says.

Without the nursery plan, there would be five flats, three having two bedrooms, the other two with three bedrooms, each sharing a common entrance and hallway.

These “will be restricted in use for families in need, and will never be open-market housing or sold separately”, the application explains, adding that adapting the building for these “will require minimal structural intervention”.

Plans for the grounds include three cylindrical “pods” seating four to eight people, and a new cycle shelter for 10 bikes.

Despite its nearness to the Wye, an accompanying flood risk assessment found the building faced a “very low” risk of flooding from it. The risk is also “very low” from rainwater flooding, but “moderate” from groundwater flooding.

Comments on the application, numbered 221824, can be made until July 14.

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